The Whole Secret of Clive James
- Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James
Cape, 171 pp, £5.50, May 1980, ISBN 0 224 01825 6
A little over a year ago, a very good play was screened on BBC Television, Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills. A troupe of adult actors climbed into shorts and re-enacted the days of Potter’s youth – fights, ordeals, boasts, burnings, with an Indian file of girls manoeuvring in relation to the Indian file of boys, each brave or squaw as solemn as Sioux. It made eerie watching. You were taken back to your own youth, and the very awkwardness of those miming, patently impersonating full-bottomed adults seemed to contribute a frame to the experience, serving as the walls of the well at the bottom of which were your origins. You could taste what child’s play used to be like in the semi-countryside just beyond the boundaries of suburban settlement.