Saturday, 28 January 2017

John Hurt: 1940-2017

One of our finest actors.

One night in the late 70s ITV re-broadcast The Naked Civil Servant. It must have been after it won every television award going. My mum let me stay up to watch it. I wasn't even in double figures yet. Tellingly my dad had gone out.

I was in awe. I'd never seen anything like it, he could have come from space. I thought he was so beautiful, and yes, so brave. The scene that haunted me was the taxi driver refusing to take him when it was clear he was about to get queerbashed by a bunch of thugs.  An epochal evening in my childhood.

'You can not touch me now. I am one of the stately homos of England.'

'It’s about the tenderness of the individual as opposed to the cruelty of the crowd' - John Hurt

Thanks mum, and thank you Mr Hurt.

'I told Mr. Hurt it was difficult for actors to play victims, but he has specialized in victims. When he stopped playing me, he played Caligula, which was only me in a sheet. Then he played The Elephant Man, which was only me with a paper bag over my head.' - Quentin Crisp.

Yes o yes, the noble outcast, refusing to hide, braving the mean streets of London.

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