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Simon Gray (October 21, 1936 – August 7, 2008) was a playwright and diarist. Four volumes of his memoirs, The Smoking Diaries, The Year of the Jouncer and, The Last Cigarette and, most recently, Coda are published by Granta Books. Gray’s Enter a Fox and Fat Chance are published in their second editions by Granta Books.
Spies betray people. That's what we do. It becomes a - a habit. Difficult to break - even when it's not - not strictly necessary.Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London, 1961. One of Britain's most notorious double agents, George Blake, is serving a forty-two year sentence when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Irish petty criminal, Sean Bourke. Both men are eccentric outsiders. Each sees in each other the possibility of escape and not just from prison. But once on the outside their mutual dependence faces mounting pressures from MI5, the KGB and indeed from themselves.Simon Gray's absorbing and deftly funny play explores how personal freedom is an illusion and how even friendship must have careful boundaries in a world where deception is a reflex response.Cell Mates premiered at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, in January 1995 before transferring to the Albery Theatre, London. The play was revived at the Hampstead Theatre, London, in November 2017.
Spies betray people. That's what we do. It becomes a - a habit. Difficult to break - even when it's not - not strictly necessary. Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London, 1961. One of Britain's most notorious double agents, George Blake, is serving a forty-two year sentence when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Irish petty criminal, Sean Bourke. Both men are eccentric outsiders. Each sees in each other the possibility of escape and not just from prison. But once on the outside their mutual dependence faces mounting pressures from MI5, the KGB and indeed from themselves. Simon Gray's absorbing and deftly funny play explores how personal freedom is an illusion and how even friendship must have careful boundaries in a world where deception is a reflex response. Cell Mates premiered at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, in January 1995 before transferring to the Albery Theatre, London. The play was revived at the Hampstead Theatre, London, in November 2017.
When he turned sixty-five, playwright Simon Gray began to keep a diary in which he reflected on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters, shame, adultery, friendship and love. Bringing together the four parts of The Smoking Diaries (The Smoking Diaries, The Year of the Jouncer, The Last Cigarette, and Coda) this beautiful volume is filled with comedy and serious reflection, sharp observation and painful self-disclosure. A brilliant and moving account of life's unsteady progress, it takes the reader to the heart of one man's brilliant struggle towards some kind of personal truth.
'A masterly portrayal of an innocent.' Harold Pinter, from 'Directing Simon Gray's Plays', Simon Gray Plays 1 'Superficially, it is a light comedy about a group of educated, often eccentric English characters in an academic backwater in the early sixties. But though the jokes are excellent, the piece cuts deep. There are Strindberg-like glimpses of wretchedly unhappy marriages and, as in Ibsen, a sense of chickens coming home to roost. But the primary impression here is of an English Chekhov. As in the plays of the Russian master, the characters talk a lot, but they rarely listen, still less understand, so they are often at cross-purposes. And like The Seagull, the long time scheme in Quartermaine's Terms - it spans several years - creates a poignant sense of transience and mortality.' Daily Telegraph 'Gray's selection of details and exchanges is immaculate: he achieves drama and mystery in mundane lives; the comedy is beautifully stated and even personal tragedies are underlined with running gags that ring with truthfulness. No false hothouse effect is necessary to make bare the bewilderment of spirit of his central figure, the grinning, forgetful and deeply kind staff lecturer, St John Quartermaine, an inarticulate character of awesome loneliness who rivals the tragic force of Willy Loman.' The Times 'A play that is at once full of doom and gloom and bristling with wry, even uproarious comedy. The mixture is so artfully balanced that we really don't know where the laughter ends and the tears begin: the playwright is in full possession of the Chekhovian territory where the tragedies and absurdities of life become one and the same.' New York Times
With high unemployment and jobseekers fighting for fewer and fewer jobs it's never been more important to get an edge when looking for that next career move. The right experience and qualifications, a good CV and a nicely worded covering letter are no longer enough - they are the bare minimum! In this book Simon Gray explains how to get ahead, what to do and - just as crucially - what not to do in order to win in the highly competitive job race. He also explores the psychology of looking for a job and divulges his revolutionary techniques to get noticed and employed in a crowded market. If you are looking for a job or planning to change career this is the book you can't afford not to read!
Butley 'What is so wondrous about a play so basically defeatist and hurtful is its ability to be funny. The stark, unsentimental approach to the homosexual relationship, the cynical send-up of academic life, the skeptical view of the teacher-pupil associations are all stunningly illuminated by continuous explosions of sardonic, needling, feline, vituperative and civilised lines.' Evening Standard
'The brave little lives that Gray so compassionately illuminates could be lived by any of us, and that's why they arouse emotions that are anything but small.' New York Times on Quartermaine's Terms
'Sharp, funny and clever . . . What a pleasure to re-encounter a play that combines unabashed intelligence and zinging wit with a rare generosity of spirit.' Daily Telegraph on The Common Pursuit 'Gray's stature as one of the handful of great tragi-comic English dramatists of the second half of the twentieth century would appear now to be undisputed.' Howard Jacobson, Critical Quarterly Hidden Laughter 'A sad divine comedy, superbly written. Gray nurses his characters and cares for them, but he never pampers them, or pities them, or presumes to use them as his spokesman. In this respect, he has become an English Chekhov... At the same time, Gray dispenses some of the incandescent malice and moral savagery of Coward at his acid best... But, of course, comparisons can only help you get your bearings. Gray is entirely his own man in this painful, querulous, warm, hard and mature play.' Sunday Times
'A superbly written play, a funny play, an agonising play. It is, moreover, a play of truth and insight. A play to savour.' Punch on Otherwise Engaged 'Life in the theatre hasn't brought me anything more rewarding than directing Simon Gray's plays.' Harold Pinter Plaintiffs and Defendants Exceptionally good... the play gave such a rending picture of married mess that it was hard to know where to look.' Clive James, Observer 'Simon Gray is the one [TV playwright] whose work I most relish seeing for his acerbic wit, wonderful ironies and above all for his care with our mother tongue.' Dennis Potter
'There are few things more enjoyable than reading the diaries of Simon Gray.' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday Simon Gray's witty, painful, and acutely observed Early Diaries chronicle the highs and lows of bringing two of his plays to the stage. An Unnatural Pursuit records the London production of The Common Pursuit, from the nail-biting process of finding a producer through rehearsals to the first-night post-mortem. An enthralling insight into the world of Simon Gray, his working relationship with Harold Pinter-who directed many of his plays-and into the fascinating business of putting on a play. A remarkable account of a remarkable experience. Harold Pinter How's That for Telling 'em, Fat Lady? describes Gray's experiences staging The Common Pursuit and Dog Days in Los Angeles and New York. 'Not only the funniest book ever written about the American theatre, but a biliously accurate memoir of the inescapable beastliness of modern life. It splutters with instantly comic characters... and richest of all these is the self-portrait of the author, whose bellicose melancholy and fortitude is so ripe and raw. For those who dread grease-paint anecdotalism, don't be put off. It's a terrific comic adventure, terrifically told with exquisite ill-temper.' John Osborne, Spectator
'Like a Henry James novella; circuitous, ambiguous, enthralling and chilling.' Financial Times on The Late Middle Classes
England in the 1950s. Celia, desperate for distraction, fills her time with tennis and gin; Charles, a pathologist, is buried in his work among the living and the dead; and their gifted son, Holly, is having his first lessons on the piano and in life. Two years after the playwright's death Simon Gray's 1999 success receives a major revival at the Donmar Warehouse one of London's best known and most successful theatres and is published in this new edition by Nick Hern Books
Notable for his uncompromising honesty and a wit both fierce and fearless, Simon Gray's voice was uniquely his own - intelligent, probing and often outrageously funny. He faced life - and death - with unflinching courage and defiant humanity; even when writing about his own mortality, he lost none of his prodigious talent to entertain. Warm, candid and with a double dose of dark humour, this dramatisation of Gray's The Smoking Diaries and other memoirs was completed just before his death last summer. The Last Cigarette premiered at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester in March 2009.
Oddly, or perhaps not oddly, come to think of it, the smoking ban came into effect about three days after I got the news - yes, now I do come to think of it, it seems more than odd, it seems eerily consequential, suggesting among other possibilities that I am so innately, organically obedient that my whole physical system submitted to the law in spite of my habits and inclination, and that my inner opposition to it was immediately met by the most appropriate and natural punishment - lung cancer. So reflects the celebrated diarist and playwright Simon Gray during this frank, profoundly moving and often painfully funny account of what he refers to as 'the beginning of my dying'. During a holiday with his wife in Crete, Gray recalls the scans, consultations and biopsies that have dominated the previous months while offering unforgettable portraits of fellow tourists and digressions on everything from lying to the maitre d' and concerns about tipping to crimes of passion and his new-found obsession with obituaries. Written with a great generosity of spirit and a poignant reluctance to leave this world behind, Simon Gray's Coda is as life-affirming as it is heart-rending.
When he turned sixty-five, the playwright Simon Gray began to keep a diary: not a careful honing of the day's events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed. The three volumes of The Smoking Diaries are the result, in which one of Britain's most amusing and original writers reflects on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters, shame, adultery, friendship and love. Few diarists have been as frank about themselves, and even fewer as entertaining. This beautiful boxed set contains paperbacks of The Smoking Diaries, The Smoking Diaries: The Year of the Jouncer and The Smoking Diaries: The Last Cigarette. With their combination of comedy and serious reflection, of sharp observation and painful self-disclosure, Simon Gray's diaries have reinvented the memoir form and are destined to become classics of autobiography. The beauty of them lies in Gray's struggle to put a finger on some kind of personal truth: The Smoking Diaries offer a brilliant and moving account of life's unsteady progress - with unfailing wit and humour, they take us to the very heart of a man.
The final volume of the trilogy that began with The Smoking Diaries finds Simon Gray determined to give up smoking. Really. At last. Can he kick the habit of sixty years? Will he, sometime soon, be able to leave his house without nervously feeling for his two packets of twenty and his two lighters? As this wonderful, wayward record of Gray's life progresses, these questions are overtaken by much larger ones. What was sex like before 1963? Will his name be in lights on Broadway? Why leave the bedside of his dying mother? With their combination of comedy and serious reflection, of sharp observation and painful self-disclosure, Simon Gray's diaries reinvented the memoir form and are destined to become classics of autobiography.
As a baby, Simon Gray discovered that he could move his pram while still nestling inside it. 'It was a complete mystery to the adult intelligences, how had he done it, if it was he who had done it, but if not he, who then and why? So the next afternoon they (Mummy and Nanny) planted the pram in the usual spot, and stood over it, watching - the baby lay there smiling or snivelling up at them, until it struck them that they should try observing the baby when unobserved by the baby, and they withdrew behind bushes and trees etc.; and thus witnessed the swaying of the pram, then the juddering of the pram, then its slow, unsteady progress along the path, the movement accompanied by a low humming and keening sound from within that reminded them more of a dog than a human ... jouncing was the word they used for it. I was a jouncer therefore.' In the second book of his chronicles of triumph and disaster which started with The Smoking Diaries, Gray intertwined scenes from his adult and his childish self to produce a brilliant and moving counterpoint of life's unsteady progress.
When he turned sixty-five, the playwright Simon Gray began to keep a diary: not a careful honing of the day's events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed. The Smoking Diaries was the result, in which one of Britain's most beloved and original writers reflected on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters, shame, adultery, friendship and love. Few diarists have been as frank about themselves, and even fewer as entertaining.
Simon Gray's consistent and coherent approach to data structures teaches students to focus on software design and testing as they learn to develop high-quality software programs. He introduces each collection as an abstract data type and then guides students through a design process. This effective model illustrates that construction of high-quality software requires careful planning. With Gray's methodology, students become independent problem solvers by repeated practice planning, creating, testing, implementing, and then analyzing their work. Students also gain experience using an industry-standard library, while developing an understanding of what goes into creating such a library.
How much can go wrong in a day? How much can go wrong in a life? In this chronicle of a year of things going wrong (and just occasionally right), the author of the acclaimed The Smoking Diaries meets with triumph and disaster and treats those two impostors just the same - which is to say with the mixture of wit, anger, vexation and candour that has made Simon Gray one of Britain's greatest writers of comedy - including the comedy that lurks in tragedy.
The Pig Trade, Japes Too, Michael, The Holy Terror The Pig Trade is set in 1937 in the Villa of I Tatti outsider Florence where, under the menacing shadow of Mussolini, a famous art historian and a notorious art dealer have an explosive final encounter. Japes Too and Michael are companion plays, in which the love of two brothers for one woman both highlights and obscures their dependency on each other but where fate and tragedy strike differently. Simon Gray's play Melon, which follows a publisher into his nervous breakdown and out again, enjoyed great success in the West End but, dissatisfied with the work, Gray revised it so thoroughly that a new play with the same central character emerged, entitled The Holy Terror. This volume also contains a brief chronicle by the author on the gestation of his work and the impossibility of writing. 'Simon Gray is actually one of the most accessible, elegant and tender of contemporary writers. He is also, both on stage and on the printed page, laugh-out-loud funny.' Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph 'Gray's plays, funny and sad, have a savage honesty at their heart.' Mail on Sunday
Two brothers share the house they grew up in, and then share the woman they both love. They have a daughter, but who is the father? Spanning thirty years and offering a new slant on the eternal triangle, Simon Gray's funny, sardonic new play Japes is driven by involuntary cruelties, damaging accidents of fate of the terrible ravages of time.
* A new black comedy by Simon Gray * Simon Gray has left Faber to come to Nick Hern Books * Simon Gray's work includes Butley, Otherwise Engaged, and Quartermaine's Terms.
* A new black comedy by Simon Gray * Simon Gray has left Faber to come to Nick Hern Books * Simon Gray's work includes Butley, Otherwise Engaged, and Quartermaine's Terms.
Here is a hilarious look at the artistic pretensions of the young and the rich that charts a decade in the life of a London family transplanted to an idyllic country setting. A literary agent and his wife buy a Devon cottage where she can write, children will be happy, and they can relax. Into their world walks the local vicar a classically comic character who tends their magnificent garden and their emotional if not spiritual needs as the outside world intrudes with failure and disillusionment.-3 women, 5 men
A very English modern play, reeking of real tragedy, real humour and real life. The Common Pursuit chronicles the erosion of the ambitions of a smug, elitist group of Cambridge frien's. Stuart is editor of a literary magazine and the pursuit of excellence is shown to be economically a bad proposition in this world. The magazine collapses and the characters' fates vary as the play proceeds. An ironic epilogue returns to the early days in Cambridge with the young people planning their futures.
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