Sunday, December 26, 2010

From The Millionairess by G. B. Shaw

"You see, Mr Sagamore, it's like this. There are two sorts of people in the world: the people anyone can live with and the people that no one can live with. The people that no one can live with may be very goodlooking and vital and splendid and temperamental and romantic and all that; and they can make a man or woman happy for half an hour when they are pleased with themselves and disposed to be agreeable; but if you try to live with them they just eat up your whole life running after them or quarrelling or attending to them one way or another: you cant call your soul your own.
As Sunday husbands and wives, just to have a good tearing bit of love-making with, or a blazing row, or mostly one on top of the other, once a month or so, theyre all right. But as everyday partners theyre just impossible."
Having just forced my long-suffering friend here in Cleveland to watch the start of George Bernard Shaw's hilarious The Millionairess (starring Maggie Smith and an all-star cast in this brilliant 1972 production), I will now ruin the impact of Shaw's deliciously sharp observation above by drawing attention to Shaw's interest in punctuation. Note that words like "they're" are spelt without the apostrophe. Shaw, obsessed for much of his life with creating a better, clearer, more logical alphabet and (English) language, left money in his will for the creation of just that: the Shavian Alphabet.