Bix, the Blitz, and Condoms (Two)

From a story in the Independent of London about the radical theater director Joan Littlewood and her protégé Howard Goorney:

Devoted to Littlewood’s style of work, Goorney remained crucial to her ensemble ideals for over 30 years, while she in turn was like a surrogate mother to him when adolescent. On one occasion [during the Second World War], she and the girls in the company decided that his melancholy appearance (a lifelong trait) was because he had just fallen in love but was likely for immediate call-up; they arranged a love-nest with a gas fire, Guinness, Bix Beiderbecke record and condoms (two) thoughtfully provided. Anxious next day for the result, they were disappointed when Goorney shook his head: “The sirens went just as I was getting down to it. I had to make for the hospital—I was on fire-guard duty.” What Goorney kept from all but Littlewood was that the nurses’ home had been hit and that all night he had been bringing out the dead.

[April 3, 2008]