A moral quandary: this morning I phoned what seemed to be a pretty relevant bookshop to ask whether they were planning to do anything in terms of a retrospective of Ingmar Bergman. 'Well', said the bookseller in a tone of voice I've heard more often used when one is talking to carpet baggers, ambulance chasers or venture capitalists, ' I suppose if we were Waaateerrstones (This last was well drawled) we'd have put something up immediately, but seeing as we're not...'. The obvious gist being that it would be a rather tawdry thing to do a tribute/display just because someone had died. This of course had the effect of making me feel rather tawdry. Until a couple of things occurred to me:
One: I would love to see Ingmar Bergman displays in Waterstones up and down the country, that would be exactly the kind of thing, in my humble but impassioned opinion, that Waterstones should be doing on the death of a great artist.
Two: That doing nothing would be worse thing to do of all. Our duty as Bergman's publishers is to promote his writing, now more than ever. How nice it would be to see his film scripts for sale in as many places as possible so that people who may not even be aware that they are available (as I suspect that many do not) might have the opportunity to pick them up and get another perspective on his work. I love that image, it's one of the reasons I do this in the first place. It is sad that people so often only come across an artist's work through obituries and tributes - but we always cherish most that which is taken away from us.
In other news Enlightenment was reviewed in the Guardian on Saturday and I'm reliably told that an interview with Maureen Freely will appear on guardian unlimited very soon.
That issue of the Guardian was something of a double whammy as there was also a profile of Amiri Baraka in that issue. Four Black Revolutionary Plays is fascinating reading. A lot more fun than you'd think.