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Prick up your what now?

Joe Orton

I’ve just finished the original book, and am now finally watching the filmed version of Prick Up Your Ears, the biography of playwright Joe Orton. I had a nagging sensation while reading the book that there was a lot about Orton that reminded me of an ex of mine with whom I had one of my more melodramatic relationships. Twice.

Gary Oldman as Joe Orton

Watching the film now, I’m convinced that Orton -- and particularly Gary Oldman's performance as Orton — fed into this guy's personal mythology, and certainly his kit bag of posturing and affectations. He was, like Orton, a guy from a fucked-up working class background who picked himself up by his bootstraps using a fistful of natural intelligence and talent. Like Orton, he was also sexy as fuck and kind of a smug, self-satisfied cock. I don't recall him ever mentioning Orton — I guess by the time we'd met he'd moved on to other literary obsessions. Actually, it would be more in character if he'd decided that Orton wasn't much to think about from a literary standpoint, no matter how much he played up the same kind of romantic rebel schtick.

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