Taking a break from the never-ending magnolia blandness of my world at the moment, I lay down exhausted on the couch and started flicking through the tv channels - nothing. So I switched to BBC iplayer. There are a number of programmes that I have to watch on iplayer because my taste is not that of the rest of the family.
Up it popped
Nina Conti - she's funny I thought, I will enjoy that. so I watched A Ventriloquists Story. Which turned out to be the most emotional and disturbing thing I have seen for a very long time. I can't stop thinking about it and I have to watch it again because I can't decide whether she was acting or not - watch it and you will see what I mean. It's billed as a documentary. And it seems like a documentary. Nina is taking her late mentor (and lover) Ken Campbell's ventriloquist puppets to Vent Haven ( a refuge for bereaved puppets).
I cannot describe it, the Radio Times Review by Jack Seale did a much better job...
A Ventriloquist's Story said profound things about the power of the performer's relationship with fictional characters. A bewilderingly beautiful sequence saw Conti take Gertrude Stein, a puppet of Campbell's which Conti voiced as a gentle surrogate grandmother, swimming in the hotel pool at night. The long-awaited visit to Vent Haven presented the bereaved dolls alongside photographs of their human partners in happier times, confirming that these puppets, these imaginary friends, these comfort blankets meant as much as any living companion.
Check it out if you can bear it. You won't be disappointed.