Q & A with Andrew Birkin: Question #1

Author of J.M. BARRIE AND THE LOST BOYS

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Q & A with Andrew Birkin: Question #1

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:34 am

In response to our request to answer questions from our ONBC readers we sent the following questions to Andrew Birkin. He has very generously taken the time to answer! From Mr. Birkin, “I do hope some of the above answers a few questions. Most of Nico’s long letters to me are slowly going up on the website, as and when I get the time to continue transcribing them, as well as a long Q&A session Nico had with the cast back in 1976.” Liz and I would encourage you to visit this beautiful website to learn more about J.M. Barrie. http://www.jmbarrie.co.uk/index.html

As you read Mr. Birkin’s responses to our questions, please keep in mind that his answers are intended solely for the purpose of our readers. Please do not use his replies or take any quotes from them for any other purpose or post them on any other boards or websites. That was his only caveat when he agreed to participate, that our answers be kept “in house”. I know you all will honor his request!


1. What drew him to this subject and did his feelings about Barrie change as he did the research?

AB: Back in 1975, when I was working on Peter Pan with Mia, I had no children of my own, but had regularly adopted other people's - hers included - i.e. all the fun without any of the responsibility. My close friend David (now Lord) Puttnam and I had worked on several film projects, and I had become close friends with his 4 year-old son Sacha (Alexander) - as indeed we still are. At the front of my book you'll find a quote from Sacha, then aged 11: "You're old, but you're not grown-up. You're one of us" - which pretty much sums me up. When I read the dedication to Peter Pan, I felt a strong empathy with Barrie, who clearly had a similar relationship with children. In 1977 I had my first son, David, followed by Anno in 1980 and Ned in 1985, and the happiest days of my life were spent having adventures with them.

Before meeting Nico, I was uncertain as to whether Barrie's relationship with the Davies Boys was entirely platonic - I imagined that it was, since my own relationship with Sacha was (happily) unaccompanied by any "stirrings in the undertgrowth" - to use Nico's immortal phrase - but the more I read about him - and the more people I met who had known him - the more I became convinced of his own essential innocence. Reading his notebooks (which I'm gradually positing on the Barrie site) vastly expanded my intimacy with his mind, and of course my opinion of him complexified the more I read, particularly with regard to his humour.
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Re: Q & A with Andrew Birkin: Question #1

Unread postby scarlett » Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:41 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:

Mr. Birkin: Before meeting Nico, I was uncertain as to whether Barrie's relationship with the Davies Boys was entirely platonic - I imagined that it was, since my own relationship with Sacha was (happily) unaccompanied by any "stirrings in the undertgrowth" - to use Nico's immortal phrase - but the more I read about him - and the more people I met who had known him - the more I became convinced of his own essential innocence.[/color]


Thanks again to Mr. Birkin and our moderators for sharing this with us. I am very glad to read Mr. Birkin's final impression of Barrie as an innocent. Based on my limited reading, I had felt otherwise. I would absolutely love to change my mind about that.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:46 am

Scarlett, he seems positively convinced of Barrie's innocence with the boys. If you have a chance to explore his website and read some of the correspondence and listen to the audio tapes of Nico I think you will find it very interesting!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby johnnycake » Wed Sep 15, 2004 10:17 am

This is such an amazing opportunity that you made available for all of us! My thanks to all of you, and of course to Mr. Birkin. I am really looking forward to getting his answers to the rest of our questions. His answer to the first question was so thoughtful and interesting. Thanks again!!

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:02 pm

johnnycake wrote:This is such an amazing opportunity that you made available for all of us! My thanks to all of you, and of course to Mr. Birkin. I am really looking forward to getting his answers to the rest of our questions. His answer to the first question was so thoughtful and interesting. Thanks again!!


I'm still pinching myself, Johnnycake. He is a very busy man, and I still can't believe he actually gave us so much of his valuable time. :disco:
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Unread postby lumineuse » Wed Sep 15, 2004 12:09 pm

How wonderful. I am very glad to hear that Birkin is convinced that Barrie's relationship with the boys was platonic. I have so hoped that it was. It is just amazing that you enlisted his participation this way. I am in total awe.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:07 pm

I suppose you could say contacting Andrew Birkin was another lesson learned from Johnny. Don't be afraid to take a chance. Thanks also to Nebraska and Liz who gave me a little push and inspiration. :angel: You should have seen my face when he answered the email. I was stunned! :shocked:

We are so fortunate he agreed to do this. I believe he was impressed with all of your questions. It was obvious that you all had done your homework and I am sure that was a contributing factor to his participation. :thumbsup:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby nebraska » Wed Sep 15, 2004 10:34 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Scarlett, he seems positively convinced of Barrie's innocence with the boys. If you have a chance to explore his website and read some of the correspondence and listen to the audio tapes of Nico I think you will find it very interesting!


Through out this discussion I am sure many of us have thought from time to time of Michael Jackson and his Neverland Ranch and his odd relationships with children. Without getting into any sort of controversy, I would just like to say that I have long been an admirer of Michael and my sincere hope is that in time he is vindicated just as Barrie seems to be vindicated over time, and that is is the atmosphere, greed, and fear of our own era that has brought Michael to this place.

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Unread postby Still-Rather-Timid » Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:07 pm

I'm just awestruck--I feel privileged to receive this gift (to use a favorite Johnny word) of access to Andrew Birkin's mind. Knowing of his empathy with Barrie makes me appreciate his brilliant book even more. Thanks so much, DITHOT, Liz, and everyone else who brought this about, for having the courage to contact Birkin.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:22 pm

Nothing ventured, nothing gained! You all are the ones that keep us moving forward.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

Pamela

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Unread postby Pamela » Thu Sep 16, 2004 12:13 am

Wow, and he is giving us well thought out answers.


" . . .my opinion of him complexified the more I read, particularly with regard to his humour." I have to totally agree with this ~ the more I have learned about the man, the more befuddled I am.

"complexified" ~ is that a real word!

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:25 am

"complexified" ~ is that a real word!


I wondered about that too, Pamela. :dunce: But I figure if it is good enough for an award winning author, it is a word!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby lizbet » Fri Sep 24, 2004 1:47 am

Liz and DITHT - thank you both for all your work to make this part of ONBC happen - I've dipped in and out of some of Mr. Birkin's answers and its just amazing as others have said that he's given of his time and insights so generously - thank goodness for archives so those of us who are behind can get caught up - hearing from the author really does bring a new dimension to reading a book - thanks again for this wonderful opportunity -

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Sep 24, 2004 3:59 am

lizbet wrote:Liz and DITHT - thank you both for all your work to make this part of ONBC happen - I've dipped in and out of some of Mr. Birkin's answers and its just amazing as others have said that he's given of his time and insights so generously - thank goodness for archives so those of us who are behind can get caught up - hearing from the author really does bring a new dimension to reading a book - thanks again for this wonderful opportunity -


Lizbet, isn't it just amazing that he has given of his time and been so frank with us? Every day I have to pinch myself.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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