Yes, it's true: this Friday, Donald Trump gets sworn in as President of the US. Too much already written by too many bleating liberals on this subject, so I won't add to the bleating. Well, not much. It's a strange state of affairs, though, when you find yourself looking back in relative fondness on such as Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon; certainly, if the election campaign's anything to go by, I can't help feeling that Mr Reality's incumbency is likely to make Ronnie and Dickie scrub up by comparison like a couple of latter-day Abe Lincolns.
Still, every cloud, they say, has a silver lining, and for me (me! me! me!) it's the new relevance of my one-man show The Trials of Harvey Matusow. When, last spring, I was approached by a coupla profs from Sussex Uni (home of Matusow's archives) to consider doing some Harvey-related stuff in November's Being Human festival, none of us could have imagined just how topical the story of "America's most notorious liar" would come to seem. Back then, in early May, it seemed inconceivable that Trump would even get the Republican nomination; by late November, when I joined Doctors Doug Haynes and Diarmuid Hester to tell the story of Matusow over the course of a discussion evening and a performance of my play (that's "Harvey" and Diarmuid in the pic), Trump was President-Elect.
Whatever the shortcomings of Mrs Clinton (and it's too easy just to say that everyone against her was a woman-hating fascist), the fact remains that, over the course of the campaign, bad press was to Trump as flies to dogshit - and yet nothing, it seemed, could keep those who'd set their hearts on it from giving him their votes. In this is the relevance to Matusow, and, more to the point, his one-time chum Joe McCarthy - for as with Trump, so with McCarthy there were plenty of people questioning the factual accuracy of his red-scare grandstanding (by no means everyone was afraid to attack him), and yet he was twice re-elected to Congress, the second time after he'd been censured by his colleagues in the Senate. But for the fatal intervention of booze on his liver, it might well have been McCarthy instead of Nixon going up against JFK in 1960 - and who can say what nuclear fireworks might have resulted from that?
Robert Cohen – a man in showbiz so stepp’d in that, should he wade no more, to go back were as tedious as go o’er. These are among his musings.