This is the ideal way to get to know Simon Gray - there is no fixed pattern to his musings here; he writes at quiet moments of the day, or whilst on holiday, or after getting back from evenings out with his wife. It's also very funny, in a gently ascerbic way.
These are the diaries of a relatively content man - although he doesn't have anywhere near as much money as he once had, because of the Lloyd's crash - and he's very at ease with translating his thoughts onto paper. He says at one point that he doesn't go back and edit things - once they're written, they're in.
He comes across as a typical product of 1940s-50s private school to me (certainly his erudite language and straight-speaking attitude, combined with his chainsmoking and problem drinking - although when he wrote this he had given alcohol up in favour of diet coke, poor chap); he reminds me so much of friends of that age - most of them tremendously non-pc (thank God), very entertaining and good-minded company.
It gives an insight into a lot of his plays too - many details of which are certainly autobiographical. If you're an actor looking to get a slightly different perspective on a character, there's so much in here that could inspire. The descriptions of his meals with close friend Harold Pinter are quite moving - especially when Pinter reveals that he has cancer - but as always, it is related with full disclosure in a relaxed way that never goes OTT on the emotions, although it's plain how affected heis by it all.
I never really enjoyed Simon Gray's plays, but this is such an enjoyable book to just sit back with and enjoy. It's a great holiday read if you don't fancy going for one of the usual blockbusters. One gets the feeling that there won't ever be a happy ending, but this is the first of a series of three, so things don't get too bad.
I ended up feeling very fond of the old curmudgeon :)