With the news today of Alan Rickman’s sad passing, there’s been plenty of online reminiscence about his most memorable roles.
One of Rickman’s performances that has stayed firmly with me is of the narrator in The Song of Lunch, a film adaptation of Christopher Reid’s nostalgic narrative poem of the same name. The poem tells the story of an unnamed publishing editor (and unsuccessful poet) meeting an old lover in a Soho restaurant, 15 years after their affair. It’s poignant and sad, but resists sinking into soggy sentimentality; touching, clever, and funny.
Sometimes, though, a man needs
to go out on the rampage,
throw conscientious time-keeping
to the winds,
help kill a few bottles –
and bugger the consequences.
In the film adaptation, Rickman plays the unnamed editor, Emma Thompson his former lover, and both put in typically fine performances. It’s a lovely film on its own, and a lovely, thoughtful interpretation of Reid’s poem. It’s well worth tracking down a copy of the film to watch, but for now we can be grateful to whichever cheeky soul has put the audio up in full on YouTube: