HIS name was Kenneth Peacock Tynan and his name said it all.
Where ever he went or whatever he did, he was going to be noticed, wanted to be seen, and would not have it any other way.
Everybody that knew him had a reason to bash in his teeth including a long list of cuckold husbands, wives and lovers that had been brutalized by his games, and readers of his frequent verbal diarrhoea disgorged upon.
Renown in England for being the first person to say the ‘F’ word on a nationally televised program, Kenneth Tynan pushed people’s buttons.
He was in their face and made them constantly take stock of themselves and particularly the “rules of engagement”.
After all, he was the theatre critic for the London Observer, L.A. Times, and New York Times.
Could you expect it any other “civic” treatment?
He was here in Mojacar in the late 70´s primarily looking for a place to dry up after his heavy drinking, cut back on his smoking, and put a warm sun on his back.
His lungs were battling emphysema. He had made scads of money pissing in the wind.
On his desk he kept his motto: “Write heresy, pure heresy.’ He penned the exhilarating slogan: ‘Rouse tempers, goad and lacerate, raise whirlwinds.”
It wasn’t just words that Tynan wanted to lacerate his victims with, but thoughts and actions too.
He was born to make you feel uncomfortable.
He helped organize that big West End hit ‘Oh! Calcutta!’, bringing in millions of pounds back in 1969 and shocking hundreds of thousands of viewers with full stage nudity.
He reaped few financial rewards but his eyes glistened from the shock value of so many naked dancers.
He brought in such talented co-authors as Samuel Beckett, John Lennon, and Edna O’Brien, all contributors in giving Oh! Calcutta! such a long stage life.
The rousing biographical notes show up on each page like fireworks; it makes for interesting late night reading especially for those seeking revenge against the glib sophistocat.
Let those pages remain for you to research. I encountered something more: a good drinking friend who had many stories full of sound and fury to pass along to group revellers.
He was constantly far away from his estranged wife, choosing to do so but regretting his decision.
He needed to drown his sorrows in lengthy revelries of booze and insults but even that part had gone a little toothless.
He could sense the fading of the footlights and saw only the shadows of his overly dramatic gestures.
Onlookers viewed him as just another holiday maker strutting and fretting his holidays on stage. But, Tynan knew his scenes were numbered.
Unbeknown amongst his many admirers was the fact that he wrote a first rate book on the Toros called Bull Fever (1955).
In that piece he captured the true essence of the “inner drama” of the spectator and the purging thereof (the Catharsis) that tied the viewer and the matador to the tragedy that was unfurling.
DAMN, did he have stories to tell. He told of running in Pamplona, of Hemingway and of the entourage that he required to tour with him.
Tynan was especially adept at explaining those short vignettes of details that only an artist could supply when reviewing the dinners and debaucheries of a select few.
He loved an audience and I provided him with one.
He enthralled us one evening at a special dinner in Cortijo Grande.
A full five hour monologue ensued of his life with the bulls amongst the famed and hallowed of those past golden years.
Yet, I am sure I would never have enjoyed him as much if he hadn’t already been weakened so much from his past behaviors.