Interview: Woman's Weekly (12 January 1980)

This page reproduces some of Alan Ayckbourn's significant quotes from the interview.

About Town

by Clare Jenkins

"I think sometimes I'm like a tape recorder. You know, I record bits and pieces and then, years later, they come up in one of my plays and I can't remember where I heard them."

"Scarborough discovered me. I just happened to be around then. A town of that size suits me far better. I must be provincial by nature but I like the size of a place like that because I can see the other side of it almost. I love the winter up there. You have to like very wild, quite cold seas coming up about a hundred feet but, and it sounds corny, I like walking down there when I'm getting ready to write. It's really our town then, very quiet."

"I used to be in that strange situation where there was half the day when she [his mother] was working and I wasn't allowed to interrupt. So I started writing. It was like some sort of compulsion. But I didn't think of it as a career."

"I'm very aware of other people's social embarrassments simply because I tend to hang back a lot. I'm all right in a one to one talk, but two to one... ! A lot of comedy rests on social embarrassment."

"I tend to be quite private. I suppose I know quite a lot of people in the town and we have the odd 'do'. But I loathe parties."

"I'm better off watching from the outside. I prefer where possible to be in places where I can just sit and no one will take a blind bit of notice of me. Restaurants, I like very much. I'm not much fun to have a meal with because I'm leaning sideways - but the next table's always wonderful! I don't do it too obviously, mind. I say to my companion, 'Keep talking - quietly!'"

"Basic things confuse me. I mean, do you open doors for women or not? Occasionally, they've said, 'How dare you?' Or do you slam the door in their face, which is also very rude? So in the end, well, I barge people out of the way these days!"