|Web of intrigue|
The BBC documentary about crime writer Agatha Christie and actor David Suchet, who magnificently played Poirot , sent this blog searching through several boxes, drawers and filing cabinets for associated items of interest . One is this 1950s grubby copy of Christie's play, Spider's Web, bearing the Sydney trade sticker of Will Andrade , dealer in plays, stage make up, novelties , magic and books , a family firm with trading links to America . William Andrade (1863-1939) , bookseller, anarchist and anti-conscriptionist, was born in Collingwood, Melbourne as was his older brother, David (1859-1928) . In 1886 David helped form the Melbourne Anarchists Club .Inspired by the American Liberty magazine , David was committed to ProudHonest Anarchism , a libertarian doctrine of individual emancipation, rather than mass revolution .
It was he who first became a bookseller ,stationer, newsagent and printer. An active speaker , he wrote several books on economics, the social system and two utopian novels ,The Melbourne Riots and How Harry Holdfast and his friends Emancipated the Workers . In 1890 he was made secretary of the Unemployed Workers' Association ,eventually falling on hard times, he went bush .
His brother Will represented the Anarchists' Club at the Australasian Free Thought Conference in Sydney and tried to influence the newly formed Australasian Socialists' League. After spending some time in Mackay, Queensland, Will returned to Melbourne, opened a grocery shop and indulged his interest in acting , stocking theatrical supplies, novelties and books on conjuring and magic. The shop also became the centre for socialist and free thought movements in Australasia. During WWl books ordered by left wing organisations were stopped from entry into Australia .
Will Andrade made three trips to Europe and the US during 1910-l935 . Returning from one in 1935, he strongly criticised Australian censorship of literature , saying it savoured of persecution . Most of the books banned in Australia were being openly sold in England ."Censors may be fine fellows , but officially they are dunderheads ," he was quoted as saying . In London he had contacted publishers and suggested they should engage visiting Australian Prime Minister Lyons in a discussion about censorship. In Italy he noted that the average pay of workers was less than the dole in England .
Having moved to Sydney in 1920, Andrade was dumped on his head while surfing at Manly and died in hospital, survived by his second wife ,their son, and two daughters from his first marriage .
A stamp on the title page of the play states the play may not performed in Australia until permission is first obtained and a licence issued by Messrs.Samuel French (Australia) Pty. Ltd., Elizabethan Theatre Trust Building , to whom all royalties first must be remitted.
The play, first produced in 1954, was specifically written for actress Margaret Lockwood. She and Agatha Christie met in the Mirabelle restaurant, in London's fashionable Mayfair , and discussed the play . The character eventually written for Lockwood was named Clarissa , after Christie's late mother . A part was also written which could have been performed by Lockwood's 14 year old daughter .
POIROT BAFFLED : After Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce explained the answer to the nation's housing problem, based on algorithms and betting on who will be the leader of the Federal government at the next election , David Suchet seems mystified on the ABC Q and A television show, .