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November 20th 2011

The news is grim indeed at the moment and sometimes one has a hard time seeing the light, that you know is somewhere ahead at the end of this particular tunnel. Of course it is all made somewhat worse by the media, which thrives on a constant diet of bad news, because it keeps us hungrily coming back for more. Why? Are we just waiting for the pain to end or get worse and get it over with. The world has been through hard times before and frankly a lot worse than these.

I remember my mother, who was a fountain of common sense, often moaning about the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), to which she had to belong as a commercial artist and writer. She felt that were often bullying and not much help in an individual problem. Now we are faced with the promise of more strikes from public workers. And I have heard/read that the support for the union is not that overwhelming, by a large portion of the members. But the Unions are powerful, as I learned when I was living full time in the US. There, they are very powerful and pretty well organised and when they say jump, you jump.

It’s all a power game and gets so personal and bad tempered and bad mannered. I have listened to a few arguments on the wonderful Radio 4 and the vitriol that pours forth is astounding on occasion. The sad thing is that people cant articulate any more the way they did....too much telly and internet. So they get rude and nasty, but sadly not witty. At least 1950’s and back nearly everyone read books. Another comment from my mother....she grew up with children with no shoes, but everyone could read and write and this was before the Welfare State.

Oh well enough of all that. I am going to the US for a longer time this week, to help with the grandchildren and have been busy packing up personal belongings to rent out my flat for a while. A bit of cash coming in will be useful and I dont like to leave the flat empty for very long. I will be getting another New Chilling Tale going and doing a bit more writing and maybe acting! The ideas and plans thrash around, there are always endless possibilities. David Hemmings’ favourite quote was from Thoreau “First build your castles in the air, and then put put the foundations under them”. Good thinking! I had David on my mind a lot this last week, courtesy of Vanessa Redgrave. I am a member of the Academy (Oscars Academy) and have been on the events committee for a while. We decided to do an evening with Vanessa Redgrave - an event heartily endorsed by all.

It was one of the best we had put on, not the least because the subject is a delightful and endearing lady, not to say talented. It was hosted by David Hare, who has done this before, who did a generous and thoughtful job. Vanessa Redgrave has just come through some appalling family tragedy, loss of a daughter, number one and then a beloved brother and then her sister. This was a good event for her as the feeling of genuine affection and admiration was palpable. She is a great talent and her desire to be a “Film Star” came out with a very funny story from her great friend from Royal Shakespeare days: Eileen Atkins. There were some excellent clips, which included a few from BLOW UP. David Hemmings and I were living together at the time, in Croydon of all places and he would often drive home in the beautiful white Rolls Royce, he has in the film (it used to belong to Elizabeth Taylor ,courtesy of Richard Burton) and park it outside our communal front door. The neighbours curtains twitched I can tell you, one in particular, of a lady who deeply disapproved of us. David was excellent in that film and truthfully it is how I will always remember him, beautiful and eternally young. I did know him in later days and his inner energy and enthusiasm had not diminished, but hard living had eaten away at the external beauty and I did wish he would have trimmed his eyebrows! His wife Lucy said they were his pride and joy and no-one would dare touch them. Eccentric and different to the end!

Last little humorous note, am watching Andrew Marr’s Sunday show and with John Simpson (man, I respect very much ) are Maureen Lippman and Tim Montgomerie whose heads swing like a people at a tennis match between Marr and Simpson as they listen to words of wisdom.

That’s all till next time.

All the best

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