Hot with a glorious breeze. Rosé on the deck in the shade. Sublime quiet, though on the other side of town it’s Caribana, with a million people celebrating Caribbean culture for the first time since 2019. My daughter is there; her sons are with Ben’s dad this weekend. She got her nails done in extravagant colours and told me she was going to dance her ass off. As you can see, Anna is her usual surly, joyless self. If only she knew how to relax and have a good time! LOL.
I confess I’ve never been to Caribana, never seen the Grand Parade except on TV. Standing with a million people in the hot sun, even for fabulous music and costumes, not my idea of a good time.
What IS a good time: watching a good film starring a great actor. My friend Chris found out how to access James Norton’s new film Nowhere Special, and I watched it last night. The delicious Norton achieved stardom as the hunky minister in the first seasons of Grantchester, and he’s been touted as the new Bond. But in the film he’s the scruffy working class Irish single father of a four-year old; he has no family and terminal cancer, needs to find a new home for his boy. Sounds like a tearjerker, and there were tears, but Norton is powerfully restrained and the boy playing his son is incredible. The film made me overwhelmingly glad I was able to watch my children grow up, and if luck is with me, my grandsons too. It’s a film about love and parenting – as powerful an evocation of the love between parent and child as I’ve ever seen on screen – and community; many kind people help.
I did complain to Chris that Norton’s character is utterly perfect as a father despite his own difficult childhood, patient and loving every minute, and he also has perfect teeth. The chances of a Belfast window washer who grew up in foster care having perfect teeth are nil. But be still, critical spirit, and celebrate a lovely film.
Yesterday Nicky’s dance party was entirely Beatles. Help made me cry, the desperation in John’s voice, their harmonies, their brilliance. What a birthday gift. I turn 72 tomorrow. Hard to believe. The roses have started their second blooming just in time, thank you. I just wrote to a friend that if I were younger, I’d have a podcast and try to be in a writer’s room for film or TV – so many exciting possibilities for a young writer/performer these days.
But despite being on the slippery slope to oblivion, I’m glad to be 72. I’m still neurotic, impatient, anxious, but less so than before, and with so much to celebrate. So much luck. Right now, the wind in my neighbour’s giant mulberry tree, the tomatoes ripening, perhaps the cardinal will come to bathe. Friends wanted to come over tonight but I put them off, want to be alone for this last bit of 71, to relish the silence, the rosé, and the roses, the grand good luck of being alive.
I know, the world is in dire straights; so many are suffering. It feels obscene for me to sit enjoying a cold drink and the sweet air in my garden, the monarch butterfly on the scarlet geranium, the miracle of this little machine that enables me to communicate with the planet.
But I am.