Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
Travels, anniversaries and deaths seem to have filled the last two months. The losses first – Ronnie Corbett, immaculate timer of comedy lines – on a par with Cleese – Prince, who I didn’t know a lot about until the obituaries rolled in and who I now know I should have caught up with much earlier. And Victoria Wood. That was a real shock. She had the great skill of reflecting our lives back at us, and making us laugh at ourselves in the best way possible. I always felt better after watching anything she did. And though she had many reasons to do so, she never played the big star. She quietly observed life, took it all in and gave it back to us with warmth and humanity, and above all, loads of laughter.
Two weeks ago, my missus and I celebrated fifty years of married life. A triumph of inertia, I always say, to avoid getting too sentimental. But to any married couples reading this I would recommend staying the course if you can. You find that almost without noticing, you’ve shared so much, and no-one else will ever share that much with you again. Two lives, inextricably entwined, encompassing the bad times and the good times is quite a storehouse. And by the end of the next week I’ll be 73, which sounds awfully old, but in my head I’m still in my twenties. Which is even more worrying !
I’ve been on the move. Not far. To Copenhagen to open an exhibition of paintings by Wilhelm Hammershoi, an artist who came to me completely out of left field, but who is now one of my all-time favourites. In fact I’m hoping to get to Copenhagen again to see the impressive Hammershoi exhibition at the equally impressive Ordrupgaard Museum, before it closes in June.
I spent 24 hours in North Wales interviewing Jan Morris the writer for a 90th birthday tribute to be shown on BBC2 later in the year, and after that I was lucky enough to have cause to visit one of my absolute favourite cities, Dublin, to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from University College. Very generous of them to give me such an award, but I always feel that being given a Lifetime Achievement Award is kind of like saying “Right, that’s it. That’s your lifetime”. I mean you never hear of anyone being given a second Lifetime Award.
But if I am now in my second lifetime I’m certainly going to make the most of it. As the month of May rolls in, watch this space!