You know you’re getting old when you find yourself admiring actors who turn out to be the offspring of actors you admired: Vanessa Redgrave, whose father’s Macbeth was my first theatre experience; Zoë Wanamaker, daughter of the incredible Sam; Jamie Lee Curtis – you get the point; Colin Hanks, Bart Simpson – er - George Bush?
I found a new one the other day - Rachel Stirling. Apparently she’s to be the new Bond girl, in the footsteps of her delectable mum, Diana Rigg, (whose Mother Courage out-Brechted them all) and whom I fancied. She smiled at me once, but I don't suppose she remembers.
I was skiing at Kleine Scheidegg, at the foot of the North Face and was making my timid way down when this vision in a beige cat-suit passed by - and smiled at me.
It must have been a practice run - they were shooting On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – but she wasn’t skiing. She was kneeling on a chair that was on skis. In front of her, a cameraman skied backwards, his skis on back to front – don’t ask how he got his boots on – while, behind, another skier held the end of a rope tied to the chair, presumably in case it got out of control. In the middle of this convoy knelt Diana, swaying from side to side in a way that no one ever would on a straight schuss, and waving her ski poles like Toscanini – but andante, because they would speed up the shot later. When she got to the bottom of the slope there was a helicopter waiting to take her up to the top again. I went and queued for the cable car.
It only ever happened to me once – but then, to a lot of people it never happened at all.
Out, Out, brief handle I’m having a spring sale in which everything is free. It’s a title sale. No, not real estate – it’s when you think of a title, but (as A A Gill says in his book with the borrowed title Previous Convictions) you can't be bothered to write a book for its plinth. There’s one about talent-bereft singers on The X Factor that I was going to call ‘New Faeces of 2007’, but I hereby relinquish all rights.
There are lots more that I’ll never use. About bitchy female columnists called Ladies Who Lynch; or the views of referees on tennis brats: The Umpire Strikes Back. They’re anyone’s.
But I’m keeping The Last Mango in Paris and A Fridge Too Far – cookery and dieting pieces will always sell.
Found in Translation Among the literary treasures left here by our trusting landlady is The Odes of Horace, printed in 1889. Quintus Horatius Flaccus was, (it says here), born in 65BC, the son of a slave, and died in the sixth year BC. It’s always hard to know with translations, whether they’re better or worse than the originals – who knows if:
Awake! for morning in the bowl of night
Has cast the stone that puts the stars to flight
- were the words of Omar Khayyam or Fitzgerald?
And who cares, I guess. Not being able to read Farsi or Latin we’ll never know, so why not just enjoy it? This is a bit of Horace’s Ode to [his boyfriend] Mǽcenas. There are a many translations of it, but this one (Dryden’s) is my favourite – and it should be well out of copyright by now:
Happy the man, and happy he alone
He who can call today his own
He who, secure within, can say
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today