Last night we were in bed; TV was on, I think CJ was reading and I was on my iPad, when two notifications from two Nashville television stations came up on the iPad, an amber alert about some children who were apparently missing, with their mother.
The amber alert is an amazing system, named after a nine year old girl from Texas, Amber Hagerman, who went missing in 1996 and was murdered. Today the Amber Alert is spread across the media and via the internet, even on the freeways as above, in the hope that early notice will save the lives of children who are missing or have been abducted. There isn’t one yet in the UK, not on those lines, but hopefully it is just a matter of time.
Before that happened last night I was going through the Nashville Craigslist looking for a pickup truck which we’re buying in a few weeks time (Craigslist is a bit like Gumtree in the UK). It struck me how incredible it was that I was in bed in Kent, going through trucks for sale in Nashville, four thousand miles away. Do we already take all this for granted?
When I first moved to the States I remember having to wait over two weeks for a copy of the LA Times to arrive, via air mail. Now I read it online, and get updates throughout the day, as with a few other publications. Television is another thing that we simply take for granted.
Radio listeners are on the up. I listen to the radio during the day when I’m writing, usually the Wolf in Nashville or Radio Four is there’s a play on. Radio is good company, as is Annie, our African grey, although she can be very embarrassing when I’m on the phone. A quick story – last week Taylor was in the house in his bedroom. When he heard CJ calling him, he ran downstairs – to find the house empty, and Annie laughing; it had been her who had been calling him, in CJ’s voice. Annie then told him to go to bed!
There’s an article out today about loneliness, especially with the elderly. I think a parrot would be a great idea – every time someone walks out of the door Annie says “Goodbye’, “I Love You” “I’m going” “Bye”, or first thing every day will say “good morning” when you come down, and then throughout the day she doesn’t shut up – as I’m typing this she’s just told me to “go away”, in my voice! (I’m always telling the dogs to go away when they want too much affection, which is pretty much all of the time; even Sushi the cat is in on it!). Parrots though are very expensive but a pet is certainly one answer I think, a budgie, a small dog, something that is company but doesn’t require much looking after.
Loneliness is an awful thing, and can be very depressing. You can be lonely by yourself or in a big city – cities can be very lonely places, watch Steve Martin’s classic A Lonely Guy – he has cardboard cutouts of people, which he places by the windows, pretending to his neighbours he is having a party!
You can be lonely in a relationship too. I think only children deal with being alone better, we’re used to being alone, amusing ourselves. Being an only child definitely made my imagination grow. Today I am still comfortable in my own space, and indeed need my own space.
What is hard I imagine is when you have lived with someone for many many years, and they pass, leaving you alone. Who do you talk to? Who do you laugh with? If getting out and about is hard, many people are left by themselves in their home for most of the day, and I think this is a silent threat and danger.
We shouldn’t rely on our children. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, which raises another issue, euthanasia, which also is in the news at the moment, with a case going to the Courts.
One of my heroes, Dirk Bogarde, was a staunch advocator of euthanasia, after witnessing the death of his friend and alleged partner Anthony Forwood.
Bogarde is one of the finest actors ever to grace our screens. After the commercial films like Richard Gordon’s Doctor in the House series (one in which he starred opposite a young Bridget Bardot) he started to appear in more intelligent films including The Servant, and Victim, in which he played a gay lawyer, (at a time homosexuality was still illegal in the UK!) and one of his finest, The Night Porter, apparently one of Madonna’s favourite films – he is simply stunning as the former SS Nazi officer, who is hiding and working in an Austrian hotel when a guest, one of the many women who were tortured and raped in the prison camp he was stationed in, recognises him. The woman is played by Charlotte Rampling. Another favourite is Darling, although mainly because it stars the gorgeous Julie Christie.
(any excuse to show a photo of her; I
have this photograph hanging on my studio wall, signed by her).
It’s said that Bogarde never became the Hollywood star he deserved to be because he refused to have a marriage of convenience, like a couple of other actors, allegedly (I feel like Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You – incidentally Bogarde used to be a share owner of Private Eye), anyway I digress, allegedly actors include Rock Hudson and Cary Grant, who both got married to kill rumours of their sexuality.
There are two of the biggest box office male stars today who are gay, or bisexual, but are afraid to ‘come out’, one of them if it was widely known would devastate many women all around the world. Does it matter, should it matter? It shouldn’t of course, but the reality is it does, especially in say the Bible belt of America where huge audiences go to the cinema – there is so much money at stake and also careers.
It certainly hurt Ellen deGeneres , who ‘came out’ actually through her sit com, which had been successful up until she did, her character changing from a young woman who had a few boyfriends to someone who started seeing women. The ratings nose dived faster than any other show. I think actually though more because I think the audience possibly felt it had been deceived, rather than because of her sexuality but it’s an interesting point – does a director cast say an acknowledged gay male lead for a romantic comedy? Will the audience buy it, believe it, believe the character? Hence the need to hide the truth I guess, but it is sad when people can’t be simply who they are; what does that say about us, our society?
Here’s a great song (I love this song) about just being who we are, who you are, listen to the words. Surprise surprise, it’s Katy Perry and Firework http://youtu.be/QGJuMBdaqIw
Forget all the hype and media exposure, she’s a great artist, and I hope her talent isn’t getting lost in all the crap.