Thursday, 31 December 2015


I learned today that a very close friend's mother has died. The mother was a woman I knew very well. I've known her for at least twenty years. She was always incredibly supportive of me. She loved the wedding and came to see The Man In the Straw Hat. She had a long-term illness, but was a brilliant, resilient fighter and I always assumed she'd outlive us all. Nathan and I raised a toast to her tonight and if her daughter happens to be reading this blog: we are all here for you. Just say the word and we'll be there...

It's been a difficult day all round. The whether was appalling. Another storm is battering Britain. This one's called Frank, which strikes me as a fairly ludicrous name for a storm. There's no aggression and only comedy in the name Frank. I once dumped a bloke called Frank because I couldn't imagine telling people I was going out with someone with that name. I think it was when he told me to call him Frankie that I drew the line. "Frankie, do you remember me?" I reckon Felix would have been a better name for a storm. Or Fred...

We came to Julie's tonight to watch "The Lady In the Van", or "The Woman In the Car" as I called it by mistake. It's a lovely little film. It's a little bit too "meta" in places and it's catastrophically badly shot, but in amongst the hammy over-theatrical turns from the film's bit parts, Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings shine like the most glorious beacons. I suspect both will get BAFTA nominations and Smith will probably find herself up for an Oscar. I think Jennings is too nuanced and subtle to be liked by the Yanks, who will, of course, have no idea who Alan Bennett is, and therefore won't know what a superb impression Jennings is doing of the writer. You're not meant to say "impression" about the work of a proper actor, are you? What is the word? Interpretation? Variation?

We ate pizza and salad and talked about relationships and the concept of men shopping.

Perhaps I'm coming down with something. I've been a bit shivery all day, and yet again I didn't sleep last night, so I actually think I might be simply stressed out. Christmas has been a lot of fun, but all the traveling and wonderful socialising rather took it out of us.

I have just discovered that the word flak, as in "taking flak" is spelt without a c... In the past I would probably have spelt it "flack" (which isn't entirely wrong because that way has now become an accepted alternate spelling.) The word, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes from Germany during the Second World War and is an acronym for the "Fl(ieger)a(bwehr)k(anone)" anti-aircraft gun. You learn something new every day!

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