Here is a diary entry of mine from the year 2000. One day from august each day this week.
Wednesday – All my sons
I woke at 6 feeling starving. No dinner the previous night had played havoc with my system. I never eat breakfast, or rather rarely, and certainly not when I’m working. And at 6am my stomach obviously thought it was lunch time already. I couldn’t tell what to do with it, but I realised that going back to sleep wasn’t going to be possible. The details of what I ate are not relevant but then much of this diary fails that test. So the reasoning behind not telling you is arbitrary to say the least. And you know I’m not one to say the least often.
Work, was work really. Neither exciting nor boring. Just busy.
But my last meeting was at my usual office and this was great. I knew I had enough time to walk to the National from my office and that would mean going past “the woman”. Each corner I came to could possibly be hiding her, and my heart would palpitate visibly. Deracinated short people bumping into me, and tall ones scowling. I was almost there and then…
In the foyer tickets were being swapped like cold fish. Nobody wanted the balcony seats, and there were only a limited number of seats on the ground floor. The cottesloe theatre is (in case you haven’t been) A rectangle with three sides totally surrounded by seats. The stage is not raised in any way, except for exits. The ground floor seats are very close to the action. I realised at the start of the conversation that I had balcony seats. And so I was certainly surprised when suddenly my tickets were swapped out. Somebody else had drawn the short straw of being in the balcony, and their friend wanted to join them. So they wanted to know, “would I mind?” sitting downstairs. Would I mind? Crazy. This meant that I was separated from my family but that wasn’t really a problem. I took my seat, and waited for the performance to begin.
“I’m sorry to bother you but could I have your autograph?” A strange young person was looking at me. I was about to speak and then I realised that they weren’t looking exactly at me. The angling of the seats meant that from where he was standing almost all of the seats were in a line. He could have been looking at anyone in our row. I looked to my left, they were a stranger to me, and they didn’t look famous. But they did look embarrassed it was probably them, but they weren’t speaking either. The next one down looked familiar. Hold on a second I thought. Of course that’s what’s his name from you know, those films… He reached out his hand for the paper and pen “Certainly,” he said, “what would you like me to write?”
“Anything you want Mr. Spacey.”
Of course that’s who it was. Or rather I’d known who he was but his name had vanished from my mind.
The play of course was fantastic. Julie Walters was superb and although the name of the actor playing the father escapes me he was a joy to watch. The Son I felt might have been putting a little extra in because of the proximity of Kevin. And I think he might have blown it slightly. But still totally moving, very superb.
The woman on my left must have had a bathroom emergency or a panic attack and had to leave during the interval. Which left Kevin and me alone in our row. He had obviously made an executive decision not to go to the foyer and surprisingly few people were coming up for autographs. The person on his left looked like a quite serious bodyguard and so conversation it appeared wasn’t an option that way. So he turned to me.
“Your quite quiet.”
“Yes.” [but you know a positive yes, like I was embarrassed for being quiet]
“Don’t you like my films?”
“Well I do, I even like you in them, but I figured that you get this all the time, so the nicest way to show my appreciation would be to give you a break.”
“Well. [Thinking] Thank-you.”
“Are you enjoying the play?”
“Yes it’s very good.”
“Do you think that the actor playing (Name of Son) might be over acting for
“Have you seen anything else while you’re here?”
“I saw House and Garden.”
“Oh what did you think?”
“I preferred House to Garden, but they were both interesting.”
“I’m going to be meeting Alan Ayckbourn tomorrow for a question and answer session.”
“Really? Got any questions?”
“I’m not sure what to ask him, would you like to meet him? I mean I have a spare invitation.”
“Well I don’t think I’ll have time”
[I gave him the ticket, after writing the times and places on the back. And signed my name.]
“Take this anyway.”
“Well now at least I have your signature.”
And then people started turning up again. I shook his hand though, that was the important bit. I was trying to think of a way to phrase the next sentence and I got distracted and wrote… Shake the hand that met the golden egg. So I guess I should say “don’t kill the chicken who laid the confused metaphor” by way of apology.