Archive for March, 2008

20
Mar
08

FILMING NOW IN PROGRESS

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09
Mar
08

EAST SIDE TO EAST END

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01
Mar
08

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY AND…..

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Today is Saturday, March 1.  My birthday. And I actually do feel rather weepy. I am now 56 years old.  An irrefutable fact which still seems hard to fathom. Part of me is stuck irrevocably somewhere in my late 20s, a young travelling man, discovering Africa and himself.  Unbounded, or so it felt.  Certainly not the happiest time of my life, but the one I always return to with a memory of the greatest sense of freedom. Perhaps it was a freedom of the soul.  Because I certainly don’t lack freedom now, of mobility or opportunity, or of choice.  Much of it born of being both childless and with a bit of money in the bank. I always tell people that that’s my great privilege — which brings with it my greatest sense of responsibility: to try to live a good life, to make a difference where I can, perhaps even to leave some part of the world better than I found it. High hopes.

Every day for weeks now I have gone for a morning coffee to a little place on 12th Street between Avenues A and B called Ciao For Now, a wonderful little establishment with its own bakery, serving delicious decaf soy latte, that is owned and run by a couple of California exiles with radical politics and a great taste in retro pop music which plays rather like the soundtrack to my youth.  Walking back from there this morning I suddenly found myself thinking about my father, and one particular episode close to his death.  He was bed-ridden after several little strokes and with a broken hip and had already received the last rites at least once.  It came round to the anniversary of my mum’s death, which had been four years earlier, and my sister and I said that we were going to visit her grave. My dad asked us, almost apologetically, as was often his way, if he could come too.  And so he did.  We organised a private ambulance and somehow managed to wheel him on a gurney across the steeply sloping graveyard to the spot where her ashes are buried, marked by little plaque, half of it left empty so that my father’s name could join my mother’s.  The priest came and conducted a little memorial service.  My father was stoical as ever, tears in his eyes, but with a look of great tenderness on his face. We all knew that he was ready to die, and a few weeks later he did. He was 84 years old.