Momentary blip yesterday. Perfectly understandable given the environment. And suddenly it seems that the government has pledged a whole harvest from the magic money tree in order to keep the arts afloat, and it’s enough to make me feel a little better.
I’m sure there’ll be conditions, and nuances. I’m concerned there’ll be other things put out to pasture.
But as a statement of intent it’s something unexpected from Oliver Dowden, the Fabulous Inflated Man.
We weren’t really aware of him until this, and we thought he’d overlooked the whole sector. Turns out old whey-face has managed to create a package that just might stop some of the institutions from collapsing. Good on him and his suet cheeks.
I’ve been back in Hampstead, chilling with the snake, wandering in ancient woodland. It’s a huge privilege to have both north and south London open to me. The car is a bit of a bind though, as the battery needs replacing and I can’t get a parking permit anywhere yet in this bollocks. I moved it around a bit until it wouldn’t let me kick the ignition because I sat there too long with the key in the slot. In an ideal world I’d switch the battery out for a good one. But it’s far from an ideal world.
Dean was in my year at drama school. This is his neck of the woods now, Hampstead. He trains dogs when he isn’t acting. He was talking with a client over the other side of the road from me as I sat in my car reading. I heard his voice – unmistakable. “Fuck me, hello Dean!” I ejaculated without thinking he’d be with a client. “I’d already clocked you, Al, hang on,” he responded peremptorily, before finishing with the client. His hourly rate is more than my daily rate for some jobs. It’s not necessarily the most helpful thing for him to have his sweary hairy friend shouting at him from a fucked up old Nissan while he’s talking to a client. But fuck it, we’re old mates. That counts for a lot these days. And fate keeps on swinging us together.
We grab a coffee. People keep slowing down in expensive cars to shout his name. He’s the guy that said to me a few weeks ago “Business is booming! Everybody is buying puppies!” I can really see it now, with so many people glad to see him in Hampstead. He’s made a manor for himself, and a living within that. And within that living he’s still made time for the acting. He went to NYC with Ferryman.
He’s agreed to swing by tomorrow at 9 with his wheels in order to help jump the car for me.
“I’ve not done it much,” he says and I’m laughing and crying internally at quite how frequently I’ve had to jump start my succession of hideous vehicles over the years. We’ll be fine. I know what I’m doing. Too well.
Dad was great at teaching me the basics. He was a proper petrolhead. I wish he’d lived a bit longer as I think I would have followed him.
I left the dead car for the night and went for a restorative walk on The Heath with Helen, and we remembered why we love each other. Yesterday I forgot about the huge network of friends I have. Today I remembered. And I feel supported again. And able to support.