Funny how stuff intersects.
Yesterday was all News International and Rebekah Hypocrite in the dock…whilst on the personal level i was suffering pain, back in theatre, and feeling very sorry for myself indeed. Well, i’ve bounced back. A good night’s sleep works wonders and i don’t feel quite as though i’ve just done five rounds with Mohammed Ali (i know: generation reference!). Only my crotch feels like someone kicked it in!
Au recherche du temps perdu (huh?)
Evening, i therefore got all maudlin and started on a “where are they now” quest. I used to be far more party political than i am now: was a Liberal Parliamentary candidate in 1979, and generally active in their inner councils for a period of some years. Some of my then acquaintances have gone on to greater things (step forward Adrian Sanders and John Hemming – both brilliant MP’s. Plus David Howarth, who has BEEN a brilliant MP and now stepped back once more). Others have gone wrong somewhere down the line (With apologies to A man for all seasons: “Why Leighton Andrews, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”).
Some have grown large or bald or discovered ridiculous facial hair (no names, i think, here! well…Simon T: that moustache didn’t suit then and it doesn’t now 🙂 ). Others appear, Dorian Grey-like, to have retained every last vestige of their youth (Simon McGrath). Becky: you’re looking good, too; but unlike Simon, I’d never suspect you of keeping a magic picture in your attic!
I look back sadly on the objects of my only two “boycrushes”. One (definitely won’t be named) has grown old very gracefully and…yes…i bet i’d still fancy him: the other, lithe, androgynous, beautiful youth has turned to a balding, podgy middle-aged lump. Drat!
I still can’t believe how Gavin Grant has changed. Some people are recognisably who they once were, others definitely not: never in a million years would i believe GG now to be related to GG then. Peter Brook has become dapper and trendy in a way i always knew he could. And so it goes.
But there is sadness, too, inevitably, in this reminiscing. I knew about the death of Eleanor Mor O’Brien back when it happened, 20, 30 years ago. I know now that she was the little sister i always wanted and her loss still haunts me…
But in looking, i also discovered two things. One sad. One that fills me with rage.
Richard Holme, as he was when i knew him – and latterly Lord Holme – was a lovely man: clever, witty, insightful, generous. Oh, sure, i wasn’t close enough to know all his failings, and maybe he had some that i never even imagined. But he stood out from the crowd as someone i admired, helped me once or twice politically, practically and was, somewhere in the back of my mind, a man i’d like to meet again.
But it is not to be. For he passed on three years ago. Sad. Very, very sad. Its 20 years since we spoke…but discovering his obit yesterday means it is just one day since i discovered his passing.
Yesterday’s news – today’s scandal
And at the same time, i picked up on something else: how his life intertwined with that of Rebekah Brooks and News International: how a man of exceptional public insight and capability was denied a role that i am pretty sure he would have filled wonderfully.
I’m not going to go into any more detail here, beyond linking to a story that will tell you all about it, over at the Guardian.
One more reason to despise Ms Brooks. Richard was a lovely man. He had his failings – as have all of us – and the News of the World saw fit to trash him for no better reason than that it titillated its readership (and maybe helped ensure that media regulation was a bit more toothless). I bet Ms Brooks wouldn’t even remember his name, now.
Payback Time, Ms Brooks
On the side, quietly, but determinedly, i have been working for a few people who have also suffered at the hands of the News of the World. I’ll be starting to talk to the Met about their cases today, and if there is even a smidgeon of a suspicion that the sanctimoniious exposés run out of Wapping were gained by illegal means, i wish to crucify those responsible: that or extract every single penny possible, so as to make sure Ms Brooks and her hypocritical henchmen hurt.
Sad for Richard. Very, very angry about Ms Brooks.