St Teresa: Beth Hart. Absolute goddess; indeed, they both are.
When I was a kid in Lanarkshire, cousins came in two sizes, Big and Wee. Until two more came along when I was aged eight and ten I had one of each, and they were both girls. My Big Cousin was three years older than I was. Thus she began as an enormous presence in my life: somehow, although time made me bigger and stronger than she was, that never diminished, even when we weren’t around each other.
I’m not saying that I looked up to her as a wee lad, for I never did, but she never looked down on me either. She was striking, as a girl and later in womanhood: people looked at her, whether they wanted to or not. She wasn’t perfect growing up, but as the elder of two daughters she was expected to set an example and that can be a tough row to hoe. Given the difference in our ages, we got through childhood as acquaintances rather than close companions, but as adults, the bond between us grew, possibly because we shared the same weaknesses, and looked out for each other as necessary. After our granny’s funeral, the pair of us went out and got hammered: it seemed the right thing to do at the time.
She had bad luck in her life; some she made for herself, but most of it befell her. There was a failed marriage, then a second that appeared to have been made if not in heaven then certainly by a dating site that specialised in matching perfectly suited couples. That ended tragically soon, and I don’t believe she ever got over it. There were tough times afterwards, but her towering personality saw her through them all, and she never lost that special edge.
She died yesterday, suddenly, and to the shock and astonishment of those of us who never thought she would. We hadn’t seen much of each other in the last couple of decades, but most recently we met for lunch at a family gathering arranged because we all had reached the stage when we only got together at funerals. We left talking about the next; it’ll never happen now in its fullest form . . . the next will be another funeral . . .but I am so, so glad that one did.
Today I’m left, thinking about her and unashamedly tearful as I articulate something I’ve never expressed before, out loud, or in the written word. I loved her, and she leaves a hole in my life bigger than any other, save one.
She bequeaths to me the mantle of seniority, unenviable, because it puts me at the head of a queue, the one we’re all in. The generation before ours, the one our grandparents made, they’re all gone, and I’m the oldest of the survivors. But because of that I’m blessed in that I have memories of her that only her younger sister can share. For example, she was a damn good golfer as a kid, and would have been a hell of a lot better if she’d bothered her arse as an adult. Also, she was blessed with a voice that was her only angelic gift. Two years on the trot, in her mid teens, she sang the lead in her school Gilbert and Sullivan production. When they did Pirates of Penzance, I heard one lady say to her pal on the way out , ‘My, that lassie, she could have been a professional.’ She was right.
I found this on YouTube just now and when I played it I was gone, lost, for the girl in it could be her: almost, because she lacks a little of the quality of my teenage cousin.
I’ve included it because I know that her greatest creation, the daughter who managed to inherit all of her strengths and none of her weaknesses, will wind up reading this blog, and she really does need to see it.
All I can say, as I crack up completely and post this, is that I hope God likes a good drink.
This is worth some of your time, particularly if you don’t like pompous TV interviewers who aren’t very good at their job.
i’m slightly narked with my Australian friends. None of them thought to share this diamond with me; the left me to come across it by chance.
Click on this link and it will take you to . . .
Ah what the hell, click it and find out; it’s a mystery, but you won’t be disappointed. Hopefully you’ll be a few quid less rich, but others, people who really need it, will be better off, and you’ll feel better about yourself.
Man U could still use him.
Sometimes CCTV has a lot to answer for.
This story is pure comedy, I know, but it throws up a valid question. Each of the accused, on conviction was given a ‘victim surcharge’, on top of other penalties. I can only assume that the ‘victim’ was the security guard whose instructions were followed to excess. Does that mean that he was paid £35 compensation the trauma of two lumpy ladies exposing themselves? If that’s the case and it works in Spain, a chap could make a fortune simply by spending a summer morning on L’Escala town beach.
Like many people of my generation who’ve actually heard of Russell Brand (probably a minority) I’ve always considered him to be an irrelevance, a complete prat. Until now.
In fact, Russell is a demagogue in disguise; like many of that breed, there is a core of sense in some of his outpourings, and for me that makes him dangerous
In conversation with the lovely and very talented Barbara Nadel this morning, this came up:
If you like the Troggs, and were around at the time of Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, you may enjoy
This will become one of the most shared videos ever, so I may as well join in.
Around a month ago, I was in a production room at BBC Scotland, waiting to be a guest in Fred Macaulay’s radio programme. The show was on air and I was able to listen to Stephen Poliakoff promoting his new project, a five part drama, Dancing on the Edge. My thoughts at the time were that SP is a genius when it comes to plugging his own work and also that ‘Dancing’ would have to be exceptional to live up to the BBC hype.
Now that it’s over I can report that it was exactly that, a brilliant piece of original drama with a star cast on top of their form. If you haven’t been following it, or you haven’t been able to, the DVD will be released next month.