Jeanne Moreau + Sam Shepard Suasive subtlety


A still from Truffaut’s 1962 classic Jules et Jim

Although made only twenty years earlier, Jules et Jim seemed incredibly ancient to the thicket of dazed Eurotrash students who slid sideways from the cinema … every month or so. It was the earliest of Eighties and Munich had a select few foreign film cinemas.

Jeanne Moreau, on the other hand, blazed immutably fresh and we went to glory in French cinema as Germany hadn’t quite started … or restarted producing important filmic art [excepting Das Boot, obviously].

Part of the job description for any self-respecting screen legend must have a paragraph on how to carry yourself after curtains swoosh back together: should this actually exist, it would surely have been mapped to the contours of her graceful mind.

A prolific and intelligent filmography, Moreau worked with the crême of Twentieth century auteurs and was justifiably garlanded with accolades to match her powerful artistic authority winning twenty-two of the thirty awards for which she was nominated.

She dominated the screen with her quiet presence and pulsed with all that bubbled beneath.

The Sixties were really her decade but in Besson’s 1990 tour de force, Nikita she dazzled still. At a grand age, she died today. Dieu vous garde, Jeanne Moreau.


If this great loss to artistic life were not enough, it’s also been announced the deeply gifted Sam Shepard has died.

Image: Mike Piscitelli

His profoundly stirring influence as writer, director and actor gilded the United States’ cultural presence on the world’s stage, his work speaking directly to the minds of his audience.

Much said of Madame Moreau could also be attributed to this sleek individual. How weird two brimming icons whose quintessential selves were private, graceful, thoughtful and considered should depart this life on the heavy day of Passchendäle’s centenary. Their beauty, their breath-taking beauty, endured in life as shall their reputations, no doubt, in death.

God speed, Sam Shepard.


Improper Gander?


© Getty                                          Greylag geese dashing after my blackberries?

Now here’s the thing: is feeding blackberries to geese akin to giving sweets to children … before lunch?

I restore equilibrium by wandering through a wetland & wild fowl oasis and recently have discovered geese to be fiends for the engorged fruit which have so benefitted from the recent, well-timed rain. Now it’s my new best friend … the occupation of communing with these elegant, voluble yet gentle birds by virtue of being a conduit of blackberry from bush to beak.

They’re quick on the uptake too. Never having shown the slightest interest in the mile-long mangrove of berry-laden prickles, within five minutes of watching the picking before consuming, long necks were straining to reach the very same berry-laden boughs.

Teal, swan and egret all turn up their beaks. Why? [I’d have liked to see if the woodpeckers were equally averse but they’ve not been seen since a rather intense – and distressingly public – mating collision in late May. Guess they felt at sea among watery peers.]

The restorative nature of … nature infuses peacefulness at the cellular level, seems to me. The exercise of getting there builds the appetite for spreading troubles over rippling waters and sploosh, they’re gone. Gazing on peacefulness grows resilience to the stressed conditions which seem to shape our lives. Simple, accessible and not improper at all.

Fetch and carrion


Nick Park’s creation, Preston

Milos Raonic

Private Eye has a column which libelously confuses two things, at least one of which is often a human being. It is enormously tempting, isn’t it, when a thing puts one so in mind of another?

When occupied on his purpose he appears to demolish all before him with a mixture of robotic concentration and merciless glee. It is a fearful spectre that chills the heart.

And yet here we are with a Men’s Final in SW19 where this year’s victor demonstrates an unendingly graceful, infinitely civilized style. Federer’s reputation for fair play akin to Borg’s, his focus on victory as McEnroe’s, his low-key stardom as Fred Perry’s. Perhaps it’s the case that a longer life in a chosen field supervenes on something more than skill of making mincemeat of competitors; it is a generosity of spirit ventilates those intangibles of humanity that extends lethal efficiency.

When did he start winning Wimbledon – 2003? Goodness.

Image: Adrian Dennis /AFP/Getty     On his way to an eighth All England title

Expression of empathy


© Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA                                                            HM the Queen being utterly present while talking with victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

Voices are demanding that s/he who investigates the circumstances which led to the cataclysm within Grenfell Tower be sensitive to the trauma of its victims and reality of the lives they live.

They say the chap appointed, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, may be a fine lawyer and forensic examiner of onerous detail but lacks the empathy survivors require.

Never having met the man, I cannot comment on the level of his emotional intelligence. What does seem evident though, is that skills now considered essential to fulfilling specialized work have evolved. No longer is it enough for noses to be in tomes for decades; our humanity must also to be out in the world, mingling itself with others whose air we breathe.

Does this indicate an important flowering in awareness of what it means to be human? That it has never been the case focussing all efforts on one part of our humanness as desirable, is a no-brainer. Fiercely bright intellects who scoff at others more able to express non-intellectual virtues seem as misguided as those prone to emotional naturism who wear it all on their sleeve.

Cultivating innate humanity alongside and in balance with reasoning processes can only produce harmony within. Exhaling generosity of spirit does not entail casting wisdom to the four winds and could even ventilate the chorus of compassion so crucially required at present.

Is it just me …


© NASA The object in the middle of this image, sitting alone within a star-studded cosmos, is a galaxy known as ESO 486-21. ESO 486-21 is a spiral galaxy, albeit with a somewhat irregular and ill-defined structure, located some 30 million light-years from Earth. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observed this object while performing a survey — the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS) — of 50 nearby star-forming galaxies.

… or does this image render you weak at the knees too? It came to my attention via the ubiquitous Twitter where its 124 characters read: During a survey of galaxies, @NASA Hubble telescope spotted a galaxy in the process of forming new stars.   Carefree as you please: couldn’t sound more normal, pedestrian, dull even.

Whining whenever possible about the ghastliness of our graceless times, the balm of reflecting on the third side of that coin is a Restorative. If we have the technology to see across 30 million light years, why do we not see what’s on our doorstep? [Just to be clear, the distance of a light year in miles = 5.879 × 1012 or 5.88 trillion]

Last evening’s perfectly vertical cuticle of new moon is about as much as I can fully grasp. The glorious simplicity radiating the exquisite truth that no matter for how much Arlene Foster nobbles the Government to hide past mis-managements, no matter how deeply this caving-in will inform European negotiators’ approach to nailing the UK for every penny, no matter how bizarre grow the brittle effluvia of #Resident Trump, none of it really matters.

We are inconsequential amid the inconceivableness of the universe: thank goodness nothing we do could disrupt the symbiosis of space objects and their relation to one another. Would that we learnt from such an example.

UnLocking productivity


© Hartswood Films/Sherlock                         Jim Moriaty in reflective mode

On this first anniversary of the Brexit vote, we dare to reflect elsewhere.

Lack of productivity is said to be a problem. Hoodathort?

Hoodathort restricting freedoms by funneling innate human resources into ever tighter, more myopic perspectives or conjuring up ever-more mean-spirited procedural strictures would have so siphoning an impact, so draining of scintillation?


On the first day of my formal working life, a couple of colleagues took me out for a drink at lunchtime – yes, in those days it was the norm – and cautioned the City’s two drivers were fear and greed. I don’t suppose other places are immune to these values; but let’s take fear as the more interesting.

Fear of what? Saying/Doing/Feeling/Believing the wrong thing? Of being unmasked/misunderstood/mis-judged/ under- or over-estimated/mis-directed? Strikes me that the paralysis which fear invokes is a greater drain on resources – intellectual, commercial, emotional, psychological – than Asian Flu or some equally ghastly, non-fatal global horror.

If employers desire their people to stride out into commercial Nirvana, they must be given the freedom to imagine and to make mistakes. The Post-It Note emerged as a result of too much or little – I forget which – sticky stuff tipped into a pot. No-one died, the company didn’t fold as a result of disproportionate ingredient evacuation: no. Something miraculous happened and profits at 3M shot through transcendence into the noumenal sphere.

Giving people their head demonstrates trust and respect for their abilities and would transform corporate morale, hence productivity, at a stroke.

If you’re that decision-maker, try it and see. I dare you.


For your nostalgic amusement, here’s what we posted as a result of last year’s poll. Come what May

Yes I did


© Jack Brockwell                                    BH Obama kite-surfing off Necker

It seems reasonable to suppose everybody’s grin would be this wide if doing something from which one had been prevented for the last eight years. The image, taken in February off Necker Island, reveals not merely the man beneath the sombre suit but reminds us there is more to life than a job.

These pages have rent and torn themselves over past months’ woe while the present is, if anything, worse. It’s important to find some chink through which light can seep in order that gloom doesn’t settle, as a shroud, to inform our world view.

If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you’ll know that putting one foot in front of the other is just about all one can manage for a while. Not all of us have been caught up in current shocking events but I imagine that this slender task of just keeping going will chime.

When others tell you it’ll make you stronger and you just manage to keep from throttling them, you know that it’ll never get better and your heart will never mend. Coz it doesn’t and it don’t.

Yet somehow the resilience that lives within for cases of emergency hammocks our shattered frame while it mends. And after a long time of dark, suddenly you notice the sun’s out and there be more to life than the job of existing.

Pro tem, by simply being present, we can support. Not having to say anything but be willing to Listen. Doing this simple thing helps begin the healing of victims’ trauma and that of survivors’ guilt.