Oh clouds: unfold

* Without divine intervention, it might have been called Runners. Shriek.

In Special Collections, cared for by the British Film Institute, reposes the David Puttnam Archive. One of its very many treasures is the original screen-play for Chariots of Fire, Colin Welland’s story whose name change seems crucial-beyond-imagining to its ultimate, blazing success.

Tweeking things releases potential. For instance, one of the vanishing small number of wondrous consequences the Pestilence has ventilated is that exercise in the open air has infused thinking such that millions of people who didn’t, now do.

While part of me laments relinquishing the splendid isolation of communing with nature, pressing my whole being into the contours of its glory, there’s a generosity-of-spirit slither that grins from ear to ear in knowing how many more now benefit their own mental & physical well-being.

Each of us is one, whole entity. Though there are others inbetween, ya ankle bone’s connected to ya … hip bone just as ya kindess connected to ya wellness. Or ya imagination’s connected to ya hopes.

Apart from all those other years, 2021 has been the worst of the worst for a dispiriting proportion of the Earth’s current population. Each of us is going to have to be the change we want to see if things are spiritually and materially to improve. Not only is waiting for someone else to act pointless but it only deepens one’s own visceral gloom: autonomy vanquishes helplessness. By parting the clouds above my own head, I intend to let the sun smile down, warming what the departing year so viciously cooled.

May 2022 be a blesséd improvement – politically, emotionally, epidemiologically, intellectually – each feeling connected to their ability to foster wellness in themselves and others. Happy New Year, y’all.

* ownership of image not entirely clear. Goldcrest Films? Lord Puttnam of Queensgate? Hugh Hudson?


A rose by any other name


Colin Welland, actor and screen-writer, died this week.

It was he who announced, upon accepting the Oscar at the 1982 ceremony for his Chariots of Fire original screenplay, “The British are coming”. Mass cheeriness which met and deepened the film’s success certainly cemented many a career.

The title comes from a line in Jerusalem, one of the few anthems which fire British blood. Amid the David Puttnam (the film’s producer) Archive held in the special collections of the British Film Institute lies the very first, type-written script for the movie. Naturally enough, on its cover page sits the title:


it says.

This speaks to me.

The evolution which transformed its original name seems to project a silhouette of wrestling with the surface to dig down into the viscera of meaning.

Some people called Welland “an actor and screen-writer” while others said “a loving and generous friend, husband, father and grandfather”.