A Pocketful of Happiness
About this deal
Post-Christmas lull and slump. Played Scrabble and the first word Joan puts down is “memorial” and, without missing a beat, quips, “I’m still here, Swaz!” Sorry, should have said, I like to smell everything in sight. Always have done. Ever since I can remember. Can’t understand why everyone doesn’t . You’re a brilliant cook.” Blushed and offered up the tulips, which thankfully turned out to be more than acceptable. Fired off lots of questions which she answered unreservedly and, in turn, asked me as many, mirroring my curiosity, which culminated in her casually asking, “Are you in a relationship?” while taking a casserole out of the oven.
Again the frustration of not being able to be by her side when she’s having the scan. She reappears twenty minutes later. This resulted in experiencing ‘literary whiplash’ - pulled around from an emotional chapter to subsequently being regaled with glossy celebrity tales in the next one, and feeling slightly uncomfortable about how they could be within such close proximity of one another.In early 1983, when Joan was coaching on three different productions at the RSC and National Theatre and I was doing a lunch-hour play in a pub theatre on a profit share basis, which meant zero pay, she wrote me a letter, declaring that: I was an out-of-work actor from the southern hemisphere, from nowhere, earning a subsistence wage as a waiter, schlepping home after midnight, listening to “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” on my prized Walkman. Not exactly a “catch” of any kind— and pipe-cleaner thin. Joan on the other hand was already a legend in her field. Such was the success of Richard Eyre’s landmark National Theatre production of Guys and Dolls in 1982, and Joan’s accent coaching, that Barbra Streisand enquired, “Who are these American actors I’ve never heard of?” Which resulted in Joan being interviewed to coach Mitteleuropean accents for Streisand’s directorial debut movie, Yentl. As I’ve been a Streisand fanatic for half a century, the details she recalled of their first meeting have been imprinted, like a talisman, on my memory ever since.
I knew he had an "interesting" life and was reputed to be an excellent raconteur and writer ( The Wah-Wah Diaries: The Making of a Film), but he exceeded those expectations. Grant is an actor who found fame in "Withnail and I" and recently won best-supporting actor awards for "Can You Ever Forgive Me?". He was born and raised in Swaziland but has been based in the UK for most of his adult life. Richard E Grant's memoir With Nails was an excellent read & I was really pleased to see that he had released another collection of his diaries. It's is a remarkable mix of humour and tragedy, sprinkled with name-dropping, and delivered with insight and charm.In the early days of their relationship, she was the successful one, flying off to coach Mel Gibson on the set of The Bounty, while Grant pined away in London, hopelessly unemployed. But that shifted and Washington, he writes, “had to readjust and accommodate to being my plus-one at premieres and press junkets, which she understandably found uncomfortable”.