It had been fifty two years since I had seen Malcom . He was a legend at school . His parents were both blind and he had won a scholarship. But his dad a brilliant man was reduced to making baskets for a living. They were so poor that Malcom took home school packed lunches, sandwich spread et al, at the weekend to supplement the family diet. In my year, going home with Malcom was part of the deal, something you didn’t , couldn’t, forget.
Malcom was bright and stayed on for Oxford entrance. He was also one of the giants of the school’s considerable drama output. At sport although not gifted he was always brave and he eventually got into most of the teams. He had an optimism, a humour, a life force which he has never lost. He has also grown,to the point, where he doesn’t have to pad up for Falstaff.
Oxford didn’t happen . So it was English and Latin at Southampton and then off to the Royal Court and North Wales repertory before like for most creatives the real world stepped in. Teaching, by now he had married Margaret an Australian . Teaching paid double in Australia, so it was off to Melbourne. Where a certain amount of fame if no fortune was won.
A life time of teaching, acting and directing in non professional theatre, a son, grand children, countless dramatic productions, an amicable separation, a life well lived and here we are in the Beaujolais, Covent Garden. In between pictures of his grand children, there are great riffs of Shakespeare, boyhood memories of banal japes and vows of eternal friendship. We eat well, why not we are of that age. Calves’ liver, to die for. The cheese board of the Gods. Glasses are raised to every conceivable cause . More bottles are ordered. Our host Yves ends the long afternoon with a special, and it was, calvados and orange mixture. More toasts. Any chance of another, bien sur,smiles Yves.
On the way home on the underground I felt so fine that I winked at a handsome, middle aged Dutch lady and she winked back. Did I make that up? Sometimes life is too good to make up.