Posts

On Snooker

When I was ten my parents bought a dilapidated house for cheap in Normandy, against their own better judgement and the advice of everyone they consulted. The place was a noble ruin, with a huge wild field to the front, an overrun vegetable garden fenced off by rusty chickenwire to the side, a well at the back, a frigid outside toilet, and, in the kitchen, a magnificently vast brick chimney with a fine wooden beam, which the owners had cupboarded off to prevent drafts. There was a basin in the kitchen, a small table and two chairs. My folks moved an old gramophone in, and a Victorian bed, and we played old 78s of Little Richard and Eartha Kitt after dinner and slept on mattresses among the sawdust and tins of paint.

At Christmas my grandparents and uncles came to stay, and we set out deckchairs by the fire in the sitting room, whose curlicued antique wood panels had been massacred bile-green. On Christmas Eve after dinner I retired to bed with my brother and sister while the adults wra…

People who would have done a better job as guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race than Geri Halliwell

- Any of the other Spice Girls
- Anyone who auditioned for the Spice Girls but didn't make it
- Anyone from All Saints
- Anyone from any other girl band ever
- Any Mitford sister
- Michael Portillo
- Elena Ferrante
- My five year old
- My two year old
- My dad
- Everybody else I know
- The character 'Bubble' from Absolutely Fabulous
- The Damn Daniel boys
- Any teenager
- My ex-colleague Ivan who worked in Business Development and enjoyed golf
- Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
- Francis Ford Coppola
- Gemma Collins
- Mary Berry
- David Attenborough
- The ghost of Victoria Wood
- Anybody from Eastenders
- Anybody from Coronation Street
- Simon Cowell
- Simon Callow
- Simon Cowley, whom I have just looked up and is apparently a former Australian breaststroke swimmer
- Simone Culley, whom I have just looked up and is a head teacher in Detroit
- Cat Bin Lady
- That guy who got interviewed on the BBC that one time because they mistook him for their interviewee but he was actually jus…

Have you remembered to drink water today?

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s how much I love water. I drink water every day - and so should you, if you don’t already! Did you know, if you don’t drink anything at all, you will die? Water is really good for you.

Water is so delicious too. I feel like people don’t mention this enough, they’re always saying it tastes of nothing, or that they prefer Coke or whatever. Not me: I like a fresh glass of water. You can add ice and lemon if you like - but you don’t have to! Water is so good on its own. Sparkling water? Sure, that’s great every now and then, but I don’t need my water fancy. Just a plain old glass of water is the best thing in the world to me. People ask me, “Caspar, would you like a drink? I’ve got wine, or gin, or beer…” - and I stop them straight off and say with a smile, “No thank you, just a glass of water for me, if you’ve got such a thing.” That’s just a little joke right there - everyone has a glass of water, it’s right there in your taps! Just po…

My Tom Hanks years

He was Walt Disney, he was Forrest Gump. He was Captain Phillips. But to me, in the years when I worked as his personal assistant and came to see a wholly different face to the man so beloved of everybody, he was just Tom. Yes, Tom. No, Tom. I'm sorry, Tom, I'll do that again. Every day. Last year, a full six months after I had stopped working for the actor known to everybody worldwide as Tom Hanks, I met somebody called Tom at a party in Bed-Stuy, and instinctively tied his shoelaces for him.

I thought long and hard, hard and long, before writing this piece. Who was I to step to the double Oscar winner, the darling of America, the boy from Big for chrissakes? Could I live with myself if I sat down and typed out my story? Did I really want all the limelight, the clicks and replies, the tweets and thinkpieces, that such a zeitgeist-capturing article would inevitably bring? Was I strong enough? Could I stretch it to 10,000 words?

In a fever of delirium at midnight a few weeks ag…

An encounter

"If you could choose" - he's standing in my bedroom doorway, adjusting his cap, shifting a little on his feet - and I lose what he's saying for some seconds, maybe longer, taking in his nervous body language; the slight edge of confrontation in him, in the way he keeps his voice stable; his warm and gorgeous smile that comes bursting through every now and then in a gleam of white criss-crossed with the grid of a mouth-guard. If you were filming this as a scene in a movie, you would use that worn out effect whereby the sound in the room goes dull as I think, and then his words fade back in, and I say, "what?" and he repeats the last part.

"If you could choose," he is saying, "would you be gay or straight? You and me, we're gay, right? I can't help that. But I wouldn't choose this, if I could choose." I love the innocence, the simplistic terms of his argument - this is like debating with a seven-year-old! - and reconfigure my g…

On CATS and the cat, in 1992

I was 11 going on 12 when it became my misfortune to have heard a song from the musical 'Cats'. My sister had gone on a school trip to England with her English teacher (who was our mother), and the class had been taken to see Cats on the last night. When I had been on the same trip the year before, we had watched Me and My Girl, an altogether more suitable entertainment, but the show had since closed and, to her dismay, my mum had had to fall back on the Andrew Lloyd Webber show.  The class loved it, because they were silly children who knew nothing about anything, and my sister and her best friend spent the next few weeks singing the infuriatingly awful songs from the show around the house.

Back then, in pre-internet days, and because my sister hadn't bought the CD, my only knowledge of the show had come through comments I picked up, and my sister's rendition of the songs. It's a... whole show... about cats? And the actors are all dressed up... as cats? And, sorry…

A five star, spoiler-free review of AVENGERS ENDGAME, which I haven't seen

For all that the Marvel Universe has provided us with intensely cinematic moments over the years (who can forget Captain America single-handedly pulling a helicopter back down to ground, or the screwball chemistry between Iron Man and Pepper Potts?), the franchise has come to resemble nothing so much as a rollercoaster ride. And what a ride it has been. Now, with Endgame, as the carriage trundles along the tracks towards its final destination, don't expect any decrease of pace, but on the contrary loop-the-loops and precipitous drops galore. Whoosh!

The last time we saw the Avengers, at the end of Infinity War, there were a number of complications that the gang faced, in a variety of ways. Fans of the MCU will recall that Thanos (Josh Brolin, having the time of his life) had set about his wicked business of attacking the Avengers, in a manner which we'll skate over here, save to say that it left the gang in a certain state at the end of the film. Who, if any of them, survived,…