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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,…

Death, Religion and the Quest for Goodness: on After Life and Fleabag

Television comedies didn't use to have much truck with altruism. Generally speaking we would watch awful people doing terrible things, and there was a certain catharsis to be found in either cheering them on or witnessing their failure - and this went for Basil Fawlty as much as for Larry David, Homer Simpson, the Bluths from Arrested Development or Nighty Night's Jill Tyrrell. In Britain this tendency appeared blunter, but there was a considerable vein of misanthropy in US television as well. But in recent times we've had a number of programmes chewing on the idea of human kindness, where the comedy of misbehaviour or or social anxiety is counterbalanced by ideas of caring for others and making our lives on earth worthwhile. Why? Why now?

Michael Schur's The Good Place was the first off the mark, making ideas of human goodness central to its very conceit. In the show, we follow four supposedly bad people (note that Schur can't actually bring himself to write terri…

US and them

The end of US, Jordan Peele's gnarly new masterwork, sees him pull off a coup, by panning away from the family at the film's heart, towards a shiver-inducing formation of bodies clothed in orange-red clothes reminiscent of prisoner uniforms, holding hands in a line that stretches to the horizon. A supremely ambiguous shot given the social, racial and identity politics that have preceded it, this finale marks a leap forward for a filmmaker whose previous masterpiece, GET OUT, seemed to close down on itself in the final moments, finding a resolution of sorts and giving its audience a much-needed catharsis. In opening his film out like this, and accepting the inevitable messiness that this implies - Peele allows his movie to swell and sprawl, throwing ideas at the screen almost constantly - Peele gives the full measure of his thinking, giving us a film that asks much more than it answers.

Both GET OUT and US locate horror in the heart of the family. In the former, Chris finds him…