Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I had this whole thing in my head I was going to do about the Oscars, because if I knew one thing, it was that not nearly enough people were writing about that today. But I am running about like a crazy person and I have not only done actual words today (987) but also reading and research. I used the telephonic instrument to speak to a man from the Advertising Standards Authority, for the book. I am usually far to shy to do any actual talking kind of research, but I really wanted to know something about the more outlandish claims of the cosmetics industry.
He was heaven; articulate and polite and patient and helpful. The ASA sounds like a perfect gem of an organisation, fearlessly protecting consumers from harm.
'How do you compare to the rest of the world?' I said, finally.
'Well,' he said. 'I really don't want to be rude to other countries.'
'No, of COURSE not,' I said. 'That would never do.'
'I could say that we are considered the gold standard, here in Britain,' he said, diffidently.
'Oh,' I said, in surprised delight. 'Well perhaps we are not going to the dogs after all.'
'Perhaps not,' he said.
'You have cheered me up,' I said.
Anyway, what with the work and the running about and the brassy boldness of just ringing up the man at the ASA and asking him questions, I am done in, so there will be no Oscar meditation. (I was going to do a whole riff about if you were an alien and you came down from Mars and saw the red carpet etc. I thought it quite inspired as I cleaned my teeth this morning.)
There are a couple of disjointed observations:
I am starting to think that Helena Bonham-Carter is a heroine in the Helen Mirren mould. As in: funny, human, irreverent, really good at her job, and secretly does not give a damn. (That last bit is entirely my own inference.) Colin Firth is clearly not only an exceptional human being, but also really, properly chic. He may have been wearing the best cut dinner jacket since Cary Grant was a boy. I know these things do not matter when the world is so oppressed, but we all need a little frivolity sometimes. And there is something about really fine tailoring.
But my standout thing was the niceness of Tom Hanks. I know everyone says that about him; it's the number one Hollywood trope. Still, it did rather astonish me, when he was caught by a harassed BBC interviewer outside the Vanity Fair party, that he took the time to do the most charming joshing I have ever seen. Almost everyone else was monosyllabic, probably from having to sit through a four hour ceremony. Not Hanks, who was in full antic mode. He made an excellent gag about the BAFTAs having one day to give a prize to an American film, and then, when the interviewer said Thank you very much, Hanks feigned astonishment. 'That's it?' he said. 'That's all? If I were from Wales you would have interviewed me for another twenty minutes.' Then he slapped the amazed BBC fellow on the arm, roared with laughter, and went on to spread the happiness elsewhere. A huge Hollywood star making a WELSH JOKE. It's too much. I imagine that most film stars don't even know where Wales is. I shall love him for that forever.
Also, Hugh Jackman gets huge props for making a cricket joke. 'Thank you so much for not mentioning The Ashes,' he told the BBC. So I love him too.
Pictures of the day are not of couture frocks or scarlet carpets, but of snowdrops and trees and hills and dogs and buds. You would not expect me to break the habit of a lifetime.
The snowdrops in the light:
Just look at the delightful crocuses. Or is it crocii?
It was minus two this morning, with a heavy frost, but the new spring light is still gentling the wooded hills:
The hellebores looked dead as dodos last week, but now are raising their delicate heads:
If you look very closely, you can see the sky reflected in her eyes:
Like dignity on the monument:
With any luck, things will be calmer tomorrow and I shall make more sense.
PS. To those kind readers who have asked: the dear stepfather is home and recuperating nicely. I made him a ham for his breakfast, in the Edwardian manner. Must keep the patient's strength up.