This year for the first time, I have invested in an appointments diary. It’s big and blue and looks important, with a ribbon for a bookmark like a Bible. Up until now I have committed everything to memory—my mantra being that if I don’t remember something it can’t be that important anyway. This modus operandi may have worked in the 70s when I still had a short-term memory and little to recall, but now—back in the cold May of 2010—the fringes of my brain have frayed while the interior looks like a tie-dyed T-shirt during a recent scan searching for drug-induced black holes. Still desperate to please like a toothless old circus dog, I yap yes to everything and then forget all about it until it’s too late and I am doing something else. In such a way I have lost the friendship of Joan Collins, among other things, having double-booked myself one evening after a performance of Pygmalion when I was supposed to be dining with her.
I am sitting with two young men and a skeletal lady in J Sheekey’s restaurant in the West End of London. They are from Paramount Pictures or Twentieth Century Fox, I can’t remember which. What I can remember is that this is the last meeting I have had at such an exalted level—actually feasting with the high priests of Hollywood—to discuss possible involvement in a picture, rather than what is to come crashing in next, and is, by the way, the harsh reality faced by most actors competing for jobs today, which involves recording a scene on your iPhone and texting it with fingers crossed to the casting director. The rest, as Hamlet said, is normally silence.