The Movie: Topsy-Turvy, 1999 (Mike Leigh, screenwriter and director)
Who says it: Timothy Spall as actor Richard Temple, playing The Mikado
The context: Temple grieves over Gilbert’s decision to cut his big song, “A More Humane Mikado,” from the show. (Later, of course, the song – a classic – is restored.)
How to use it: To accept a reversal with equanimity -- or as a eulogy.
I don't know which of yesterday's three celebrity deaths shocked me most. Sandra Dee's, maybe, because I had no idea that she was still alive, or that she was still so (relatively) young. John Raitt had a good, productive life, and lived to a ripe old age. And Hunter S. Thompson's life had been an act of will for at least the last 40 years.
But I'm a little angry at Dr. Thompson, too, as I often am at suicides. He was done with all of us, and it didn't matter to him at all that we might not have been done with him. That pisses me off, though it speaks directly to the central theme of a project I'm currently working on: what is the obligation of the artist to his/her audience? None, says Raoul Duke with a bang. Catch you on the other side.
That said, his final column is as brilliant as anything he ever wrote... and makes me wonder whether his death was suicide, or some grotesque accident. (I say it all the time: I always worry that my last conscious thought will be, "Whoops.")
On that topic, it's snowing hard, and it's very cold. My feet shot out from under me this morning when Dizzy and I were walking around the block, and I whacked my head hard on the sidewalk. I have none of the WebMD symptoms of "serious head injury" -- in fact, all my symptoms fall under their description of "minor" -- but it's just as well that today's a holiday for most of my clients.