Sometimes it dawns on me with some force that, all things considered, the single most volatile element in my life is a reliably unpredictable character trait, which finds its origin in my own rather unorthodox way of seeing things.
In other words, as I joked to my carer C. early last week, “You must think I’m mad.”
“Only sometimes,” she retorted. Sometimes I’m mad? Or she only thinks I am intermittently? Let’s not dwell on this. That way lies.. ahem… madness.
Feeling quite isolated over the weekend, and let’s face it, being a dedicated follower of the March Hare will do that, I soothed myself by checking out a BBC doco about my all time favourite actor Richard Sellers. You may know him as Peter Sellers.
I noted how even his closest friends and colleagues described the extent to which he was able to allow a character he was playing to inhabit his entire being as uncanny, extraordinary, unsettling.
Even Spike Milligan, a bit of an eccentric character himself to put it mildly, seemed non-plussed and even a tad unsettled many years later when reminiscing about some of the quirks and idiosyncrasies of his fellow-Goon.
For me, his comic genius – where of course his stupendous talent for mimicry was best showcased – was utterly enjoyable at so many levels.
However, I feel his penultimate film playing Chancey Gardiner in the film adaptation of Kozinski’s startling novel Being There will remain his legacy marker, and quite a spooky one at that.
His son Michael who bore much of the brunt of the domestic ire and frustration of this public genius/private tyrant, said about this film, ‘As his son it’s moving to see him like this. I don’t think he needed to stretch too far to find how to manifest this role.’ [paraphrased]
Another of his close colleagues said, “He was an astounding talent. But talent on its own isn’t really enough; you have to have the talent to manage your talent and I don’t think Peter ever had that..”
One time, Sellars found he was infatuated with the stunning wife of a friend/colleague and rather than engage in any surreptitious shenanigans, opted simply to tell his friend who replied by saying he couldn’t fault the putative interloper’s taste.
However, he added that he wondered why Sellars notified him of his feelings and intentions in such a open and direct way.
Sellars said something about respecting his amigo too much to go behind his back and so on. Seemed he just wanted or even sort of expected to walk away with some kind of fiat to philander…
Said his friend, “But then Peter so often was, really, quite quite mad.”