A long time ago, coming to the end of our journey, my therapist asked me “What do you want?” I said I didn’t know. Silence. “I could tell you what I don’t want” I offered. She shook her head. “Won’t do.” “Why?” “Because even if you can tell me what you don’t want, you will try and get what you do want … under the table, as you always have.” First of two occasions when everything changed. Eighteen months later, I emailed her with – among other things – a list of the wishes I could verbalise. Peace sets in ten minutes after rigor mortis.
So it’s hokey to begin with what I don’t want but I don’t want Boris Johnson for Prime Minister.
In my only genuinely up market secretarial job I worked for a grand old American Republican who, sent a letter from the US Embassy asking for his endorsement an executive called Thomas Jefferson Trump (made up name), wrote in his wholly legible hand across the bottom of the circular “I would not vote Thomas Jefferson Trump for dog catcher.” And signed it. And that’s how I feel about Boris. I would be worried about Boris anywhere near a dog. Oh and it’s not Brexit. It’s anything. “Ooh” people say “he’s a bad boy …” Twinkle twinkle. Well, I have had to do with bad boys too and I came off worst. He doesn’t care and he is marked all the way through like Brighton rock – not UK or GB – just BJBJBJ.
And when I contemplate Jacob Rees Mogg – which I try not to do before food – I think of Hilary Mantel’s masterly evocation of Thomas More – a man who lived a secular life because a religious one wouldn’t satisfy him. I don’t want him anywhere near power either, a smug Home Counties version of Savonarola. I don’t want Head and Shoulders shampoo supposing that I would want my hair to look like Claudia Winkelman’s. I met her briefly, good looking, lovely voice, apparently intelligent. But that was some time ago: heigh ho, the price of fame!
I don’t want to be offered the same films (I think they’re on a loop) right across all those television stations which remind me increasingly of the US ice cream manufacturer Howard Johnson’s boast “25 flavours ! “ “Oh yeah” we used to say “and all of them vanilla !” Don’t promise me great drama in the autumn … I should live so long. I want to watch something interesting now.
I don’t want to be invited to sympathise with somebody who has made a complete mess of their financial affairs from the starting point of £40 million. I put my hand up, having made every mistake known to man except scams, but very few of us have a million to play with let alone multiples.
And although apart from her neck and her nails I don’t want to hear any more about Madonna at 60 or any other age, she once talked about having brought in the best people she could find to manage her money. And I rated her for that. If you can’t do it yourself, you find somebody who can help you. And pay them properly. And invigilate the whole process.
I don’t want to stand on the side lines and watch the truly terrifying US opioid epidemic happen here. Ban the bloody things ! You have to face pain – I’ve had to do some of that and it is frightening and distressing – but what is the point of substituting one problem for another ? This is when I know what an old person I am because the whole drugs thing disturbs me profoundly and always has, since I knew my first two addicts (one heroin, one pills) when I was 19. I don’t want to alter my mood by taking something. I want to alter my mood by doing something. Music always took me higher – and beauty and the joy of exchange, like Mo who got out of his truck to ask “Was you on the radio ?” I have been grinning at him as he drove past for years. That I want.