Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Swallows and Kafka

The flat is quiet tonight for the first time in weeks. And all is well at the crib. Moments of silence have punctuated my day, allowing reflection.

Twenty five years ago, for many queer people, Christmas was a time when you left behind the people you loved and went to see your family. I am confident that is a truth for fewer queer people these days.

This year my family came to see me. And it was wonderful.

Three days (the fish rule) of good food, good wine, some silly games, familiarity and affection. And of course, love.

Other guests were here too. Families are very like gin. OK neat, but better diluted.

At the Christmas Day table we played a toasting game. Something I learned in Georgia. Person One toasts whatever comes to mind. Everyone repeats. Person Two repeats the first toast, then adds their own. Everyone repeats. Person Three... well you get the picture.

At our table we toasted (and this list is not exhaustive),

The fall of Capitalism; swallows; Kafka; Javier's grandmother; Brexit; the rise of the Radical Left; the downfall of Jeremy Corbyn; Nancy; William Shakespeare and Emily Pankhurst.

The last toast fell to a ten year old confident young woman who in a clear voice toasted "Feminism".

We all concurred and cheerfully toasted.

Except her mother, who leant over and whispered,

"Sweetheart, next time make it the Destruction of Patriarchy".

I love my family, and I love my friends.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A man I once called friend has died. And I am sad. Not sad because he has died, that was timely and proper, but because it's fifteen years since we spoke and when the opportunity to renew our friendship arose a year ago I put it on the "to do" list.  And now it's on the "too late" list. I hate both those lists with equal loathing.

Several years ago in circumstances I can't quite recall Lionel and Jim came to lunch. The Revd Professor Lesley Houlden ( the eminent New Testament scholar whose many achievements in life do not include my mastering of New Testament Greek) was the other guest. It was Easter Sunday and we ate lamb. I was, as is oft the case in reduced circumstances and we ate the lamb off a table in my bedroom. We ate and drank and laughed, laughed a lot as I recall. I expect theology was discussed but I would have been making the gravy at that point, saving everybody the trouble of smiling sweetly as I ostentatiously expressed ill informed opinion. I was young!

Lionel was a love. He made me smile and feel good about myself. His greatest achievement, in my ostentatiously expressed opinion was his mastery of three minutes on the wireless.

Three minutes on the wireless from time to time can change the world.