Wednesday, March 01, 2006

somerset boulevard

the front page and two centre pages of the local weekly newspaper were dedicated, last week, to the news that Nicolas Cage had been in town, house-hunting, apparently. literally. I didn’t think that was how mega-slebs did it, but he and his relatively new wife of twenty-two walked into two estate agents in the High Street and made enquiries about properties in the local area. I’d give good money to have been a fly on the wall at one of those encounters.

hi – I’m looking for a house
yes, sir, and in what price range would that be?
oh, let’s talk about that later, shall we?

so there are photographs of him emerging from the Abbey Tea-Rooms, interviews with people who spoke to him, including the owner of the Abbey Tea-Rooms and the person who sold him a few books (titles listed) on spirituality and esoterica in The Speaking Tree, photographs of him signing autographs, photographs of him talking to a reporter, photographs of people who got his autograph, interviews with people who got his autograph -

he was really nice
he was quite normal really

- and a resumé of his career.

and this tiny town is agape at the possibility – the remote possibility – of having a Hollywood film star living here (for a few weeks a year).

apart from the fact that we share a birthday (true) I doubt if Nicolas and I would have much in common, but I nurse, in common with everyone else in town, the sad fantasy that, once settled in, he and I, through some chance encounter or random act of fate, might become friends, and that he and his charming young wife Alice would become regular droppers-in to our slightly humbler abode to pass the time in frivolous pursuits and idle banter. I base this fantasy, as does everyone else in town, on no more solid foundation than the fact that he’s famous – I know diddley-squat about him as a person, although anyone who’s friends with Tom Waits and a cousin of Sofia Coppola earns instant credit by default in my book (and I have to admit that I’ve only seen three films of his – the magnificent Charlie Kauffman’s ‘Adaptation’, the wonderful ‘Wild at Heart’ and the bleak ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ – although I thought his performances in all three were class). this aspiration involves nothing more than desiring to bask in the beneficence of his charisma and inspiring the envy of everyone I know – none of whom would ever admit to it. the bleak actuality of having to hold a conversation with someone who, for all I know, although, since he’s an actor, it’s a fair assumption, doesn’t do conversation unless it reflects on his wonderfulness, doesn’t even enter into the equation – being able to say “oh, have you met Nick” to one or two people I can think of and watch their struggle to retain equanimity against overwhelming odds would be worth a few minutes memorising his IMDb profile.

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