Poppy Folly

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The Independent Culture
There's a lot of death around this part of the Zodiac, maybe it's because we're going into the deep end of Taurus, down in the heart of darkness with Jim Jones, Sonny Liston and Harry S Truman, who only got out of his wheelchair to drop atom bombs on Japan. And then, of course, there's Norman Lamont (run! run!).

Born this week was Ritchie Valens, who went down with Buddy Holly - and that sets the tone because there's an amazing amount of dead people born this week. Bruce Chatwin, Daphne Du Maurier, Thomas Gainsborough and John Brown, who has surely finished mouldering in his grave by now (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who dug up his girlfriend, wasn't so lucky).

Among the usual acting riff-raff there are some pleasant surprises - Katharine Hepburn and Harvey Keitel, Wilfred Hyde-White, Fred Astaire - but then there is also Glenda Jackson (does she still do that awful thing with her mouth now she's Minister of Funeral Arrangements for the Elderly?). And let us not forget John Wilkes Booth who is up for a posthumous Oscar for his contribution to the theatre

Among an amiable gallery variety of fools, freaks and show-offs (Salvador Dali, Edward Lear, and Yogi Berra), we find Donovan (a gift from a flower to a garden), Sid Vicious, who did it his way, Barbara Woodhouse (she did it his way, too), and Krishnamurti, author of The Impossible Question (which was: Why Would Anyone Buy This Book?).

Having said all that, it is still possible to like Taureans, and that is astonishing given their appetite for authoritarian politics and very long mortgages. Also, it helps to be blind when meeting older Taureans because they look as though they spent their youth watching Cliff Michelmore presenting regional news round-ups in his car-coat, and that can't, actually, be borne.