Recycled / Where John Lewis met John Hurt
Saturday 22 November 1997
Even in London, preferring my bike at every opportunity, I find it pretty impossible to live without a car. On a bike you can't take home a new ironing-board or a case of wine, so you need somewhere where you can park conveniently. What's more, if you live in central London, you quickly discover that the principal occupant of Cavendish Square, John Lewis, is essential to daily life - the ultimate household store where you can get just about anything.
I can't explain why, and now I've probably tempted fate too far, but in 20 years I've always been able to find a space in the Cavendish Square car park, and been out of my car and inside John Lewis within a couple of minutes. It should be busy, a traffic black spot but somehow it seems to have a serenity, a convenience, a quiet Britishness not found elsewhere. Is this, was this, a secret? Have I given it away?
It's strange, the synchronicity bike rides seem to provoke. What an appropriate meeting in an appropriate place. Is not John Hurt the John Lewis of British actors - quality, value, variety, dependability, never knowingly undersold? Is not Cavendish Square the perfect location: not flashy or vulgar, but restrained and traditional, with a modern edge?
I was riding past the car park entrance, towards the post box in the south-east corner of the square, intent on posting my collection of invoices and business letters. I let the clickety-click of my gears slow me gently to a halt and there he was, moving swiftly, urgently, purposefully in that familiar, slightly hunched, ferret-like manner. We neatly and simultaneously co-ordinated our postings and he was gone, leaving me for once, the cyclist, stranded and hesitating.
He has a gentleness in everything that he does. Somehow, he falls between those two types of actor: one that is always himself whatever the role, the other that changes appearance and character completely. His personality does not shine out, but he has an aura of steadiness; he's not a blank canvas but a solid foundation. There is that essential Britishness, some sort of integrity, even when he plays the most sleazy, villainous role. He can provide almost any role. He can be almost all things to all men: the repulsive Elephant Man, the creepiest, nastiest baddie; the most sincere, caring and profound hero.
A reassuring place, Cavendish Square, a place to convince you there will always be an England, that there will always be a Sunday afternoon movie starring John Hurt and tea on china plates from John Lewis.
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson in official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...
expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...