My snapshot of the day is the man who was probably in his midtwenties who paddled into the beach on his kayak at 6:30 a.m. this morning. As he was being watched with fascination by my fitness group, he proceeded to towel himself down, change into his suit, put on his cufflinks, comb his hair using the wing mirror, jauntily stick on his sunglasses, and drive off in his BMW, kayak strapped on top. I am ashamed to say, we all looked at each other and said in unison, “Real-estate agent.”
It really dates me that I can talk about being an expat before email, Skype, and the Internet shrank the world. When we lived in Hong Kong in the early 1990s, the mother of one of my great friends used to tape the BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers and send it out to her, which seemed to me the height of maternal devotion.
Nowadays, I stream Radio 4 through the Internet and pick and mix my way through programs. My current addiction is a Radio 4 Desert Island Discs episode that I have been listening, and relistening to, that focuses on Jimmy Mulville, the U.K. comic and writer.
Such is my grip on popular culture I have to confess I had never heard of him before, but I have to now admit to a major long-distance radio crush on the man and want him as a friend as he sounds such an interesting and entertaining person. Family and friends are obviously very important to him and one of the most moving bits of the interview was when he talked about his group of friends who all get together once a week. Another great point in his favor was that he chose David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” as one of his records which was enough to have me bopping round the kitchen with enthusiasm—try not to visualize this scene. I was actually supposed to be on a breakfast banana-pancake production line at the time, fortunately the smoke alarm was enough to rouse me from a reenactment of the dance moves that cleared the floor quite literally during my teenage years. The house has been reverberating to Bowie ever since, causing groans of despair from the Drama Queens.
Being a complete egotist, I have now been amusing myself considering what to include on Desert Island Discs when I am invited on: Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet” and Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” would be up there, along with “Flower of Scotland’ as roared out by the crowd at Murrayfield as the Scottish Rugby team run on. Sibelius’ “Finlandia” would bring back memories of studying for A levels, whilst Chris De Burgh’s “Patricia the Stripper” would immediately conjure up late-night student parties during my first year at university.