A recent article in The Guardian has compelled me to exercise my inner writer once more. The aforementioned article questions Richard E Grant’s near apocalyptic public display of happiness at his Oscar nomination.
Now this rattles my bones for two reasons, firstly he is my Mums not so secret pin up and if she ever felt the urge to run away from home he would be her first point of call and secondly why the hell shouldn’t he be happy? Why not scream it from the roof tops, print it on T shirts or get the Red Arrows to write it in smoke if the mood takes you?!
What is this apparent obsession in the UK of shunning success? In America they would celebrate his work, his long, wondrous career and pat him on the back at this glorious recognition. In this country we don’t know how to handle it, we seem embarrassed and instead can’t wait to knock them. This fills me with sadness.
In 2016 I had a good year, probably my best professionally. I had four shows in the West End and instead of celebration I found myself constantly embarrassed and underplaying it for fear of ridicule. It was only when I bumped into an American friend during that time and they shook my hand vigorously at the achievement did I started to allow myself to enjoy the moment.
This also got me thinking to the great Mark Bramble who the world sadly lost this week. We worked together on the revival of Barnum and shared delicious breakfasts together in our hotel where we would revel in stories of years gone by. I adored hearing tales from his Broadway days and gossiping away the early hours each morning over our sunny side up eggs. The show was problematic but whatever issues happened the day before, Mark always gave encouragement and sound advice. Something he said has stuck with me ever since and this brings me back to my opening thoughts. He said to me in his droll New York voice one particularly difficult day, “Andrew remember your friends will not like your success”.
At the time I didn’t really understand but his words resonated with me years later and crossed my mind this week when reading the article in The Guardian.
Whatever ‘success’ is, however small, extra large or just a happy medium why not be like my American friend and shake that persons hand for chances are they have worked long and hard and deserve their moment in the sun.
Mark was a wise, big hearted kind man and I hope he is having a ball in that circus in the sky.
I hope Richard wins tonight at the Oscars, however something tells me that whatever the outcome I am sure he’s going to have the night of his life.
He should also take comfort in the knowledge that win in or loose my Mum will still adore him!
“You deserve to be happy, you deserve to live a life you are excited about. Don’t let others make you forget that”.