May 6: emma peel

I saw Diana Rigg today. She was sitting at the terrace of a restaurant eating a chicken lunch. She was on her own and on her phone. She looked like she does does on Game of Thrones though she was wearing a kind of cream Chanel suit and not a Medieval gown with chunky iron jewellry. The evening before I had seen her on Freeview channel 61 Tru Entertainment in The Avengers as Emma Peel in about 1968. Sometimes I watch this as I am a big fan. Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in 1968 is my favourite.  It is disconcerting to see the same person in two different stages of their life like that. It makes you see how hard it must be to be an actor, always revealed to the public. I thought I should probably say something but she was on her mobile. In any case, what would I say? You were terrific as Emma Peel when you were twenty eight. She must know that she is a bit of a disappointment to Emma Peel fans now. Diana Rigg is not the only person whose change has disconcerted me. Friends who you do not see for many years and who are suddenly old or bald or fat or grey or wrinkled. You know it happens but it’s always a melancholy moment. Sometimes I google names from the past, from my old school, and hope to get an image of them. Then you can place your mental image of a snotty nosed boy of fourteen next to the photo of a greying man who is named an executive headmaster in some local newspaper. Once on the site Friends Reunited I came a cross a photo of my contemporaries from school at a reunion in a pub in Manchester. The photo slowly unscrolled and there revealed to me were the laughing, simple-minded faces of a group of fat old drunks. I could place no face on no name although I had all the faces of them as schoolboys  in my mind’s eye. These old friends are now gone. I would brush past them on the street without knowing them and they, on their way to Tesco, would brush past me.

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