How to live?
Despite the title of Perec's masterpiece, there is no guide, no manual to life. Perhaps the best any of us can do is to live a 'Good Life'. Like Tom and Barbara in the seventies sitcom. Of course there have been many clips played on the news to remember Richard Briers, the actor, who died yesterday. For many he will always be Tom Good, a man ahead of his time, living the self-sufficient life in Surbiton having given up a job in an office. He was a draughtsman, but his talents were wasted drawing designs for the plastic toys that went inside cereal packets. He turned forty and jacked it all in and one of the best British sitcoms ever (imho) went from there. Of course it wasn't just about Tom - it was a true ensemble piece, with his wife Barbara (Felicity Kendal) and their next-door neighbours Jerry (Paul Eddington - a close friend of Briers') and Margo (Penelope Keith). As my wife tweeted yesterday, a vision of Jerry at the pearly gates, cigarette in hand, greeting Tom and saying, 'what kept you?' Paul Eddington died in 1995. Briers was also the voice of Roobarb and more recently played Hector in Monarch of the Glen, for which he will be remembered by a younger TV generation. And he did his share of Shakespeare, even if it was sometimes hard to separate him from being Tom, most notably in Branagh's film version of Henry V. Briers was married within six months of first meeting his wife, and they were still together when he died, having been married for more than fifty years. So many warm tributes to him today and yesterday across the media.
Truly, a Good Life.