Around London in 80 days
In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.
And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.
Day 80: Sir Ian McKellen
Just over a year ago, I went to see Sir Ian McKellen on stage. A varied, moving, beautiful one-man show, which he put together in his 80th year, with the plan of touring it in 80 theatres around the country.
The show was such a success that it was then housed by the Harold Pinter Theatre in London for a further 80 fundraising performances. I attended the penultimate performance.
For almost two hours, I saw that great actor seamlessly transitioning from one role to another, whilst wittingly talking to all and every one of us about his life, about Life. 80 years old and so much energy, optimism, passion. He talked about encounters, existential questions, dreams, friendship; from Gandalf to Shakespeare, he reenacted his career, including a few delightful surprises.
From my almost distant seat, at the balcony, I was savouring every second of this precious night.
Then the time came to part ways. The curtain fell.
I left the theatre alone, a smile on my face, my head in the clouds.
I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of peace. All of my worries about the world and about the future had disappeared.
Instead, a sudden certainty: everything is going to be all right.