An exercise in fanatacism

I heard Tim Curry interviewed on the radio last week and have been over the moon in love with him ever since. Would anyone like to make a Tiger Beat joke while the moment's ripe?

The man was utterly tender, funny, kind. He started the interview a little guarded, being faced with too many questions about his first movie and too little interest in everything he's done in the 30 years since; after a few minutes, the interviewer calmed down, Tim Curry relaxed, and the interview just swam along. He told how he and Eric Idle have been looking for a project to work on together for years, and were going to do a send-up of costume drama films called "The Remains of the Piano." He talked about learning to sing all over again after his voice broke, having been a boy soprano chorister. He talked about his first job in the theatre. I was driving across town to visit my brother - who had just come home after knee surgery - and I spent 10 minutes winding around my brother's suburb so I wouldn't arrive before the end of the interview.

At first I tried to rein my feelings in and convert them to respectable feelings like admiration and respect. Then I had a crappy morning at work and consoled myself by spending the afternoon moving between fansites and IMDB, developing an active obsession - a naughty way to spend an afternoon. The endorphine feedback was powerful, just like having a crush on someone in real life. Women are turned on by narrative the same way that guys react to T & A. Must be our biology.

I spent the next day analysing the situation in evolutionary terms. It goes like this: people have anxiety attacks and even post-traumatic stress after watching the news on TV, because the human mind has no means (and has only recently had a reason) to distinguish between events happening in on the other side of your window and events happening on the other side of the TV screen. In light of that, it's natural that I felt a huge warm attraction to the man whose baritone filled my car, telling stories about his life with tenderness and humor, even singing a little Billie Holiday when asked. Most of my brain doesn't understand that he's not speaking from the passenger seat. Reality is I won't have a chance to ask when I can see him again - I don't even have a chance to thank him for a lovely evening.

I spent the weekend listening to Billie Holiday (I even went out to get more when I realized my albums didn't go back to the 1930s). I rented a couple of Tim Curry movies, too. For years I've been avoiding Muppet movies - I had a hard time adjusting to Kermit-as-performed-by- ? after Jim Henson died, and I used to think they should retire the character. Then I watched Muppet Treasure Island, having become smitten with its star, and found that the new Kermit doesn't bother me anymore. Tim Curry's Long John Silver is just wonderful, sparkly eyes and wicked eyebrows and that laugh! The next screening will be Clue. "Butler? or Villain?" says Tim Curry, having bumped into Eric Idle in LA.

I think my feelings are settling down and getting saner, after a setback this weekend. I plunged deeper when I read a description of Tim Curry's home (8 years ago) where he lived alone with his dog and his garden, this man who loves to read and have small dinners with friends. Sounds a lot like me. He's moved house now and the dog, an Aussie, must be gone now. "All the lonely people," I think to myself.

But lonely isn't the right word, at least not for me. I like solitude, like keeping my own company, I like to read whole afternoons away. I like long conversations with a few people, everyone speaking, everyone listening. I like turning the music on, and turning the music off, without lengthy negotiations. I would like to have a lover in this mellow life - preferably someone who has the same tastes in slow time at home and laughter and quiet and words. I don't know how I would find this lover, when I'm at home reading and they are at home planting a garden. Going to a bar on a Friday night is not going to increase my chances. Even less effective is pining over a man whose voice charmed me over the radio.

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