shop lives at No.4 Sloane Square in London, yards from the Royal Court Theatre. I suppose it’s interesting that I would now far rather go into a kitchen shop and buy a chopping board than go and see a play, or indeed audition for one. In fact, I steer well clear, scared (or should I say trepidatious) of bumping into someone from my former life, the theatre bar at the Royal Court witness to a small handful of intense, deeply felt humiliations. A theatre bar is not, in and of itself, a relaxing place to be anyway; everyone is subtly networking or nervous for a friend or relative about to perform (or jealous), everyone is sweeping the room, status – yours and theirs – is being constantly, silently re-negotiated. You can’t, or rarely can you,
just go up to someone
. Which is what I used to do before I realized it was not done. There’s Tom Stoppard! Why, he gave me a small but not insignificant cheque at the beginning of my drama school career, based on his friendship with my dad that went back to the Sixties. I shall go over and thank him in person. Why not? He looked at me as though I were a flying insect hovering near, but not directly in, his sight-line. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but it was probably fairly anodyne, inoffensive stuff. In the end, he simply turned away.