30th March 2020

Darling Paloma,

I cannot hold back certain thoughts, I’m frightened those thoughts distinguish me from from everyone else. Questions twist round me like a snake. I try to stifle them but they are springs which however hard I press down , they will eventually leap up when I run of force. I think about the virus every hour, every day. I even dream about It. I usually don’t tell anyone about dreams, dreams or prayers. It bores them. So all I’ll say is that last night I dreamt I had the virus and the night before I dreamt I didn’t.

One of the first sites I visit in the morning is worldometers.info to check on the latest coronavirus numbers which change frequently. It reminds me of a billboard on Santa Monica Boulevard near to the 405: ‘ Smoking deaths this year and counting.” – Bill Bloomfield constructed a massive billboard to make people aware of the dangers of smoking by electronically counting nearly one smoking death a minute; I used to drive by looking away in case the number changed as I was passing. I would have seen that as very bad luck. Maybe we should erect a similar billboard around Hyde Park Corner to remind people of social distancing. To remind them that the closer you get the more danger you may put someone in.

I had a near fight with someone who edged close to your mum and then minutes later did the same to me. He was an undesirable character who had a total disregard for anyone but himself. I told him to get back which he didn’t take well. I shrugged my shoulders which he didn’t take well. He cursed and I backed further away. Perhaps this is an example of things to come. I was only talking last week of community spirit but with the intensity of our change of lifestyle there is another side. The isolation is bringing questions in to our life. The different opinions of how to tackle this virus and when restrictions will be lifted. Ultimately it is not our decision. We will have to follow what biology is telling us; it is a time for biology to lead.

I look forward to those balmy summer evenings when these days are abandoned and we return to not the old world but at least to something recognizable. Today the roads are virtually empty, the skies are clear of planes and the local church’s stained glass windows that once seemed to me like the peaceful lake at the edge of a loud and manic city have an eerie gloom to them. I wait for them to regain their miraculously reflecting mess of colours: : rhubarb reds and pewter greys; purples and cinnamon; electric blues miraculously reflecting onto pavement leading to the garden square below.

With love,

Daddy.

Published by Simon Astaire

Simon Astaire was the youngest agent ever employed at ICM starting the Music department and representing a variety of clients before turning to head a PR agency where his clients included brands such as Bulgari, Armani and celebrities and members of the Royal Family. He is regularly quoted in the press and has been described in The London Times as a PR Prince. He had a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph called Station to Station where he interviewed a diverse mixture of high-profile individuals on their imaginary last train journey. He has written six novels and two biographies including soccer star Sol Campbell when he was nominated for best new sports writer. His latest novel The Last Photograph, was made into a film of the same name. It had a US theatrical release in November 2019 and is now available on all platforms. His blog ' Letters to my daughter' began March 19th 2020.

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