3rd April 2020

Darling Paloma,

The number of coronavirus cases in the world is now over one million. Irrelevant in part as so few of us have yet to be tested but it’s a milestone nevertheless which fills us with trepidation of what is to come. I don’t think I’d be wild in describing it as an existential threat to humanity. If I’m wrong then thank God I am.

I’m sure in the future , you will look back and think wow! there was an actual time when this planet had “just” a million cases. Today is that day my darling and we are living through it. It feels for many as if the world we have grown to know with all its beauty and all its failings has suddenly stopped.

Last night at around 9pm I took Lola out for her late walk . There was no one on the streets, they were completely empty of human life. Even the fleet of vespas had taken the night off. All we saw were two foxes scavenging for food and someone smoking a joint out of his window. As a friend once described, ‘ the burning tip of my joint reminds me of the devilish face of some nightowl.” Lights in the area were off, there was not even the usual yellow and blue neon flashing from the gas station. I thought perhaps the whole city had shut down and no one had told us about it. No brightness left. No flashing screens in Picadilly Circus. Not even the usual orange hue of the night city. Why? Had the virus also sucked us dry of light? I took the pods out of my ears. Listen. What could I hear? Only foxes using our street like a field dodging back and forth among the rubbish bins, outrunning, doubling back, stopping short,teasing each other until they glimpsed Lola . They stared at each other and then the foxes made a dash to the neighbouring square with one carrying half a pizza in its mouth.

The only benefit of darkness was that no one could see my bald head. I was not prepared to show it to even a stranger. You will be pleased to know that our marriage is still intact . I got your mum to cut it off for me. There are a lot of firsts going on in the world at the moment and to have my hair shaved off is one. I could hardly look in the mirror but your mother still seemed to love me so by the time I glimpsed at myself I had become a little more confident. All I could see was my father, your late grandfather. It was like a high pitched whistle going off in my head capable of distancing myself from the outside world; for that alone I am grateful.

Tonight we are planning out first ” Zoom” dinner party. A table for six has been set on a white table cloth. Avocado full of prawns, artichoke hearts, smoked salmon, caviare, anchovies twirled round red hot peppers. Not really! We are having risotto with a bottle of red wine on a white table cloth. One guest will sitting in Boston, the other in New York and the other two one hundred miles down the road. It is the new cheaper way to throw a dinner party.

Tomorrow I have my first Spanish lesson. So fingers crossed.

Te quiero mucho

Papa

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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