Roger Moore, Dali, Gallery K
The fabulous scenery in the latest Pirates Of The Caribbean had me itching to return to Bermuda, where much of the movie was shot. The last time I was there, I was hunting for lost treasure in the company of a real-life adventurer.
My dream was to create the most opulent spoons in the world, and bend them. I wanted to produce a set of six dessert spoons in precious metal, and stud them with gems — not just the crests, but all the bowls, the backs, the stems… These spoons weren’t for eating ice-cream.
Aristocrats are born with silver spoons in their mouths, it’s said — but anyone born with one of my artworks between his gums would have to be an emperor at least.
In the end, I went to the other extreme and designed my Japanese collection from beads and wood, the simple and classic materials beloved in the Far East. It was the right choice — but I still would have liked to raise the Ã‚Â£6m I estimated I would need to create those six spoons.
I learned from my mentor, Salvador Dali, that it’s the ideas which count most, not the execution of them. It took me a long time to understand that, but Dali was right. He generated brilliant concepts like a blazing hearth sends up sparks, and most of those sparks simply disappeared into the darkness.
For instance, Dali’s collaboration with Disney, an animated short called Destino, was put on ice in 1946, because the surreal excesses of the painter were more than Walt could cope with. “It wasn’t Mickey Mouse,” Dali told me with a manic giggle.
Not all his ideas were great ones. He once appeared on stage in London wearing a diving suit — the bewildered audience were told this suit was the source of Senor Dali’s creativity, but they began to suspect it was a back-firing prank when the artist collapsed from lack of air. Luckily, a young poet in the audience had a spanner in his pocket. (A poet with a spanner? To me, that’s the most surreal idea of all!)
I am certain Dali would have admired the exhibition at Gallery K in Hampstead which Hanna and I saw at the weekend. It’s the work of a Greek painter called Niki Eleftheriadi, who paints gorgeous landscapes of the Mediterranean islands.
Hanna adored the romance of the pictures, which often focus on a girl in a red or white dress. I loved the atmosphere — the brilliant coastlines were so vivid I could smell the salt Cyprus sea where I bathed as a teenager.
We met Maria Theofili, the wife of the Greek ambassador, and her ten-year-old son, Eon, told me he has always fantasised about being able to bend metal with his mind. He’s had this dream since long before he heard of me — I have to wonder if metal-bending is a genetic ability which a few humans inherit naturally. Why else would Eon ever have thought of it?
He was speechless to see a spoon bend, and spent the rest of the show in a corner with a handful of cutlery, concentrating furiously.
It’s rare that TV performers get the chance to thank the people who make their performances possible — the backstage crew. So I leapt at the chance to present a trophy at the Guild of British Camera Technicians 30th anniversary awards, at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel.
But I’m not going to tell you what the award was for. You’d laugh.
Yes you would. Shipi and Hanna fell about laughing when they saw my script, and I had butterflies in my stomach as I stepped onto the stage in front of an audience of 500, worried that I wouldn’t be able to suppress a splutter as I presented the Panavision BGCT Focus Puller’s Knob award.
It might sound comical, but without the focus pullers and their knobs, you wouldn’t be able to watch TV at all.
A true giant of the movies was there to make a Lifetime Achievement award, for script supervision — Roger Moore, who gets my vote for the greatest of all the Bonds. He looks fantastic: tanned, fit and laid back, and he proved to be the most charming guy.
I’ve been an admirer since his days as The Saint — it turned out he and his beautiful wife, Christina Tholstrup, are both fascinated by the paranormal. And that wasn’t all we had in common… both Roger and I launched our careers as models. “My first job was posing for knitting patterns,” he said.
Mine was razorblades and underpants. Neither of us could have guessed, as we stood in front of the camera, where it would all lead!
I had a tooth implant this week, to replace a molar which came out last year. It was a pretty unpleasant operation, with the dentist drilling into the bone, and as I lay in the chair I reflected that New Scientist once accused me of faking telepathy by having microscopic radio receivers implanted in my teeth.
All I can tell you is, anyone who went through an implant op just to perform a conjuring trick would be out of his mind!
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