Monday, 21 September 2015

RIP JACKIE COLLINS: CLASS TO THE LAST


Sad about Jackie Collins. I so admired her spirit and her guts. She was much-maligned and ridiculed, but was in fact a magnificently clever writer, who invented a genre from scratch and who wrote in the old-fashioned way: on foolscap pads, with pencils and felt-tip pens, never plotting or planning but allowing the stories and characters to flow from her head, and to bring themselves to life. The way she managed to weave and knot her intricate tales together was almost Dickensian.

She kept her illness to herself for six long years. She didn't even share with her sister Joan until a fortnight before the end. Only her three daughters knew. Rather than doing the woe-is-me cancer-diary thing for money (for whom??), she just went about her business as usual until the bittersweet end. It seems to me an infinitely more elegant way of dealing with death. I know, I know, it's not the done thing to say so, but aren't all these Lynda Bellingham-style memoirs only a way of going out in a blaze of glory, to compensate for the success that largely eluded them during their careers? Living her big life until the absolute last - she was here in the UK from her home in LA only last week, giving interviews on 'Loose Women' and the like - Jackie refused to give the ghastly disease column inches. That's classy. She was.

She was always very kind to me. I interviewed her several times over the years, most notably at the Ritz in London, with a newborn baby under my arm (I was breastfeeding). Jackie seized her, and sat nursing her and rocking her to sleep while I asked the questions. She later wrote to me to thank me 'soooo much!!!' for bringing my baby, on cream vellum personalised notepaper with 'Jackie Collins at the Ritz' embellished top-centre in royal blue. How cool. I have coveted such notepaper ever since.

Go well, JC. Much missed.


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