6th May 2020

Darling Paloma,

It seems most people are ” going spare” waiting for the first phase of the lockdown exit to begin.

As I stepped on to the street, I watched someone angrily putting on her black semi-disposable nitrile grip gloves finger by finger. She spouted that the incompetent British Government didn’t know what the hell they were doing. And as for Trump, she shrieked, ‘ he couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery.’ It was an excellent British expression to greet my morning.

Before I picked up my coffee, I saw three more monologues going on. All sounding angry, all self-loathing, ‘ I must lose weight!’ a red-faced Englishman bellowed. Oh dear, I thought and crossed the road to avoid spittle coming from his mouth. The weight-loss conversation continued loudly enough for me and everyone else to hear.’ You will look so much better thinner,’ they say while the other side advises just to enjoy myself and stop worrying about what other people think. It was an apparent fight between vanity and greed, and clearly, no side had won. It looked like it has been one long battle like two boxers vowing to fight until death, but neither one can find the knockout punch.

I’m not pointing the finger at anyone because on my way back home, I too was having my own inner dialogue.

What is this virus? I asked. A terrifying secret. An unknown that many of the finest scientists around the world are trying to untangle and develop a vaccine. A team in Oxford seem to be the front runners. They are certainly getting the most publicity. They have started human trials, but they reiterate there is still a long way to go. Six months? A year? Two years? I like everyone does not know but what we have learnt is that the virus is indiscriminate. It’s effective. It hops, skips, jumps and crawls over you. And when you fall sick as someone has just told me, ‘ the uncalled sounds of your breathing surge up like a dying whale coming to the surface to breathe all too frequently.”

I was about to delve more deeply, but was saved again by the vagrant hiding behind his tree. Oh no! I thought. Who is coming more way? I looked from right to left, from left to right, but there was no one. The vagrant gave me the thumbs up and a broad smile. He was only playing with me. His silly game cheered me up- what a sweet man he is. I walked over and left my coffee on the pavement. ‘ For you!’ I said.

It was the kindest thing I had done for months, and naturally, it wiped away the negativity that started my day .

With love,


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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