One of the guests at our anniversary dinner party was our great friend Meeno Peluce, who happens to be a poet, philosopher, bon vivant but most importantly a fantastic photographer. Meeno documented the evening and then very kindly gave us, as an anniversary gift, the photographs. Here, with his permission, I share those photos with a few added taken on my camera, to prove that Meeno was there. When Didier said he was sad Meeno wasn’t in any photograph he wrote back “A great life I’m chronicling and I am but a gracious ghost in it all.” If, however, like me, you are frustrated his camera didn’t document all the words spoken, this is after all a silent movie made up like La Jetée of still imagery. Missing is Meeno’s own illuminating eloquence on, of all subjects, death so I have included a few quotations and excerpts after the photo gallery – think of them as title cards to the images that move us.
When I look at these photographs I see laughter. I see fun. I see true friends whom we have known for varying amounts of time. They help me to remember the warmth of friendship as we shared wonderful heartfelt speeches. Everyone, in turn, like a Mexican wave around the dinner table stood up, a tradition we began many moons ago thanks to Luke Thornton, and have continued despite some of our shyest friends fears and reservations. It takes a lot [and no not a lot of booze – although a couple of glasses of Champagne certainly helps] to stand up in front of people and speak – even if those people are old friends.
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti – of A Bloomsbury Life – stayed true to herself and read this quote from Virginia Woolf: “What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.” Virginica Woolf, To The Lighthouse.
When Meeno’s father died on Easter Sunday I gave him a copy of Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them. In this beautiful anthology of poetry is Philip Larkin’s Unfinished Poem which Meeno read as part of his speech. Meeno spoke about finding his father’s body and about his recent experience of death. His words were raw and spoke to the heart of the matter, like Lisa with the Virginia Woolf quotation, and myself with the advice of Bob Hoskins – the meaning of life, has to be truly understood in the context of death.
“Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.” Virginia Woolf