The End Of The World
Week 1

James Leavey's


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By James Leavey

Itís been a slow week.Just the usual global corruption, crime and violence, an African volcano oozing lava, Trojan Horse viruses threatening my hard-drive, and the most powerful man on the planet spending half of his time as US President playing golf in Texas, or trying to commit suicide from eating pretzels.And thereís still no sign of the stray asteroid that is about to hit the Earth and wipe out mankind.

Then I read a story in one of the national newspapers on how to survive the forthcoming recession.It seems Iím at risk due to my being a) over 50, b) the holder of several worn-out credit cards, and c) given to spending sprees on Havana cigars and single Malts.The next page quoted an article from the New Scientist that says an American university has just devised a program that could replace most of my skills as a freelance journalist.

What do I care. The world could end before I finish this sentence. 

Still with me"

My cat, Toffee, has the right idea.She just lounges around the house, like a cushion with a tail, oblivious to the news screaming out of the digital TV, while I flick from Sky News to BBC 24 Hour News via CNN and ITN News to Euro News.Same unimaginative headlines on all of them.Youíd think that nothing else was happening in the world, aside from the deja vu news that this coterie of editors have decided between themselves (no doubt in a bar, somewhere) to bang on about. 

The trouble is, as I said to the Beloved Wife, no decent actors have died since Jack Lemmon.And itís the one thing we do look forward to, catching up with old movies that they drag out of the archives as a half-hearted celebration of some Hollywood iconís career.

Been flicking through my library of film reference books, trying to think whoís still alive, made some really good films that havenít been broadcast for a while, and is likely to join all those other stars in MGM heaven.The Beloved Wife says she spotted Gregory Peck at Jack Lemmonís funeral on TV, and he had a strange bandage round his head.Does this mean he has some dreadful face cancer, or cut himself shaving"If itís the former, I guess weíll be time-shifting To Kill a Mockingbird, again.

Itís a pity that some actors canít die twice.Then maybe theyíd show some of Buster Keatonís silent comedies on Britainís Channel Four. 

Out of desperation, Iíve just scanned several gloomy websites.It seems nuclear winter is well overdue, and that Black Death is about to re-emerge and wipe out most of the Third World.Thatís if AIDS, TB, Global Warming, the Men in Black from Sirius, or the Wrath of God doesnít get the job done sooner.

The odds of my making it to the next column are currently 3 to 1.Hardly worth writingit then, as I said to Gian Turci.But heís an optimist.

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