I had a rather curious phone call from a nice chap at the BBC yesterday.
“Hello,” he said, after checking I was the correct Jayne Nelson, film journalist, who occasionally pops up on the news discussing random popular-cultural events. “I was just wondering if you’d be willing to talk about Natasha Richardson. Should the worst happen, that is.”
Which, I have to say, was a bit of a jaw-dropper. My first instinct was, “But the poor lady isn’t even dead yet!” And my second instinct, as a journalist, was, “Well, if she does die, they do need to be prepared…”
What a strange business this is, where you have to circle like a vulture over a sick celebrity just to ensure that you’re prepared to cover the sad event, should it happen. Of course, Natasha Richardson did die, late last night, and my sympathies go out to her family and friends because what happened to her was terrible. But I didn’t want to talk about it on television, because it’s not really for me to do something like that. The nice chap from the BBC had to find somebody else, and I wished him luck, because frankly it’s a sad thing to have to do, but necessary.
“Just for our records,” he said, at the end of our conversation, “what can we ring you about in the future?”
“Sci-fi,” I said. “Or fantasy. Harry Potter, things like that. Tell you what, just put ‘Is A Big Geek’ next to my name.”
Like I said, this is a strange business.