Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Birthday Girl: Nothing Like a Dame

In this grim season, it is heartening to celebrate a birthday, and especially one of such a bracing and acerbic superstar. Seen in here in period splendor (and quite convincing at it, too), all hail Dame Maggie!

Today's young things may know her as a witch or a dowager, but to many of us she's a kaleidoscope - a mad aunt, a petrifying pedagogue, a cousin who denies herself a Room with a View, a vicar's wife who seeks a bed among the lentils... her variations are endless, taking in Neil Simon comedy and Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Henry James. She is droll, imperious, cutting, and very occasionally heartbreaking.

And - and this, right now, seems especially key: still alive. Among us. In interviews, she comes off as surprisingly diffident, shy about fame and dismissive of the trappings of celebrity. I think she likely sees herself as a working woman, getting a job done. She might go so far as to admit she does it rather well, but she seems to me always slightly startled (and quite suspicious) of the adulation that comes her way, especially at the level seen since she's been in blockbuster movies and that television program about country living.

I frankly adore her, and I suspect I'm not alone among Café regulars in doing so. Long may she wave.


  1. You suspect correctly. She is an absolute talent in a sea of mediocrity. Jx

  2. She was especially good one night on Graham Norton when she admitted she never watched Downton. What a gal.