Jennifer Lawrence has given an interview to Vogue where she’s said that she is lonely every Saturday night.
Sorry? KATNISS, LONELY? Oh right, she’s not Katniss. But still. This is one of the best, most loved Hollywood actresses right now, with the world at her feet. And although, for a brief second, I was sucked in to her confession, now, chiefly, I just feel a bit pissed off. Can we have a bit of a reality check please?
There’s a massive difference between not having plans for the night, and real, gut-destroying, life-scorching loneliness. The kind of loneliness best summed up by Barbara Covett’s sinister spinster in Zoe Heller’s ‘Notes on a scandal’, when she muses: “People like Sheba think that they know what it’s like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new… But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing… I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.”
If J-Law is finding it hard to cope with the nano-seconds of singledom she endures in-between killing it at the box office and sweeping up Oscars, my heart goes out to her, really it does. But if she really wants to talk about loneliness, or can’t find companionship, then I have the solution for her. In Britain, over 1 million people haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family for at least a month. Recently, an elderly couple dialled 999 and pretended they’d had an accident because they were so desperate to have someone to talk to. That’s loneliness, J-Law, right there.
I used to volunteer for a charity called The Bristol Film Unit. We would visit old people’s residential homes and show them films on projector screens. It was a life-affirming experience for me; not only did I get to see some right old classics: Whisky Galore, Now, Voyager, and Genevieve, but I also got to see how much just human companionship meant to the residents at each home. Often, at a time judged mutually convenient by us all, they would share round ice cream and red wine which we would enjoy companionably, while I soaked up tips on how to flirt in your nineties. It was probably one of the best times of my life.
So J-Law and all you other sad and rejected A-listers, why not fly over to Bristol sometime? I’ll hook you up with Bert and Phyllis and we can sort out your aching loneliness once and for all.