Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This morning the papers are, conveniently, full of the actor Dennis Waterman.He has spent a lifetime playing soft centred bruisers. Now he has admitted to a weakness that fits his public persona so perfectly that the blogosphere has flocked to the obvious conclusion.


He lashed out at his wife.

And, 14 years later, (and this is what we find utterly inexcusable) had the effrontery to try and explain. Because, of course, "explanation" is just another word for "excuse".

"Twitter" is exactly the right name. Airspace where members of the flock can each chirrup their atom of identity to one another: "I'm here";"I'm with you"; "Me too". Each linking in their blog, each chipping in their boilerplate outrage at a miserable, commonplace tragedy in someone else's private life.

Although there have been surprisingly sensitive discussions in the comments to the (rather predictable) post in the feminist blog "the f word". And I'm coming round to the Daily Mail.

My take?

Marriage is hard. And two perfectly decent people who love each other can still develop an abusive relationship. Over the years, the conversations that you have again and again wear paths in your brain that bypass your rational defences and strike straight at your deepest, darkest triggers. Knowing that your reaction was unacceptable just makes it impossible for you to relate to it. If you're lucky, you learn when to drop whatever you're holding and leave the room. It seems that neither Lenska nor Waterman could do that every time.

The other sadness is that he and his ex wife are still trapped in a world of blame. The only way that they can live with themselves is by wrapping the other in a scab of blame and forgetting about them. But I suspect that each feels that they have been wronged in a way that can never really be put right. And they will carry this nagging pain to their graves. If they could acknowledge their own contributions (if only to themselves), it becomes a shared mistake which they went through together and survived. Part of what they are now: sadder, perhaps, but wiser.

But that's a lot to ask. Like I said, marriage is hard.