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Pete Postlethwaite

Before his recent death from cancer the actor Pete Postlethwaite had already written a 100,000 autobiography, to be called A Spectacle of Dust. It is to published for the summer from Weidenfeld & Nicolson. I'm really looking forward to it. I was very struck by the various obits, which were full of the widespread esteem in which he was held, by the oft-quoted idea he held earlier in his life 'working-class people didn't become actors'. It obviously pushed him on. Any person who is working-class or who has grown up in a working-class family (for me one and the same no matter what you later go on to achieve) feels all too keenly these 'obstacles'; that we have no right to be in these domains. In literature this is true to a much greater extent. It is very sad. Often these obstacles come from the people we have grown up with - the fear that someone is 'leaving', or that they are going to do 'well' and so highlight lack of 'achievement' and regret of those others, all of which is usually awkwardly disguised under the 'who d'ya think you are then?' In the typical middle-class cultural domains the prejudice is still there - it is usually much more covert. Things have got better - but there is still outrageous nepotism at the heart of many of these domains. But Pete Postlethwait was authentic and because of that 'special'. The film 'In the name of the Father' is one of the favourite films amongst members of my family, and as Guiseppe he shone. Daniel Day-Lewis is also another favourite actor, who Postlethwaite called 'my brother from another mother'. This is one book I'm really looking forward to.

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