Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Love is All Around: Let Me Count the Ways – Part Four

by |February 8, 2010

There is a moment in the film Love Actually when the old rocker, Billy Mack, played by Bill Nighy, realises that the greatest love of his life is his manager, Joe. And he tells him so.

This is a surprising admission, it surprises Joe, but it is also a wonderfully perceptive admission, because Billy Mack, peering through a cloud of silly prejudice and customary social expectations, has discovered the truth – Joe is the love of his life.

Finding the truth is something very few of us do.

What is more surprising is that, try as hard as I might, I cannot recall an occasion like it in any of the books I have read.

We know so many occasions when it might have happened – think of Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings. There was ample opportunity for these two friends to realise the true nature of their relationship and express it as completely as Billy Mack. Each is more important to the other than anyone else is or could be.

Think of the many missed opportunities – Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, Herbert Pocket and Pip, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Asterix & Obelix, Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, Noddy and Big Ears…

Love is all around us but because we are so intent on finding love, we sometimes don’t see it.

This Valentine’s Day might just be the day when you open your eyes and see that George Clooney, or that Victoria’s Secret model you’ve set your sights upon, is not and never will be your true love.

And instead, you come to accept the fact that your smelly flatmate or your ethically challenged business partner, or your boorish best friend or your garage band’s tone deaf lead singer is, in truth, your true love and deserves to know exactly how you feel.

True Love: it’s never where you think it is.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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