I've just read that the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful writer and director Harold Ramis has died. It's a piece of news that hit me surprisingly hard, most probably because I grew up in the eighties and, in my mind, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day formed the backdrop of very happy times. Every February I watch Groundhog Day in loops. I must have watched it another eight times this month.
It's difficult to crystallise the reasons for my feeling so weirdly displaced by the loss of this creative soul. It's not like I ever knew him personally. Yet, we connect with other beings through their stories and their art in ways that transcend regular relationships. I often think that I have a lot more in common with John Keats, illness notwithstanding, than I have with anyone at all I know. And additionally, of course, there is also another gut response tonight: WHAT THE HELL 69 ISN'T OLD!
I believe that Harold's best work is summed up in the surreal Groundhog Day, in which an insufferable miser gets a taste of himself over and over for eternity. It has comedy, poetry and that ineffable poignancy that touches your soul and never ever gets old. Still, he'll probably always be in our hearts as the genial, unforgettable Egon, and that too is very fine indeed.
With much love to Harold Ramis