Walking in Fields of Gold

This page written circa 1 May, 2000.

We are very fortunate that Lynne and Denis send us about 3 hours/week of filtered Australian TV on video. In Australia there are three commercial free-to-air channels and one public one, the former proffering about two hours per week of material I would bother to watch, the latter perhaps double that. Free-to-air barely reaches Santa Rosa, because cable is everywhere, and the fifty or so channels available would be hard pressed to offer two hours of worthwhile program in a good week. In the absence of technology that allows us to watch Australian TV, the tapes are a lifeline.

They are more than that, however. A recent tape concluded with an episode of Parkinson (1999 vintage), that Lynne included saying Billy Connolly "was so funny we're sending it to you anyway". Billy Connolly was funny I guess, but the second guest was Sting, and for about five minutes the two were brought to reflect about some things meaningful, and that was worth all the effort.

Parkinson asks why each of them continues to work; once they worked to make a living, but neither can claim they need to do so any more, yet they both tour on occasion.
Sting: "When I was at my most successful, I was most miserable. I thought success and happiness were the same thing, and they're not. That is a good lesson to learn. Now my happiness comes from my relationships --- with my wife, my kids, my colleagues, my friends."
Connolly: "I recently spent three months in Australia. I love optimism, so I love [touring in] Australia. That's why I live in America. Well California, that's not really America [by the way], not really. For instance, on my way to work recently I saw Jesus coming towards me, cross, thorns, the whole bit, and I was very pleased to see that his cross had a wee wheel, so it didn't, you know... [drag]. And I said to myself `Oh God, I'm glad I live here'!

Connolly moved to the US after his wife Pamela Stephenson (of Not-The-Nine-O'Clock-News fame) won a green card in the green card lottery. Now that is not the usual pathway to living here, but as in a lot of cases the event actually seems to have owed much to his being pissed off by his homeland, rather than from an innate desire to be American.

Sting comments that he wrote "Fields of Gold" for his wife. This song has special meaning for Kay and me, Stephen and Dave played it at our wedding, it said what we wanted to say. He played it in this program. He talks of their Wiltshire home, but he is very connected with the good old US of A.

Altogether, I share a lot of wisdom with these two men. Their fields of gold are as much here as in the UK. That said they have estates in their homelands (Billy as a genuine laird in Scotland). They live divided lives. I had trouble being content dividing my life between Wentworth Falls and Newtown. I ponder the prospect of dividing it between Santa Rosa and Sydney...

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