Not sure why I thought this was so funny, but I did, and I thought some people out there might too. It’s an excerpt from an interview with Bill Nighy (the ageing rocker from ‘Love Actually’) in today’s Times. I’m not just laughing at his misfortune, but I can definitely identify with this, and it just made me smile:
“I used to drink and it was terrible. Now I don’t drink and it is fabulous.” He’s been sober for 12 years, but rather than having beaten addiction, it seems merely to have cascaded down to ever weaker substances. He was once a magnificent smoker: “I would rather have smoked than breathed. You couldn’t smoke more than I smoked.” And he is possible the only person to have quit because of vampirism. Filming ‘Underworld’, in which he plays Viktor, king of the immortals, he had to do a fight scene – “and I am not famous for fighting or indeed any kind of physical work” – and he must have thrown his shoulder out, but what he felt was a shooting pain in his chest. He hasn’t smoked since, but transferred his passion to coffee, downed tanks of the stuff. He quit coffee on January 23 this year: “But, by God, have I drunk some tea…”
I’m fascinated by the (by no means universal) trait in human behaviour to find comfort in addiction – is it just repetition of a simple ritual, or is there something more to it than that?