The thought occurred last night that chronologically at least Mickey Rourke is almost a contemporary of mine. And when he came to my attention for the first time in 1983, playing the Motorcycle Boy with Brandoesque intensity and intelligence, but with an elegance uniquely Mickey's, I thought I'd seen an actor who'd be a creative touchstone to me for the whole of my life.
Of course, everybody knows what happened to Rourke soon afterwards. The last movie of his I watched was a version of Bukowski's "Barfly" that somehow failed completely to catch the poetry of Bukowski's writing or his vision; and the elegance of the Motorcycle Boy had vanished from Rourke himself. Then there were the newspaper stories, which we needn't revisit here since the parts of it that were true are Rourke's business, and the majority of it was probably invented anyway.
He has returned to prominence now, however, with "The Wrestler". I haven't seen it yet, since I don't go to cinemas and I was waiting for the dvd to come down in price before I bought it. Now it has, and it's sitting on the bench under my tv at home waiting to be watched tonight. And the tag line under the movie title is "Never give up without a fight."
Indeed. We are in the end days, Mickey Rourke and me, when the talk is of Last Chances. Mickey has seized his, by all accounts, and made a movie that will stand forever as a monument to his wayward life and his tremendous gift.
But what have I achieved, in the 25 years since I first watched "Rumble Fish", with my laziness and indecision, with my lack of focus, my lack of mental strength, my wavering self-belief? And how much time do I have left? Thirty years if I'm extremely lucky; but the way things are going, probably a hell of a lot less.
If I don't get serious about these matters, like Mickey Rourke did with "The Wrestler", I'm going to run out of time. I could wind up being remembered, if I'm remembered at all, as the greatest man ever to achieve absolutely nothing.