Sir Noël Coward and Sir Cameron Mackintosh are relaxing on the terrace of Sir Noël’s Jamaican home, ‘Blue Harbour’, where their vision is suffused by the colour blue in all its subtleness and glory, from the deep, rippling blue of the ocean to the stormy grey-blue of the hills opposite and the soft and comfortable blue of the sky.
The view is fantastic, although Cameron is really at home in Scotland, where he finds the timeless beauty and inspiration of the country’s landscape the most precious element. He comments that it’s not always painless getting there. He remembers running out of water on the night sleeper and having to make do with just drinking a 1970 Speyside, even when it came to brushing his teeth!
This evening though, they are looking forward to enjoying a glass of good claret – Sir Noël had suggested Blue Nun to complement the view but Sir Cameron said he drew the line at drinking that – and they are having the most enormous fun.
The two men are discussing the theatre. Sir Cameron believes he can learn a lot from Sir Noël’s experience of the theatre, just as he passes on his own experience from life in the West End. For him, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama is a major creative force in Scotland, as it is discovering and training the lead artists of tomorrow. Although Cameron’s namesake, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, has created many unique masterpieces (and where would the Scottish soul be without Robbie Burns?), his nominations for Scotland’s most outstanding piece of art is the view of the Cuillin Hills on Skye that he gazes at from his home in Loch Nevis (Gaelic for Loch of Heaven!).
‘Slàinte!’ the friends each cup a tasting beaker in his hand, its size and shape perfect for absent-mindedly swilling around the crimson liquid as the conversation develops. The surfaces of the vessels are covered with hundreds upon hundreds of tiny hammer marks, creating thousands of reflections and accentuating the glorious blue that surrounds them.