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SARAH VINE: Take it from me, having a difficult dad can be a gift

Adele’s estranged father, Mark Evans, has died at the age of 57 from bowel cancer.

A one-time alcoholic, he spent the last few years of his life living modestly in Bridgend, Wales — a far cry from his daughter’s stellar existence.

Theirs was a fractious relationship. He never made any bones about his failings, admitting he was a ‘rotten father’.

His behaviour certainly left a lasting mark on Adele, who never seemed to find it in her heart to forgive him.

One never truly knows what goes on in families, and I’m sure Adele has her reasons.

It may be simply that he was too painful a presence in her life for her to cope with, and seeing him or speaking to him was more than she could bear.

Adele’s (pictured) estranged father, Mark Evans, died earlier this week at the age of 57 from bowel cancer

For all that, though, I am sorry for her that he has died at this point in their relationship.

She is still a very young woman — just 33 — and I’m sure, given time, they might have found an understanding, some kind of forgiveness. And I’m sure, too, that it would have brought her great peace.

Why am I so sure? Because for different reasons, I, too, was angry with my father when I was Adele’s age.

I don’t think he would deny that he was a difficult man back then, and he and I had many serious issues, several of which I could never have imagined overcoming.

I won’t go into details: suffice to say he has the ego of Napoleon, the looks of George Best, the morals of Mick Jagger and the liver of Oliver Reed.

Like I said, complicated. And very hard work. There were times when I felt that keeping him in my life was an act of supreme masochism — and so did many of my friends.

Yet for all the frustrations and arguments, there was always a part of me that knew that, behind all the madness, there was a good man struggling to get out. I just had to find a way to get past the ogre.

Now, aged 54 and after two decades of hard work, I can honestly say one of the things I am most grateful for in my life is that he is still alive.

Not just because he’s my father, and I love him very much; but because, had I lost him 20 years ago, I would never have had the chance to work through my resentment and finally make my peace with him, and he with me.

I would have still been that angry young woman, arguably too selfish and too wrapped up in myself to see what was really going on.

I would have missed out on the opportunity to have someone in my life who is not only funny, clever and supremely entertaining; but who is also a key part of my psyche, whether I like it or not.

A one-time alcoholic, Mark (pictured) spent the last few years of his life living modestly in Bridgend, Wales ¿ a far cry from his daughter¿s stellar existence

A one-time alcoholic, Mark (pictured) spent the last few years of his life living modestly in Bridgend, Wales — a far cry from his daughter’s stellar existence

Now that I am older, I see so much better the struggles he faced and the demons he wrestled with; the motives that drove him and the traumas that shaped him.

I’ve learned to be far less judgmental about others’ failings, especially when — as it inevitably turns out — I have so many of my own.

I also understand that, although I resented him hugely when I was younger, I actually owe him a huge debt.

For it was he who gave me that all-important bit of grit in my oyster, the adversity from which I have fashioned whatever success I may claim in life.

As the mother of two children, I know how vital drive and resilience are to a young person’s development. Make it too easy for them, and they will never learn the skills to tackle life.

Of course we all want to shield our children. But adversity, while not a pleasant thing, has its uses.

I wonder how much of Adele’s outstanding determination and ambition has its roots in that awful, dysfunctional relationship with her father?

In his weakness, his inability to cope, his failure to live up to expectations. Like so many of the great singer-songwriters, she writes from a place of pain.

Perhaps that, in the end, is his gift to her. Either way, I’m sad for them both that they never came full circle. 

Why I won’t be pursuing Lily’s silly alter ego?

I really didn’t enjoy The Pursuit Of Love half as much as I’d hoped.

After weeks of unrelenting acronyms in LoD, I was looking forward to something a bit more poetic.

But Dominic West’s performance as the father of Lily James’s character, Linda, was more ham than mustard.

And James herself, while exquisitely beautiful, reminded me of an annoying young aristocrat I once knew who would insist on doing ‘frightfully mad’ things like spreading priceless Persian rugs on the lawn to use as picnic rugs, much to the horror of us plebs.

Then again, perhaps that was the whole point.

Gwyneth Paltrow confessed to drinking seven nights a week during lockdown

Gwyneth Paltrow confessed to drinking seven nights a week during lockdown

At last, a Gwynnie fad that we can all drink to!

I have warmed to Gwyneth Paltrow since she confessed to drinking seven nights a week during lockdown.

Saying she had gone ‘totally off the rails’, she also admitted to eating bread and pasta — arguably much more of a sin in the circles she moves in.

For once, a Goop trend I might actually be able to get on board with.

Outrageous that some students are being threatened with debt collectors 

It’s outrageous that some students are being threatened with debt collectors for failing to pay for their halls of residence during lockdown.

They have lost out on so much of their education — which many took out loans to pay for — and young people have suffered job losses disproportionately.

There has been so much help for other sectors — surely some sort of assistance ought to be made available so more young people don’t end up in a spiral of debt through no real fault of their own?

The Queen receives a a junior respiration award in 1941

Picture of a young Queen brought tears to my eyes

Maybe I’m just feeling a bit weepy after my second AstraZeneca jab (not nearly as bad as the first, thank God) but that picture of the young Queen, only a slip of a thing, standing so proud in her bathing costume, having just won her junior life-saving award, actually brought tears to my eyes.

Eighty years on, and she’s still dedicating her life to duty.

She deserves all the medals. 

I admire Taylor Swift’s professionalism and determination  

Many congratulations to Taylor Swift, who last night became the first female artist to win the Global Icon award at the Brits.

I must confess to having a bit of a girl crush (oh, all right, sad, middle-aged lady crush) on Swift, whose professionalism and determination I admire, as well as her music.

She’s come a long way since Kanye West humiliated her, then aged 19, at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, subsequently calling her a ‘b***h’ in one of his songs.

The music business is a nasty, misogynistic old game.

Swift plays it with grace, style — and apparent sincerity.

No mean feat.

Stop torturing yourself, Harry

Prince Harry is absolutely correct when he says that most people ‘carry some form of unresolved trauma, loss or grief’.

But not everyone chooses to resolve that trauma in public, which is what he has been doing — consciously or unconsciously — since he entered a commercial partnership with Oprah Winfrey.

Prince Harry speaks at Global Citizen VAX Live on May 8. The event included performances from top popstars including Selena Gomez  and big US names such as David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel

Prince Harry speaks at Global Citizen VAX Live on May 8. The event included performances from top popstars including Selena Gomez  and big US names such as David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel

Can’t he see that by airing his grievances like this he is simply perpetuating the cycle?

I’ve always felt for Harry, and for his brother, William, who both suffered a very great tragedy when they lost their mother at such a tender age.

They could not help but be shaped by it.

With Kate, William was lucky enough to marry a woman who has been able, somehow, to help heal that wound.

Meghan, by contrast, seems to have had the opposite effect on Harry.

That may not be her fault: but there is no doubt that Harry is — or at least appears to be — a much more tortured soul than he was before he turned his back on his home and surrendered to the siren call of Hollywood.

Plan by Selfridges to obtain a wedding licence is inspired 

Inspired idea by Selfridges, the London department store, to acquire a wedding licence.

I’m sure there will be plenty of achingly cool influencers just dying to tie the knot among the Manolos and the Gucci.

But getting married isn’t the same as buying a pair of shoes. There isn’t a 14-day returns policy — no questions asked — on spouses.

Just saying.

Shaun Ryder, former Happy Mondays frontman, claims years of drug abuse have nothing to do with his ill-health

Shaun Ryder, former Happy Mondays frontman, claims years of drug abuse have nothing to do with his ill-health

Sounds like Shaun is in denial about drugs

Shaun Ryder, former Happy Mondays frontman, claims years of drug abuse have nothing to do with his ill-health.

Ryder, 58, was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and also suffers from alopecia and an underactive thyroid, among other ailments.

‘I was a heroin addict for 20-odd years, but there’s been no damage off that,’ he says, adding: ‘I’ve never had anything wrong with me until I was 53.’

I think that’s what’s known in the business as denial.

Can’t we go back to passport stamps for those without smart phones? 

One of the main problems with the Government’s vaccine passport scheme is that not everyone has access to the technology.

But everyone does have access to a real passport which, last time I looked, is a requirement for those wishing to travel abroad.

Could those without smartphones not just get an old-fashioned stamp on their passports, like we used to in the olden days? Or is that mad?


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