I began listening to my grandmother properly — and with a tape-recorder — twenty years ago, when she was already in her late 70s (she died when she was about 97). I loved listening to her: her use of language was so musical, and apt, and vivid. She would have recognised Chaucer, I sometimes thought, her speech had a similar earthiness, a poetic, sophisticated seeming-simplicity that arose partly from character, partly from the rich and very old religious and social background in which everyone around her shared. And partly because she did not learn to read until she was in her 60s, and everything was from memory – stories and jokes and dreams told and retold, in an oral culture that prized the ability to do this in the most skilful way possible.
Diane Keaton’s career has spanned almost 50 years. She started off on stage where she was nominated for a Tony Award, before progressing onto the big screen with her 1970 film debut Lovers and Other Strangers and continues through to the present day. It includes a huge range of titles and genres from the epic crime films of The Godfather trilogy, comedy such as The First Wives Club and the cult classic, Annie Hall which first propelled her into the mainstream.