Are you happy?

I am the happiest person I know, mostly because of where I live. Covent Garden is where you get a lot of poor actors - they may have made big money and spent it, but they are still great characters, great fun to talk to. Around here everybody knows me by name. The children in the school know me, as does every wino in the street. I can't think of an actor, opera singer, conductor, composer I haven't met. I know New York, I know Paris, many other countries. In each one there is a centrepoint for characters. London is that point here. And when I say London, I mean Covent Garden. And when I say Covent Garden, I mean the restaurant Sarastro. People sense the atmosphere here. This place makes me very happy.

Happiness has nothing to do with money. I've made and lost fortunes three or four times in my life. I've been penniless, absolutely penniless, four times. I look back and I'm 100% sure that the happiest days of my life were when I had no money, no responsibility, no worries. A rich man can never have happiness.

One thing I've learned is that if you are fortunate to have a tree near your home, early in the morning, make sure you listen to birds - you can tell what kind of day it's going to be. If it's polluted, the birds don't sing. They're communicating but they're not truly singing. If you hear real singing, you know it's going to be a good day. You know you are on your way to happiness.

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