Depression and biscuits

Tristan is in a show about friendship, love, depression and the human spirit. It’s on until the end of this week at the Tristan Bates, a studio theatre in the West End. Gin for Breakfast. It’s a two hander and it’s great. Stephen Fry is talking on a panel this evening after the show, so all the seats for tonight were sold on the first day. I was in the audience last night, and there were a couple of empty seats. If good studio theatre is your bag, you could fill them!

It’s good casting for Tristan, if not immediately obvious. He’s in a Stockport accent and he hates people that wear cufflinks, whereas in reality he usually wears cufflinks and sounds as posh as I do. But he’s the joker in the pack, and the embodiment of self destructive hedonism, both of which roles he understands well. The collision of Tristan and Stephen Fry in the same small room – that’s two people with a deep understanding and transcendence of self-sabotage. And his co-star, Jess, brings a poise and a deeply mined, complicated and layered humanity. I like watching both of these actors work, as they’re doing it for complicated personal reasons so there’s never any sense of smug about their power. Both of them are less “daddy look at me” and more “sod off and let me work, daddy.” My favourite type of actor.

I lost a lot of time to a depression brought on by grief so now I try to catch and derail it when I sense it rear its head. Despite watching that play, today has been one of those days. I’ve had to constantly remind myself to stay positive. After that threatening red sky day of the hurricane, the rain has blown in. My manager phoned to bring news that the job with the big buyout fell through. My bank is shouting at me. But all of this is about perspective. There’s beauty in a dark rainy night, there’s plenty of joy to be had without getting a ridiculous paycheck, and happiness is where you put it.


I’m catsitting this week. I just walked in for the first time to my friend’s home to find that Meg had pulled a jar of biscuits onto the floor, smashed it, licked the jagged bit to get to the biscuits and eventually, somehow, she’d totally broken the lid off, likely by rolling around with the jar. Then she’d spread biscuits and glass and bits of metal jar fastener all over the floor. She seems totally fine despite this. When I came in she was positioned geographically as far as possible from the evidence, as if to say it was all the fault of some other cat. I hope she didn’t swallow any bits of glass. I’ll have to keep an eye on her closely, as that’s a catsitter’s nightmare.

It’s the perfect antidote though to all these self reflective darknesses and indulgent concerns. Feeling weird about your own crap? Look after something that doesn’t think and licks broken glass to get biscuits.

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Meg and I have a lot in common. We both want biscuits. We both know the biscuits are there. We’re both willing to hurt ourselves to get the biscuits. But sometimes you get the biscuits, sometimes you just eat glass.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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