Tristan and I have grown used to helping each other with self-taped auditions. Quid Pro Quo. We’ve done some strange things to camera over the years with each other, and today was no exception.
Knowing that I was going to be dancing in my pants in front of him in the afternoon, we thought it best to have a morning stroll first. We hit up Bishop’s Park in Putney. It’s a strip of land running up the side of the Thames from Putney Bridge. The winter sun hits it well.
It’s a good place to soak up vitamin E while watching better men than I am sculling down the rotting Thames, biceps glinting as they thrust that little bit harder. I’ve been going there for years – I had a day job selling fine leather sofas just opposite, and this time of year was when they were likely to need me. I’d go there before work and snatch a moment of morning before sitting in a dark room full of leather for hours.
There’s a little market in the middle where fools like me can be duped into buying sausages and steaks and pots of expensive honey made out of sunlight by artisan hipster bees with beards. I’m a sucker for good honey. But there was work to be done.
We tore ourselves out of the park and headed back inside, rearranged the sofas and made a reasonable temporary home-studio lit by the sun.
Three years at drama school. Fifteen years honing my craft. It’s all been leading to this. Lip-syncing to a terrible love song in nothing but a pair of bright red pants. It’s being sent to Germany. I’m reliably informed that that sort of thing is funny in Germany.
The brief was acting 101. “Don’t play comedy – the situation is funny enough.” I’m surprised that these are still pretty much the only castings I get – commercials that are throwing a wide net. It’s a funny thing – I’m still as determined as I was when I left Guildhall, despite all these years of not having the opportunity to fuck up the audition. But that’s me and so many other practitioners. There’s something delightful about getting a friend to film you dancing in your pants and calling it work. And on that basis I’m working pretty often, which could be enough.
We got it all done for the 4pm deadline, and then I noticed the dates. Fuck. I’m already committed. Tristan and I spent bloody ages, I was prancing around in my pants, and I can’t even do the shoot dates. That footage can never be deleted. When I’m 64 and I’m playing the deadly serious part that somehow captures the public imagination, Tristan can just casually put a video of me dancing in my pants up on YouTube if I don’t invite him to the premier. I knew I shouldn’t have let him shoot it on his phone. I just, foolishly, trusted that the dates would work.
Driving home, my car died. Karma. It was only a matter of time. I managed to push it into a parking bay in my borough. It can sit there until I scrap it. Damn. Still, that’s a monthly expense that I no longer have to meet. My insurance is huge because I NEVER have a car for a whole year, so my no claims remains at 3 years despite 20 years driving. Pants!
At least I’ve got some honey.