I was in Oxford Circus, just about to cross the road with a friend, when a little silent accident took place alongside me. A woman stepped in front of a cycle. The cyclist knocked her over. Almost immediately a small group of people were around her. She was in shock and in pain. One bystander immediately generalised with “Too many bloody cyclists,” to which the cyclist responded “Too many bloody pedestrians not looking where they’re going.” It’s funny how quickly we go towards blame. Like a dog that smashed a bottle. “It wasn’t me, it was the bottle.” To his credit he probably would’ve needed to go under a bus himself to avoid her, and he stayed with her, on the phone for an ambulance, wanting her to be okay. I went and got a bottle of water for her because there were almost immediately some very capable women making sure she wasn’t panicking. I felt that it was better coming from them than from me but water was something I figured I’d want if I’d just been knocked over by a bike and Boots was just there so that was my attempt to help.


Thank God it was only a bike. I don’t think she was badly injured. Just indignant and shocked, and maybe a sprained ankle. A bus would’ve been a very different outcome. Over 60 pedestrians have been killed on the roads already this year in London – pedestrians always account for more than 50% of road deaths, and I bet December is a bad month for it. It’s dark and wet, and there are more drunk drivers, and more drunk people on the streets. Even sober, Oxford Street is so rammerjammed with people it’s almost automatic to spill out onto the road like she did, and then it doesn’t take much speed to get under something’s wheel. Drive carefully. Walk carefully…

I was with an old friend – Catherine. She and I had gone into a casting together for insurance. Nice to go in with someone you know. We enjoyed it and were a bit silly, and told them we knew each other. Sometimes these things can help. I’m always glad to have fun in a commercial casting, because they can feel like cattle markets. But my enjoyment or lack of it has no bearing on the result. Either you get a little bit of work worth a great deal of money, or you don’t – but thinking about it won’t change the result. Ironic to witness an accident so soon after coming in for an insurance company talking about no claim discounts.

Good to be back on the audition train. This commercial shoots in January. It reminds me how short the run of Carol actually is, even if it’s almost all consuming when it’s on. Another full house, with a group of 25 on an office party. They arrived drunk. Jack and I went in slugging and neither of us went under the bus. I ran into an old friend from uni, and we had Charlotte Bennett in, who assisted the director on the job where I met Jack Whitam. At the time I could never have anticipated the depth we would find in a working partnership. Here’s to another ten years…

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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