I’m at the top of Carnaby Street, just outside Liberty, in a caravan. This month in 1912 the suffragettes smashed the windows of the shop right near my bed. It’s busy here. Very busy. Constant movement and constant talk outside. It’s 23:30pm. Everyone is milling around. It’s cold outside and the walls of this caravan are freezing. It feels as if there are people right by my head. I can hear their questions as if they were addressed to me. “Where are you? Where are you? Where?” says a man into his mobile less than a foot from my head. I have no idea how or if I’m going to sleep, but camping in Carnaby Street will be an experience very few have had. Maybe no sleep will add to it.
What a weird day today. I had loads of people who had the Queen of Hearts in their spread and then it transpired that there was some sort of conference of “social media influencers” nearby. There were some lovely readings for them, but I wouldn’t let them film. It’s worth noting that the only people this week who have told us their business unprompted are these “influencers.” Perhaps because that’s their job. If I was selling something I’d have been all over this. But I don’t carry a Mystic-al card. Because much as I enjoy this madness it’s not my stopping place. It’s just part of my journey.
I am always suspicious of people that tell me that they are influencers. Surely that’s not the point. You influence by your actions, not by your attitude towards yourself. That’s certainly my feeling. A very dear friend of mine used to introduce himself by saying “I’m kind of a big deal.” It was a joke. Since then he’s gathered momentum in his industry. Now he doesn’t do it, because the whole joke was that people who say they’re a big deal aren’t one.
For a while I was in a world of numbers though. “I have X thousand followers,” says a lovely human, unprompted, around the reading. “My job is to make people uncomfortable.”
The strange truth is that I would love to have all these thousands of followers because in this current environment “followers” can lead to work (bums on seats > talent). I love to ply my trade as an actor more than anything, so influence might help me do it more consistently. Anything that helps me to take all that I’ve learnt doing these beautiful human community-bound jobs and put my knowledge out wider – that would be welcome now. I can’t spend the rest of my life reading tarot in a caravan, even if it’s in one of the busiest intersections in this crazy metropolis.
I’ll be using the money from this gig to sort out my headshots, and to take a bit of time over my showreel rather than getting swept up in the constant madness of the next gig, the next change, the next chance.
It’s hard not to get swept up in stories after a week of this. Life is arbitrary. But if you make your life a story you have the illusion of power within it. I think I need to tell myself a story that empowers me, like I’ve done for so many people these last few days.