Big small screen

Brian came home with a gargantuan television the other day. It’s a remarkable thing. Suddenly it’s like there’s a cinema in the house. We haven’t successfully rigged the sound to it but that’ll come. But meantime it’s important to remember that despite the tremendous black-hole suction power of this gargantuan “idiot’s lantern”, there is still a real world out there, accessible to us, that we can affect. Screens can slurp us in.

Sometimes I worry that I don’t watch enough telly, believe it or not. I feel it should be part of my job. Even when I was at Guildhall, I found Monday morning awkward. Everyone was talking actively before class about people they’d seen in talent shows or fashionable dramas on the box over the weekend. I would always sit silently, waiting for the class to begin, feeling like I both had missed out and that I really really hadn’t. I’d gone somewhere or seen something. I hadn’t thought to put the telly on.

I haven’t worked much small screen since those Guildhall days. I’ve worked big screen and theatre. The small screen has just eluded me, even in terms of meetings. I watch my friends, if I’m tuning in at all. I’ve watched plenty of Doctors over the years – more than my young professional demographic might suggest – checking out Ben and Simon and Tristan and Jack and Joanna and Alex and more and more and more – the endless line of friends sodding off to Brum to do random stuff with the beeb for a day or two or a year or two and complaining it’s not as well paid as it was but doing something delightful and random on screen for the pleasure of the aged. I watched some Holby, some Father Brown, also because friends were involved. I’ve frequently helped friends with auditions and then watched them smash the part. It’s all delightful and wonderfully random but somehow it’s still closed to me. I’d love to get involved. I have old mates going great guns now in BBC Comedy. Downton I often just thought that all I needed was the meeting. So much stuff being made. So many “posh” people needed. So much period drama. I can’t remember who told me, in my third year at drama school “You’re too dark for how you sound.” Maybe it was that. Or maybe my desire to dissociate myself from my upbringing in the early days. More likely the sheer arbitrary nature of chance. Who fucking cares? I’m here now. I want to work. I care about my work. And I’m good at it. Bring it.

I’ve always preferred to generate more than I consume. It’s part of the reason this bloggish outlet works for me. I can put it out there and then guiltlessly listen to some guy on YouTube with a strangled voice telling me about computer games. But yeah, I reckon it’s time to do some telly, and catch up with myself on that. Nowadays with streaming services, television head as the budget to tell some epic stories. And the constant pressure of a soap? Well, I pull this out of my ass every day and despite the occasional ranty pile of poo on the whole I’m not ashamed.

Let’s see what this year brings. I had a lovely evening with Flavia. We put Planet Earth on the behemoth and marvelled at the big world. Here she is. Dwarfed by nature. Dwarfed by tech.



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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