As I wander through the sleepy town of Easingwold, I hear some adults getting kids to sing “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” I find myself having a little clap, despite all the times I compromised my childish integrity by mechanically clapping even though I was actually RAGING after that bastard Jocelyn made me drop my lollipop. *clap clap*
I think I’m pretty happy at the moment all said. Not fulfilled. The acting is slow. Not comforted. The love is unusual. But happy? I mean if I look too far inside there’s someone screaming but that’s most of us, isn’t it? And I can unthinkingly clap along, most of the time. *clap clap*
My clap is echoed almost immediately by the heavy clonging of the church bell of St John the Baptist bringing in the evening proper. Six o’clock. Lawnmowers and wood pigeons. The skittering of hunting birds. To my left, the graveyard and … hang on a second are there sheep grazing in the fecking graveyard?
Yes there were. I’m going full bucolic. I woke up in Hackney Wick, but I’ll be laying my head here in God’s own country. Sprite Productions, all those years of summer joy working as an actor in well made plays, and still I’m beckoned back to Yorkshire obliquely because of them. But this time I’m not the actor. I have a great big van full of props and costumes so other people who are not me can practice that vocation. *clap clap* I’ll be loading up with Edinburgh sets ahead of most of the people I know fucking off to Scotland for the month. I’ll be moving sets around in the meantime. I’ll be greasing the wheels of other people’s joy.*clap*
It’s nice to be trusted with this. I’m being paid well and it involves not knowing where I’ll sleep tonight, for instance (sorted) and a few nights in Sheffield coming up (not sorted). And what the hell I’m supposed to do sitting around London with a van and no parking permit? (Workable).
It’ll be fun finding out. And I’m being paid the same as I’d expect for a week of fringe theatre. I’m in that mental place where I’ve turned down some acting gigs for money reasons, “keeping free for better things”, and the better things I’ve kept free for haven’t shown up yet so it’s dayjob or bust and loosely regretting turning them down. Work breeds work etc.
It’s a gamble we have to take. I’m earning money, which I can stuff into the bleeding hole left by everything I’ve cut off so far on this selfish fucking obsessional journey. I’m ticking over nicely, as I stuff more and more notes into the gash to try to staunch the dark fast fatty bleeding.
I recently had a beautiful kind message from someone who read my blog on a bad day. They asked if I wanted a change of scene by doing front of house on some shows I auditioned for, in a lovely place outside London. It would’ve been a beautiful gig. I turned it down. I knew it would twist my guts, watching it every night, applauding at the end. *clap clap*
My job is to play people. While I wait for the world to realign towards allowing me to work visibly I need to earn money. I know my craft deeply so I’m better served doing stuff disconnected from the tights and teeth. And I like seeing new places. So I’ll drive this van safe in the knowledge that before long I’ll get some gloves on and help another me unload a set for a run I’m about to star in, in a show that I really believe in. And while we unload, some of the other guys will lean against a wall smoking and complaining about the colour of the cushions. And that’s the world.
It can change tomorrow though, our world. That’s the myth we have to live by, we dreamers. It’s why we keep selling bits of our heart. *clap clap* “I’m happy and I know it.” “What’s that screaming?” “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”