I thought I had two auditions in two days. “That’s the way of it,” I thought wryly. “Like London buses,” I added to myself. “None for ages and then three show up at once and whichever one you get on stops for half an hour to regulate the service almost immediately, with the heaters blowing full on a hot day, making someone sick all down your front. You try to get out in traffic three foot before an official bus stop to clean up, but the driver literally pretends he is deaf and you don’t exist, and then eventually after half an hour crawling the final three foot he won’t open the door you’re right in front of because it’s an entrance door, so you leak vomit through to the middle of the bus to exit by the middle but he shuts it and guns the engine because you weren’t quick enough and you bing the bell and shout and he shouts back contemptuously in Ancient Greek for not knowing an esoteric piece of knowledge about how buses work whilst three other overheated gangrenous people vomit on your hat and you decide to throw in the towel and collapse finally, defeated and confused as well, since nobody has actually updated the digital next stop information display since it was invented. Which is when the driver randomly opens the middle door in traffic and starts shouting at you that you have to leave or he’ll call British transport police, not because he’s upset with you but because he’s worked out it’ll piss off another passenger, which, outside of moving the bus, is what he’s actually paid his 6 million quid a year to do.

That’s auditions. Yep. Just like buses. Just the same. Yep.

Turns out I didn’t have two auditions in two days anyhow. I had one. And a whole fucking week in between. I arrived a week early for an audition. The opposite of what buses do. It’s not the first time I’ve done that sort of thing either. Won’t be the last. I spend hours sitting in random places just around the corner from where I’ll have to be. I’ve been late for two auditions in my life as far as I recall. One because an old agent’s assistant told me one thirty over the phone and emailed me the 12.30 and I didn’t have the means to check email. “Where are you?” “Driving to the beeb” “You should be there?” “Wtf?” Fucked that CD relationship, to this day. I was “stuck in traffic” apparently, is what the angry CD had been informed, and I’d literally been told to learn a Shakespeare sonnet for camera – “The expense of spirit in a waste of shame.” I learnt it but never got to do because the CD expected me to have read a script I’d never seen and to have learnt a scene from it too. I sight read it atrociously with no context, flustered and filled with rage at my agent’s assistant. That was fourteen years ago! I remember it like it was yesterday. Because it was a powerful relationship for me, scuppered.

The other one you couldn’t make up either. It was just for a commercial, and I was clusterfuck late because of a suddenly closed tube station, then a bomb alert at the station I sprinted to, and then an expensive black cab in traffic to finally arrive just ten minutes late to a casting director immediately talking down to me like I was some spoilt infant, leaving me literally lost for words. “You should always leave extra time! You should know that.” Um… After I’d have literally been over an hour early having a chilled out coffee in Soho if it hadn’t been for another perfect storm, where I’d run myself sick and then spent money I actively couldn’t afford to spend. But you remember these things. Especially because you know that people talk, and that’s their experience of you.

Buses. I made up a funny story about buses at the start of this because I use them lot. People whose job it is to put actors into jobs can fall into the same patterns of dehumanising. I’ve seen some foul hashtags over the years about things actors do in auditions. I guess there are a lot of actors doing a lot of things in their desire to work and if your job involves watching lots of us you can occasionally forget we are also subject to chance, despite frequently looking immaculate when we show up.

Anyway anyway anyway, today someone who isn’t a friend of mine offered me a job, based on things I did in a room while they were watching me. I get in those rooms infrequently enough that this is great news. Hooray etc.

Buses. There are more buses queued up too. This is the beginning of a powerful change for the better.  Bring it. Onwards.



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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