On the bench

It’s been a while since I sat on this bench. The city feels like a different place now. Constant traffic behind me, runners and strollers on the pavement galore, the distant sound of a burglar alarm carried on the thick summer air. Another month or so of this before the autumn closes in, by which time I want to be trying to live elsewhere.

The plane trees look lush, and there are so many more gulls than usual coasting up on the ebbing tide. I hear them shouting in the morning and it – well it reminds me of home. Either fish stocks have replenished a bit, or the statistical likelihood of finding last night’s drunken kebab has dropped. The urban gulls have gone back to the river, echoing the fleets of removal vans I see parked outside all the expensive rental properties. Back to the seaside. “Why the hell am I paying this much to live in London when there’s no work?”

Flying ant day has graduated to flying ant week. Upstairs I’ve got a load of laundry in the machine, a load of washing up still to do, exploded boxes full of insane and random antique gubbins that have marched out onto every surface, and a great big fat ribeye steak sitting in the fridge next to a bowl of Desperate Dan style Bolognese that I cooked at Tristan last night after most of a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – (for the sauce, I told myself).

Cricket matches are back on, and they are testing it with 1000 audience members. No theatres are back yet, and Phantom of the Opera has closed. We will all need a new landmark on Haymarket. But people can get on planes. How long how long how long before we can stand on stages again and meet live audience? It’s another layer. I want a job. Does the casting director know me? Yes. Tick. Can I make the audition? Yes. Tick. Can I nail the audition? Yes. Tick. Am I the right shape / look / feel for the job? Yes. Tick. Is the contract reasonable for everybody? Yes. Tick. Are theatres allowed to open? No. Shit.

Dromgoole did Cherry Orchard with a load of blossom between the stage and the audience. Lizzie Clacher and Simon Stone put Billie Piper and co in a perspex cube for Yerma. It was great. I lucked into a ticket and watched it, and the perspex didn’t bother me. It enhanced it. I guess we can’t go and do all the classics in a perspex cube just for the hell of it though – that was a design decision about life vs expectation and putting people in boxes etc etc. It was unusual and made you think.

But there are ways to get my industry back on its feet without making us all play in boxes.

Surely the film sets are opening up again? Time to make more content. Especially if we think this might happen again in October. Only a few months for the BBC to make the period drama that’ll air on Christmas Day after lunch. I was in the German one last Christmas. I’m free for the UK one this Christmas… Guys?

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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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