Sunset found me on the beach at Shoreham. It’s a little way down the coast from Brighton. Far enough away to be free of the unbelievable crowds who are frolicking in one another’s ooze as the theatres are still shut across the country with no clear plan of strategy to get them open again because singing is so dangerous.
I am beginning to crave the chance to be on stage again. I can likely say along with a high percentage of theatre actors that this period still wouldn’t come close to my longest patch out of stage work. That’s partly thanks to Creation being so effortlessly resourceful and partly down to many years in the wilderness after mum’s death fucked my relationship with my first agency. But that’s all under the bridge. I’m standing on a diving board. I just need the pool to start filling again.
Meanwhile I’m going to continue to safely visit the people that matter to me, and go and lie on the beach in the sunset. We weren’t alone on that beach, oh no. The local teenagers were out in droves experimenting with substances.
“Charlie, how’s the weed?” “It’s good man!” And the wafts that were blowing our way from their group certainly smelt good. Apart from the constant hiss of balloons and the knowledge that they’ll probably leave all the canisters on the beach, it still continues to be a bittersweet joy that so many people will remember this summer of lockdown as a summer where they got out in nature as there was nothing else happening. There were those months in the house totally alone and freaking out, followed by the weeks of mixed messages, but now it seems that everybody has come out – for better or for worse. It’s the same in the parks in town, on the Heath… It was the same by the river in York and on the lawns of Ripley Village as I drove through in my van.
I’ve been out loads too, strolling around in the sun, soaking it up, listening and looking and liking. My arms and legs caught too much sun and not enough moisturiser so any attempt at a tan rolled off under the loofah just now and I’ll have to be more careful despite my olive skin or I’ll end up giving unwanted regretful advice to young’uns about the necessity of using sunscreen. It’s not even that I don’t like using it. It’s just that I’m mostly too fucking immediate and I don’t think about the stuff until my legs and arms decide to shed their skin.
I can tell myself I’m like Hex, shedding his skin. This sunburn peeling – it feels like I’m in transition, throwing off an old skin after my time with the skinner and putting on a better one. One with a bit more room in it, sexier, brighter and cleaner, as I dump old habits and think about what to start doing instead.
Which right now involves the washing up. Best go do that then…