So I had a walk. I needed one.
Morning found me sitting in the corner of the spare room once again, under the lights. “Try and look away at the same time,” says the director to me and the actress. We are in separate rooms and our eyeline means we can’t see each other at all. We will never be able to synchronise without being in the same room, which we will be for the shoot when we get the job. It’s one of those things where the skillset I have to demonstrate to get the job is different from the skillset I have to employ once I’ve got the job. The comfort is that all the other actors will have run into the same bollocks I did. But how many are they seeing? These online zoom recalls… My agent says “Oh, some of our clients are going in for third recalls on similar jobs”. So if there’s a neurotic client, the expense of renting the room is no longer a reason to gently suggest they have seen enough actors and let’s just pick one please!
So yeah. Post audition walk in the sunshine. Get all that twattery out of the system. This is just a commercial. It’s money. Be good to get back on the horse though, even if it isn’t the great artistic oeuvre I dream of finding when the world wakes up.
Today was shanks pony and I walked from mine to Westminster on a sharp and crisp morning. The abbey is shut of course. I could look but not touch.
I was thinking of what might be under it – thinking about the fact there used to be a druidic college there. Not many people out and about today though and a disappointing lack of druids teaching me things. I walked up the Aldwych to Trafalgar Square. It’s empty in the square. Some half-hearted cordons and a beleaguered looking private security guard whose job it is to politely request you don’t climb on the lions. I’ve had my fill of lion climbing – just wanted to see the place empty on such a sunny day. But a reminder that no public space is public anymore in this town. I walked down Fleet Street.
Frozen puddles beneath my feet, and everywhere are workmen in hi-vis and hard hats, getting some work done while the buildings are closed. The Temple is shut. You won’t be sneaking into the inns of court. And nowhere is open for a pee. Halfway up Ludgate Hill to St Paul’s, I chose to echo the ancient Londoners on these age long roads, and I found a parked van off the main drag and used its shadow. Not such a frozen puddle. A little bit of me for the stones.
From St Paul’s, across Millennium Bridge and left towards the Tower. Up to Tower Bridge and then back through unfamiliarly empty streets to London Bridge Station. A woman catches me looking longingly into a pub window. Her expression is one of wry shared companionship in mourning.
Back to Tower Bridge and over to The Tower before the long track home. Landmarks and familiar places, but all unfamiliarly empty. Many a time after auditions I’ve had similar walks, but never without the regular stops for a pint by the river or a paella in the yard or a prayer in the cathedral or coffee in the market. By the time I was at Victoria I would have rung somebody and persuaded them to meet me for one in the Shakespeare. Then maybe a stumble home via The Antelope, The Potter, The Surprise and oh it’s closing time.
I still have the same amount of money in my bank account as I did this morning, which wouldn’t normally be the case after a post audition day in London. So there’s a bright side. And it’ll be even brighter if I get the part. Now shut up about it, Al.