A year ago today I was in a chapel dressed up like the houses of parliament, listening to Geoffrey Howe resigning and giving a barnstorming speech. Paul Jesson played the part and you could see his years at the coal face in his remarkable day on set. All eyes on him for the whole day of filming. Assured and free in his learning, he gave a performance that was full of work and telegraphed none of it. There was no bullshit, no apology, nothing other than clear professionalism. Every day on set there’s something to admire and even if I first walked onto a set in 2002 I still absolutely love learning from the old hands. More of that please. Damn I love my job.
While I was pretending to be a politician, my phone was going mental all day with actors I’d employed to do ridiculous things for a race show on TV – they were just about to film the first leg of the race in London. They were worrying about things that I couldn’t fix. Some actors need comforting. With Jesson’s approach to his work on display I think I sent some rude text messages to people having little wobbles about timing.
It was fun, last February, filming The Crown on and off and helping organise large scale television shoots full time. They got the TV thing in the can before Covid shut the whole industry down – and The Crown, but they even finished the season. The TV show had to abandon the series after the London leg, so we were lucky to get paid, frankly.
Covid existed in the world at this point but nobody really gave a fuck about it.
My ex army friend Charlie had already posted on Facebook anticipating the emptying of the supermarket by panicking shoppers. He did it more than a month before it happened: “Don’t be a civvie. Buy enough supplies for two months.” I took his advice and filled my cupboards. When I lost my sense of smell and coughed lots early into lockdown, I was glad of his advice as I didn’t have to go anywhere. Although nobody could have anticipated that it would be LOO PAPER that all the panicking shoppers were buying. I still find that astonishing. We really would all be dead in a week if we weren’t carried.
It’s been a long year of very little. I can’t quite believe it. It’s like the time got eaten. Days blip by like dots into Pacman at the moment. And I feel like I’ve got stuck in an old track, because the fucking boiler has packed up again. It’s absurd. D&G charge me £30 a month for insurance, but I don’t think the engineers get properly paid as they’re always bad tempered and rush it when they come in to work. I’ve got one booked for Monday though. It’s the only insurance I pay for and long time readers will know why – Brian and I went a whole winter with just a panel heater and a small kitten for warmth, showering at gyms on trial months and at work. Not again.