I’m back in The Headland Hotel. Feels like I’ve never left. This time I chose to drive down. In the morning I pulled myself up off my own sofa and bundled into Bergman. We drove to Paddington Arts Centre. There, concealed in a book, was a key to a room full of musical instruments. Still bleary from morning, I loaded them in starting with the double bass. They really are big old beasts those double basses. I had to move the passenger seat forward, but this is why I’ve got Bergie. He can handle big loads. He just costs too much to fix. Six instruments. They all fitted.
Drop off was in Hackney. Another of Brian’s wonderful shows. Choir of Man. I rolled over there in plenty of time, and stopped at the café appended to the rehearsal space for Eggs Benedict. Then I got in the car, set the route to avoid motorways, and one shotted it from London to Newquay the scenic route. I didn’t stop for coffee, for lunch, for anything. I made some calls and listened to the radio. I went into the driving zone. Concentration and immediacy and response. It’s where I used to go playing all those computer games in my early twenties. Six hours go by in a flash when you’re in that state. My biggest moment of memory was when a trauma specialist on Radio 4 was talking about exactly the zone I was in and how they use it to treat trauma. Our brain new mints traumatic memories for us, she argued. We remember them again and again and each time they hurt as much as they did the first time. So she gets her patients to play Tetris and then when they are deep in it she gets them to remember their traumatic memories. Her argument is that, if you are flooded with the full front brain activity you get from playing Tetris you can’t repackage the clarity of the trauma memory and it means that next time it resurfaces it is lower resolution, less painful…
I enjoyed a good hour or two driving at never more than exactly the maximum speed limit of course, deliberately trying to remember the particular nasty bits of memory that still occasionally cause me to sit bolt upright at 4am swearing. I either traumatised myself unnecessary or helped weaken them. I won’t know for sure until 4am on some cold night to come, and if it has worked I’ll never know.
Then there was the usual noise about Liz Truss and how we are all going to be broke if it’s a cold winter and nobody gives a fuck.
Arriving in Newquay I bought a bottle of wine at Sainsbury’s but then discovered I have been given a bottle of white by the management, waiting in a bucket in my room. Complimentary. Do they read this? Who knows. Either way, bloody marvelous. I’ll have that before I leave. “Welcome home,” says the envelope. “They’ve clearly never seen the state of your home,” remarks dear Lou. But it’s so comfortable here.
This time I’m in an ocean view room in the main hotel. I can hear the sea. The tide is coming in. Closer than at Lou’s, these waves. Roaring in. Crashing out. No weddings here this time.
Tomorrow I’m only saying one line all day and I’m not picked up until 11.50am. This is unheard of. I normally never get to have breakfast here..I’ve booked it at 10.15. “Look at them yoyos, that’s the way you do it.” I’m not playing the guitar on the MTV, but I’m having a very relaxed working day tomorrow and being paid to remember some words and not get confused lost or nervous. Sure, there’s a long crazy lifetime of magpied skill and belief behind that line tomorrow, and it’s part of a character arc I’ve spent time plotting and considering so if I had to I could justify my pay rate for tomorrow. Other days will be busier, and I’ve already worked full working days assimilating and actioning and doing the work. “It’s about the work,” was the mantra of Patsy Rodenberg my incredible voice coach at Guildhall. She’s right. It really is.. And the work does start to pay off, or so I have to believe… I’ve done plenty of skilled work for bollocks all in the past. I’ve learnt my craft. And this… well … it’s bloody lovely. And my agent rang with a very interesting possibility soon… …
Life. Let’s see. Let’s see. Either way I’m back on set.