Howling wind and rain. Bucketing down. Exhausting. I hit the road in the morning and started to eat up the miles from Chartres through Orleans and Limoges and down towards Toulouse. Turns out the cheap place I booked in Toulouse has no parking and is in some sort of draconian low emission zone. I cancelled it. Too much extra expense and hassle and I can’t leave this full car on the street full of antique furniture – not that there’s a market for this stuff anymore. Nobody’s gonna run off with it, but they might trash it while establishing that.
It was all happening on the road today. I had to concentrate and I didn’t want to as I was trying to learn my lines for a 48 hour turnaround self tape. I had a very bushy beard. It’s a sea captain. I phone my agent, and get the associate. “Sea captains have beards, right?” I say to him. “It’s says an elegant man on the brief,” he responds. He then pantomimes checking he sent me the brief properly in order to highlight that I hadn’t read it. I restrain myself from saying I only skimmed it because I’m spending pretty much every waking hour driving through rainstorms from the wrong side of the car.
Another thing goes on my list. “Find way to remove beard.”
I book a new room for the night in Montauban over morning coffee with the ubiquitous uht milk. I cram lines until lunch which involves a Croque Monsieur and a hasty visit to the hypermarket to buy a clip-on tripod with USB light and a cheap clipper set. They can both come with me to Uruguay and they’ll go in the travel plug place at home so I can find them. Useful to have. I also get a jumper and shirt from the clothes section. I’ve got no suit, but sea captain elegant might be jumper and shirt, and the guy I’m playing is a Frenchman which is interesting energetically considering where I am. I might as well look French.
By the time I get to digs I’m just wrung out though and they’ve double booked and it’s a very talkative granny running it and I honestly am too tired for smalltalk in French but that’s where we’re going and they have another room with a shared bathroom and I haven’t the energy to object or think about price plus I think I’m going to be in conversation all night and they are relieved that I speak French and I’m wishing I had pretended not to until I realise I haven’t packed a wet shave razor and the clippers won’t make me elegant and I have to go to the shop and that’s my excuse.
I go to the shop and then get a cassoulet and a mini baked camembert and a moment to talk to Lou. Then back to lines. I like 3 sleeps to learn. I’ve had one. Back to the hotel and the words are swimming. I grab a mirror off the wall and go put my headlights on and I shave the beard in the driveway in the light of my headlights. For the birds and for the fact that I don’t want to clean the bathroom. Then back in and wetshave the rest. Neaten up the burns. Oh God I’m tired.
I’ve managed to persuade a friend to record the other part on WhatsApp. Hooray! I set up my new mini studio, sit on a desk, and realise that my camera won’t let me play the WhatsApp audio while recording video.
I am too tired for this. I get a bit crazy. Lou helps calm me. I download a bunch of apps to try before I find Open Camera that will let me play WhatsApp audio and film video at the same time and doesn’t seem to be forcing adverts on me or taking my credit card details.
I test the light and check playback sound levels but all the words are swimming in my head by now. They were there at dinner. Now I barely know my own name. I could likely do it if someone shouted “Action”, but I can have another sleep and wake up at arseholes and do it then.
So I’m in bed. Alarm set too early. I’ll sleep after tomorrow… Timing.