Environment rant

We were trying to work out what I was doing this time last year, as we couldn’t work out why we didn’t spend New Year together, Lou and I. The answer came through a check of the blog, and is an answer to so many of the “what the hell happened?” type questions we are all globally running up against. I was half insane with COVID, locked in my own home so I didn’t kill your great grandma.

I’m glad that this New Year we get to hang out and I don’t have a temperature. That miserable microbe has caused such a huge amount of upset. It’s ruined some brilliant businesses, it’s given lots of politicians something to blame for their greed and the damage it has done, it’s burnt social skills and short-circuited kindnesses, it’s killed some people too. New things have come out of it, of course. A hotbed of pattern matching and cognitive bias leading to wobbly crowdsourced worldviews going global via the internet despite being condensed smug whipped up in horseshit. Huge great big global business selling things that didn’t exist three years ago. People meeting who never would have met. Lou and I to name but two. Yay. Individually plastic wrapped wooden stirrers at Costa Coffee – (“yeah hi we don’t use plastic spoons here at Costa. Each of our wooden stirrers are tightly wrapped for your hygiene in basically oil. Cos we don’t really care and we’ve got a contract with these guys or whatever, fuck you.”) Boo to them. But have you noticed the plastic since COVID?

Before this pandemic, you might have your cafĂ© picketed by angry people if you had plastic drinking straws – the same angry people that tutted loudly at you for not putting the same plastic over your mouth during the pandemic. And then everyone drops those masks everywhere. There’ll be a layer of the fucking things in the fossil record. And not to be glib for a moment, I’m serious… We were trying to cut down on single use plastic. It was a big thing, and then masks and COVID tests and all that shit is worse. The packaging of COVID tests, with it all individually plastic wrapped while the shops are trying to put the sprouts back into paper bags. It’s like a leaking dam. We plug one hole and three more start spouting.

Mindfulness. Remember talking about that? If it’s a shared bin it doesn’t matter about the twenty people who have carefully only put washed recycling into it when you stop thinking for a moment and chuck your half eaten sandwich in there. A contaminated bag is almost certainly going entirely to landfill so it’s not just your sandwich here, it’s the jamjar that Jackie washed out after breakfast. It’s Andrew’s carefully scraped pizza box. It’s a big ask for everybody to be thoughtful all at once. But here we are again, it’s gonna be the hottest year on record. And yeah your mate who has no critical thinking and believes it’s a binary between their received programming and the “mainstream” will still try to try you that there’s no climate change. You can’t fight stupid, but it’s Pascal’s Wager here now. We might as well make small changes even if we think we are the clever kid and those sheeple just need to wake up or whatever the club language is. A bit of sacrifice will help you get over yourself clubkid. And the rest of us too . Come on. Think for a split second before you bin that sandwich or boil too much water for your tea or whatever. It doesn’t hurt you to make tiny adjustments. And remember lots of small things are cumulative? They’ll have to be. Nothing is going to be easier from here and it’s all because we are still being encouraged to want all the things now and expect them too. All the fruit and veg all year round from everywhere in the world but available in all the shops in all the villages in Sussex please, even if only half of it gets bought. Because if we can’t have it all WE ARE SACRIFICING OUR FREEDOM. Oh piss off.

I wanted to go to the sauna on the beach this morning. Burning shit forever to put carbon into the atmosphere in order to make a horsebox warm so two people can sit half naked on a cold day and sweat. But I wanted it. And I’m not counting the cost. I can have a slightly defocused environment rant like this and I ate fish this evening plus Samphire in January and on Christmas we had all the animal and half of it ended up in the bin. Double standards are totally legit. We all have them. Know them, own them, try to be better. Perfection-hounds are alienators. I probably had some palm oil this week and wasn’t even aware of it, but at least I’m aware that I probably wasn’t aware of the palm oil intake cos that ingredient is burning the rainforests. I’m very far from a saint and I’m not trying to be a saint nor am I asking you to be. I’m just trying to be a bit less unaware, and suggesting it might be an interesting focus for us all – and a necessary one as the world we know dies because of us.

The sauna was shut because of extreme weather. One of the problems was temporarily stopped because of the result of the problem… Extreme weather is gonna be just weather soon, just as COVID is gonna be another flu.

The comfort to take is that the world is NOT dying. We are just causing a mass extinction that will probably snowball into taking us with it. Probably for the best. Nature will continue, readapt, and something will carry on again and again until the inevitable heat death of the universe which is the unstoppable punctuation before the next universe and the next. Intelligent life though? I think it’s becoming apparent that in the grand scheme of things it has no evolutionary advantage. Next up the cockroaches. They’ll likely be kinder than we are. And maybe some pockets of humans will adapt to live all that time in some way. Maybe that’s the purpose of the internet, to catalyse an evolutionary shift away from intelligence and back to ape.

Cold wind over the sea. Bright winter sun falling. Weather. It’s good to be alive.

Back up to windy Chanctonbury Ring

Looking at the weather forecast, today is gonna be the only day left this year with no rain down this neck of the woods. We decided to take the opportunity to head up the hill to Chanctonbury Ring. It’s an old Bronze Age hill fort and place of power. First time I went I knew it was strong. It’s a good walk as well. “Problem is this cold wind, and the fact it’s a big flat hilltop,” I worried as we were getting coats on.

It was absolutely freezing up there in the wind. Absolutely freezing. Legend has it that if you run seven times anticlockwise around the ring then The Devil shows up and offers you a bowl of soup in exchange for your soul. Any bargain with the devil is gonna be a bad bargain but he hasn’t even bothered to show up with that one. He’s relying on you being so cold after the run that you grab the soup without listening to the price. Asshole. Nevertheless all the Crowley set liked the ring and named it in their lists of places where magic things can happen – more interesting things magic things than bad-eternity-soup.

We didn’t have any ritual purpose going up there today. We just joined the crowds of hikers and bikers. There’s a slick clay path up from the little car park, and it is well trodden by small families, dogs and people who had too much for lunch. It’s not a specialist hike. It’s more of a “oh dad do we really have to go up there again” type hike. There are plenty of little pet graves so dad can reply “Don’t you want to visit Rufus?”

There are often cattle wandering around, but this wind was mostly causing everything to hide but for two deer which bolted in front of us near the summit. They came from right to left of us, leaping high and clear of the path and then higher still to clear the fence and bound freely into the land beyond. Dark and low and compact, at first glance I thought they might be German Shepherd dogs. Then the shock of their deer-shape, ears back, forward thrusting. I have never seen such creatures jump like that so very close to me, mere feet away and suddenly effortlessly soaring a parabola over the fence.

Then through sharp greens and blues, bright winter light, wind so hard and determined it left one half of me numb. The beech trees are young and all of them are bowing to it. Winter is upon the world and sure there is beauty to it if we go and find it.

This was late morning to early afternoon and already the sun is falling. We really are at the darkest point, but it’s coming back by inches. Every day is just that little increment longer. I’ll be back in London before so long and missing this freezing beauty of nature. A happy day taking advantage of the lack of rain. Tomorrow we are likely to hibernate.

Warmth returning

Lou went and secretly bought an electric blanket and mattress topper online. “Shall I leave it on 1 while we sleep? It’s gonna be a windy night.”

My evangelism about the wonderful world of bed has clearly had an effect on her. It’s toasty. I approve wholeheartedly and can only encourage you to do the same if, like me, you hate the cold.

I’m feeling rounder. Less shifted. More solid. I choose to do a stupid job for a living and I’m good at it. My industry is often cruel and arbitrary for all but a very small selection of people. Over the years my skin has thickened but even a rhinoceros has its creases. I took a little punch and it opened some old wounds.

Good to be safely out of London, down here by the sea with Lou and warmth and the sound of the sea. It might not rain tomorrow so it could be a good day to go yomping through nature and to blow the cobwebs away completely. A new year coming, the light slowly returning now. Who knows what things will come. This year has been really varied, really full. I’ve felt valuable both in my acting and in my dayjobbing. We all have wobbles though, and I guess the nature of ambition is that you always look to what you still haven’t found. I’m ambitious to work, the more profile I’ve got the more interesting places I get to do my thing and interesting people I get to do it with so… knocks like that can be a blindside. At least I’ve found a good bundle of friendly kind people who have fought their own version of the old struggle alongside me and are all in their own way very capable of showing kindness, wisdom and support when the need is felt.

Now the calm of the waves, and all the cats of Brighton. Lou is looking after two tiny little cats again in another cat palace just near her home. Then she has another one living in her flat that needs medication twice a day. This is why she wasn’t in town for Christmas, and can only make flying visits. But I’m here for a good run this time. A few nights on the trot. Enough time to shake off all the noise and the SADS and to eat healthy food and not get drunk for long enough that my liver might partially regenerate.

I feel calm and sanguine once more. Still a bit pissed off. But fuck it, last summer I got about two grand for doing a day’s work and a bunch of COVID tests. If only it was about the money…


Oh fuck it. I’m sad. Yeah so great it’s Christmas and all that fuckery. So yeah that’s part of it. But…

I’ve given so many years to hope. I’ve given go much possiblity over to hope. I finally get something good and then… And then it dies and it might as well never have been. Honestly what the fuck have I sacrificed so much for? I’m so fucking tired of having to prove myself when I don’t need to but I’m not known by the right humans. And the damage of the sacrifice? Oh God I couldn’t even countenance it. It’s too late for any other options and then again again again. Why the hell am I still holding out hope? What the fuck is wrong with me? I’m in an absolute bastard of an industry and it’s just done and done and done. Surely I can find my way out? But i won’t. I won’t. I’m lost. It’s this or nothing. And nothing is looking better and better.


I’m tired and sad and angry. What the fuck am I doing? I’m just… I’m out. I don’t know how to be safe towards myself anymore.

Yeah maybe I could do events forever and forget my entire purpose. Maybe i could just lose myself in noise again. Maybe I could just fall out of the world. Fuck it. I’m halfway there. Whatever.

I left Guildhall in 2002. I’ve kept an oar in the acting industry since then. I was in Bright Young Things, and put down loads of lost scenes with McaVoy before the feeding frenzy and Stephen Fry was kind enough to warn me before the screening that the bulk of that work had been cut by the producers. “The producers”. Somehow I’m always not box office. I was flown out to Thailand to film with Besson in 2013, and was part of a flashback sequence for The Lady alongside Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis. The CGI needed to make them younger meant that the whole flashback sequence went and my work was cut again. And now, once more, with Disney… I could’ve gone to the Atacama Desert. I stayed here instead, I did just a day. I hoped it might have been a helpful credit. My work was good. Aaargh. Cut again.

So yeah I’ll still be doing the thing I do, hoping… I’ll still be believing in the face of the void. I must be insane? What the fuck is wrong with me? What the fuck is wrong with anyone doing this job? This is the worst fucking job in the world. You have to destroy everything, nobody treats you like you have any free will, and then the hope you have for change turns into empty noise.

It’ll all be better after a night of sleep. Hopefully.

Quiet day after Christmas

A quiet day. Happy to have one. No obligations, nothing to build. A guest on the sofa, but that was it. I woke up with a start at half past twelve when Lou rang.

Up to the Kings Road and a lunchtime Guinness in The Chelsea Potter and by the time I was back at the flat I was already pretty much spent, but I had stuff to do.

Tidying. There’s so much uneaten cheese. I gave Sarah all the remaining potatoes and much of the turkey. I tried to eat all the things I could eat, and tomorrow I’ll eat more. But it feels like the Christmas wasted food mountain will not be too high. I’m here another day now. I’m really nervous about rain in the flat, but the management guys are out of office until the third of January so I feel like I’ll be mostly throwing my care after emptiness if I stay here and wait for something to change.

Today I’m not making myself think about anything too much though. I’m gearing up for a relaxing few days and I’ll get to spend some proper time with Lou soon.

Picture-noise while I was clearing up was The Traitors, simply because Twitter wouldn’t stop serving me information about it. It’s a reality TV version of Werewolf (out of mafia) a game that immersive theatre humans have been playing drunk for decades. It’s nice to see it episodic and borne out large. It’s a wonderful horrible game about paranoia and manipulation. There are strategies within strategies and it’s very very deep and very very human. Watching it is giving me flashbacks to being young and thrusting at BAC.

I’m sleepy now though. Gonna turn in. Happy to have nothing to think about for at least a week.

Christmas zzzz

All that work tidying and the flat is trashed. I’ll be off to Brighton first thing on the 27th so I’m glad that some people made off with bags of potatoes but seriously if anyone needs turkey or cheese I’ve got it (not likely at this time of year). Brian and I have streamlined the shop but we haven’t perfected it yet. Sarah brought a home made trifle and it totally supplanted all the cheeses. I barely even touched the Vacherin. Maybe tomorrow I will be organised and make a stock and then a soup and freeze it. I have actually managed that in previous years, but I’m not sure I will this time.

A number of delightful guests spanning a wide age range. Turkey and ham and potatoes and two different types of sprouts and parsnips and carrots and then we all ended up playing charades and then it rained and I panicked cos it was coming into my bedroom again and that kinda put a damper on it and next thing I knew the Santa wagon via Natnat was forging through the late night streets taking the bulk of the Christmas guests back to their respective dwellings leaving just me and one other in a darkened house suddenly quiet once more.

Brian spent the day chained to the oven and worked wonders while I fannied about gathering guests and making sure people didn’t entrench into egregious opinions after a few glasses of prosecco. There was even a delightful dress-up moment where everyone started trying on the frock coats.

Now it’s strangely quiet, as it often is after an event. All the hustle and bustle, all the people talking and music. All the things that needed attention like gravy and humans and tables and blinis, and suddenly a void again. Just like it always is but with Christmas lights, food everywhere, and Sarah watching the telly. She’s on the sofa tonight. I’m in my bed. That’s a rarity as usually someone has crashed in my bed by now.

A good Christmas. Not as drunk or as late as many, although I did just get instructed to put ANOTHER bottle of white wine in the freezer. I’m winding down though. I’ve vacuum pumped the open red wine. My legs are in the bath, and as soon as this sentence is finished the rest of me is going in. Christmas. Ahhhh.

Pirate themed Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas everyone. My warm flat is more or less ready, and I’m in post bath torpor winding gently towards snooze. I thought about going to midnight mass at Chelsea Old Church, but I’m not gonna be up that late. Bedtime is earlier for me at the moment while it’s dark. I wouldn’t want to snore in church. And anyway, the last time I went the vicar just berated us all for being tourists. We were all tipsy anyway.

Nothing will start early tomorrow. I doubt we’ll eat the main meal until like half six so the day will mostly be about the little snacky things. The fridge is packed to the gills.

It was nice to have Brian here. Felt like old times. We had good years in this place together. We are good at winding down together. Today was very pirate themed. We watched Hook and then we sailed the seven seas as a pirate crew in Sea of Thieves together and had a rarely successful voyage, mostly as a result of collaborating with someone. I sunk a galleon and then someone attacked our friends boat so Brian filled them full of holes while I swam over to their boat and stabbed them in the back while they were trying to repair the damage. Foul deeds on the high seas. They sunk and we sold all their stuff. Then, much to the consternation of our new ally who appeared to want to go on to more adventures, we set fire to our own boat, scuttled it and quit the game. Much to do in the morning. Can’t be playing games all night.

While we watched Hook we peeled two big bags of potatoes. The flat is serviceable, even if the little room that used to be mine has become a repository for crap. The living room is mostly clear although there’s still plenty you could break if you were committed about being drunk in it. There are some Christmas elves coming tomorrow who have past form in such behaviours. But there’s something reassuringly familiar about this. We did this lots. We have consistent threads running through it. The shopping was a little more streamlined than it has been some years. We still ended up with pre-cooked quail’s eggs and caviar and all sorts of things we might have been better off avoiding, but the quantities are better than they have been previously. Hopefully it’ll all get eaten but nobody will be hungry. That’s the dream. Or thirsty. Five bottles of prosecco between ten of us, one of whom is teetotal? Plus some beer and a box of red wine… Some years I’ve bought a bottle of gin and whisky and they’ve both been empty at the end. It didn’t feel necessary this time… I don’t think anyone is going to be drinking too oblivion. But it’s unlikely my blog will make much sense unless I’m clever and write it early.

Lovely to be back able to do this though. A two year hiatus what with Jersey and Lockdown. Christmassy Christmas! Hooray. And now a happy sleep with my electric blankie. Enjoy your celebration wherever you are. Pop in if you’re local. Xx


And I woke up this morning to a little damp spray on my face. “Must’ve been a dream,” I thought as I take a drink of water from the cup on my bedside table. Tastes odd, I think. I roll over. *Ploink* The sound of water landing in a glass…

And I’m awake and the light is on and yep, it’s not even raining heavily but it’s coming into my bedroom again. This hasn’t happened for a year or more but they’ve just had very expensive scaffolding up the block and I was assured again and again that they’d solve it and they haven’t. It’s always come in a little bit, in heavy rain. Usually just to my bathroom though but whatever they’ve done has moved it. I’m not happy. Tristan Jethro and I made that room into a safe haven. A little oasis of not much stuff in the flat of stuff. Clean paint, new plaster replacing the old flooded wall. Now it’s all staining and buckling again and I’m not happy about it.

Interesting timing though. The cracks in the room of bed occurring just as I’m making good progress sorting out the rest of the place. Tristan came over for a rushed hour this morning and I had prepared for him. Together we slung a great deal of the things that could be slung up into the attic. The difference now is I know what’s there. There are sections for things like the Christmas Carol costume spares and even my Halloween Walk kit. I have enough to deal with here and I can take the rest down when Mel and I make that show about giving the audience STUFF. Much is sorted.

It feels lighter in here already and there’s more room. Books are the problem now. Just too many and they’re heavy. But the flat feels a lot more like a place to live in than it did. A few more committed days like the two I’ve just had and it’ll start to really show.

But damn, that drip. I sent loads of strongly worded emails and got the auto reply saying there’s nobody there until the third of January. Impeccable timing as always…

Christmas first. Just hopefully it won’t rain loads…


It feels like progress. I need some help now as there are tons of bags queued up to go into the attic. I know what’s in them this time though which makes a change, and there’s lots earmarked for the charity shop and more in the bin. Still too much furniture and right now with it all sorted but not put away it feels like absolute carnage in here. But progress. The thing I always forget until I do it is that it can be quite fun and quite satisfying, sorting through things with the benefit of distance and making decisions. There are still plenty of things that I should probably chuck but I haven’t. There are still loads of objects that have no place to be. My eBay pile in the bedroom is far too high and none of it is listed. There’s so much costume, so many weird things, so many beautiful coats and useful random hats. I would need a day like this every day for a month to really make sense of this, but I just keep getting swept up in the dayjob parade instead, or emergency recovery. Still, a day. A much needed day, making some sense of the objects that encroach on my daily living space.

Books are a problem. I hate throwing away books, but I would have to have shelves all round my flat to fit them all. They’re heavy to take up to the attic and the dust up there isn’t good for them. I need to work out what to do with the books.

Then all the photos. Negatives and snaps taken by people no longer with us of people no longer with us. Moments in time that were once full and have now faded. Everything so fleeting and these little pictures to remember them by in places I never went to. But so many of them. Boxes of them. Slides and no projector. Our photo stuff just stays on our phone and occasionally goes on the socials but usually just sits in megabytes and will sit there forever but it won’t be pulling on us. These photos – burning them would feel ruthless. Sorting them would take weeks. Putting them in a box and leaving them forever seems to be the logical action… Maybe one day etc.

Letters? Yeah they just go back in the box. Knick-knacks? I’ve binned a fair amount and I won’t miss them. Clothes have gone to the charity pile in large quantities. I can give Christmas people stupid presents.

Still so much to remove though. So much. How did I accumulate so much? Incrementally, up in the lift, box after box and even though I’ve got rid of so much there’s still so much more to get rid of.

I’m knackered now for the day. A glass of wine, a bath, an early bed. More tomorrow and then I’ll see the shape of it. Maybe I’ll put some Christmas decorations up this time tomorrow…

Turkey and cheese

At lunchtime, a quick jaunt to The Kings Road. So many cars. So many pedestrians. Was it really only that recently that the streets were empty but for two or three isolated masked individuals stealing their lonely way from A to B. Two years ago Harrods was suddenly open and I went in search of Vacherin. A man desperately sold me a pair of snow globes for a fiver. He had a huge pile of them. Nobody was shopping. My quest for Vacherin was in vain though. Not even Harrods.

Today I went to Partridges. “You’re in time, but just. There’s two left. We didn’t get many this year. Supply issues. Do you want them both?” I left the last one for some other lucky fellow.

I have no idea when I first had Vacherin but I love the stuff. It’s the Christmas Cheese. Seasonally produced. Unpasteurised. Stinky. Wonderful. There’s something missing if it’s not there. And I’ve learnt to get it earlier than anything else. It’s one of it things that sometimes runs out. The other is turkey. They’ve had a bout of avian flu so I thought it best to get the bird today and head off any uncertainty. Sometimes I order at the butcher, but this year I trusted Marks and Sparks. I got us all one hundred quid worth of huge big bird. Driving home it was on the passenger seat and the seatbelt alarm kept going off. It’s like a child. I’ll have to get up early on Christmas morning to put it in the oven.

The flat. Oh the flat. I’ll have to pretend I’m someone else and then employ myself to tidy it up. Not enough time. Lots to do. If I don’t keep getting flooded by the size of what needs to be done then I might be able to pick through jobs and make some difference in here. Bedtime now though. And back to the war of brain flood/distraction tomorrow.

The thing to remember is that normally I’m doing Carol and my whole head is full of that. This year that isn’t pulling my focus so I can likely achieve a lot if I push myself or find the right state of mind. It’s hard on my own though. I’m easily distracted and there’s a lot to distract me. Tomorrow will be the benchmark. If I make good progress tomorrow then I’ll be roughly on track. Gods. Best get myself off to bed for a good night’s sleep…