Birthday

Mmmmmmm sleepy…

Lou sent me a prayer plant!

The one I used to have died when I was in Sardinia. Even though there were people in my flat, they missed it. I came home and it was ruined. I’ve been trying to nurse it back to health but basically it’s fucked. It was utterly dessicated when I got to it.

Now I have this one. It was placed discreetly in the corner of my room. I would have just dismissed it as decoration if I hadn’t been set to look at it. “Have you been in your room?” I was asked, and I had but I pretended I hadn’t in case I’d missed something. I went up to look again and still saw nothing – but these rooms are full of plants. It was in a corner. I missed it twice, and the discreet message stapled to the bag. Another thing not to kill. Better than a child.

I’m wrapped. Unlike my plant.

This has been a real validation of my accumulated nous. It seems I know my way better these days around the dance of it. Janina said: “Have you noticed how the DOP smiles and nods pretty much every time you speak?” I hadn’t. I hope it bears out into the edit. I’ve felt at home, and very much understood by the director and the team. I know this game now, of course. It’s my job. But I guess there’s a confidence that only comes by doing. Wonderful people to work opposite, a witty script… Generally this has been as glorious job.

This evening I found Nicola and Helena and we had a brief drink. Nicola is staying in one of the apartments, and is holding down a huge part with terrific balance. Helena, has about the same billing as me and got recognised by a receptionist on day 1 for being a child actor in the Harry Potter franchise. That must be weird. “I was a child! Now I’ve trained.”

Everybody on set made a big fuss of me for my birthday. It was even on the call sheet. I feel spoilt – (I was even given a bottle of bubbly by production!)

One more night in The Headland. Then tomorrow I’m back driving long distance. I’ll miss the luxury of this place. I’m off to sleep now with the sound of the sea. Too “tired” to make good sentences.

Lovely evening, crowded head

Chris is driving us back from unit base to hotel. It’s about an hour’s drive, north westwards. “It’s not really dark and I’ve finished,” says Chris. “This is a new experience.” The sun is just pulling away, leaving just a stain of the memory of light. I tried to snap it out the window.

Nicola sat down beside me in the back, facetimed her grandmother, and fell fast asleep. She’s had a lot to do and long hours. We are in early tomorrow. This time is rest time.

I’m starving though. I’m likely gonna run up a tab in the hotel eating a marked up burger in the terrace bar and drilling tomorrow’s lines. It has worked out pretty well for me in terms of distribution of work, but tomorrow I’ve gotta do everything I haven’t done so I’ll have to make sure it’s all in the right order in my head. So far so good though. It’s coming out clean and fresh. I’m feeling like I’m in the right job again. It’s a nice feeling.

I really should remember to bring my charger though. Battery is almost gone – we are just down to the memory of battery, matching the memory of sunlight, this evening falling to night on the last day I will be as young as I am. Another damn birthday. They come quicker these days. Where was I a year ago? In Jersey with the Arthouse Lock-in. Now I’m in Cornwall where much of the earth power from that lock-in was based. I really wanted to get to Trebah Gardens tomorrow evening to see Guy, one of the artists we collaborated with, who has directed a Tempest there. Fuck it though, the call sheet came in and I’ll be working way too late. Working birthday. No time for fun. I’ll do something belated when I’m back and my head isn’t so crowded.

Shower. Food. Dump the scenes I shot today and soak up the ones for tomorrow. Sleep. Wake. Birthday acting and then suddenly I’m in Cornwall with nothing to do but get home. Something to look forward to.

For now I might join Nicola in a little snooze while Chris and Classic FM take us back to the Headland.

Lovely spa

It’s a spa hotel where I’m staying. I haven’t really assimilated that information. I’m just getting on with the work and making sure I’m ready. But Lou went on the website and I started thinking about what she would be doing all day if she were with me. I thought I should probably make sense of it since I’m not filming today.

Outdoor jacuzzi, tenanted at all hours of the day by happy boozy people.

I had to wait a while before I got in, and I chose a time I was pretty sure would be quiet. I’ll go again now I’ve broken the ground. But eventually I sat in warm water and realised the extent to which I have been spoilt forever by The Terra Nostra hotel in the Azores during Covid.

Still, despite the lack of botanical gardens and empty vast hot springs, I found much to love and to help me relax. I’m sure there’s a steam room but I only found the sauna. Lovely and next to a hydrotherapy pool with warm water where one of the rings squirts meaningless water pistols and the other two fart below you. Then you can lie on rails above jets. It is all very fun, very profligate and very popular. This place is packed out on a September Wednesday at three in the afternoon. I’m glad it’s turning business. As I’ve intimated before, I’m very fond of this hotel. I haven’t really fully used it before as it’s just been digs. Today I was planning on going to The Eden Project etc etc but then I just realised that I’m living here and it’s paid for and I should use it. So I did.

I’m in bed now and it’s 8pm. I’m not expecting to be awake much longer. The rest of my lines happen tomorrow, and my facility with them will help influence how long everybody needs to work until. They’ll be on set until past ten tonight… I’ll be asleep by time I get the the call time but I’m reliably informed it won’t be morning. I’ll go and rearrange breakfast for 10.15 again. Lucky me. I’ll be working late tomorrow but I get a lie in, and I’m forever better in the evening than the morning.

One more spin through what I assume will be tomorrow’s lines. Then bed bed bed.

Filming and being stubborn and me

Last night, when I rearranged my breakfast time, I expressed my delight at being able to have a lie in on a shoot day.

“Your colleague just did the same. She played Blurkity Flobble in Harry Potter and she just changed her breakfast too. I changed it for her!!!” I can’t remember the exact character name so I’ve inserted it to reflect my experience in this. One of the Weasleys, maybe – she’s ginger? I was only half listening. This was someone geeking out about the actress I’ve just spent the day with. She was in those potters, sure. Likely as a child. Blurkity Flobble will do. We have all been somebody’s Blurkity Flobble, and hopefully we will be such again before we die.

“You’ve got a fan,” I tell her as we are waiting for the driver the next morning. “It’s amazing she recognised me,” she replies. It was like a decade ago and I was a child… but she’s got a Harry Potter tattoo – she showed me.

We talk in the car about recognisability and what it does. There’s work in the can now that will raise my cache, but nothing on the scale of her Harry Potter. My first job was high profile but I was clueless and just happy to be there. It’s hard to know what to do with a big first job and no support. I’m glad she’s still working – she recently did an MA at Central but the bulk of her training was in lockdown. We understood each other though – we both had to do English degrees first despite knowing we were actors. Parents. I was too slow to break from my parents. I was living with my mum and she phoned up Reading University and booked me in via clearing even though I didn’t want the degree. I was put into a position where I felt I had no choice but to comply. In retrospect I could have chosen that as my battleground but I was clearly told that I would be cut off immediately and have nowhere to live if I pursued the acting instead of going to the same uni as my brother. It honestly feels like the majority of parents from non-acting families, when presented with a child who IS AN ACTOR IS AN ACTOR IS AN ACTOR, they just hope that the poor thing will “get it out of their system”.

It’s connected to the same bad thinking that leads my colleague today to wonder what the heck is going on being recognised. People might think “Actors are specialmagichumans but my little boy does farts that stink.” People easily think of actors as being something “other”. Something “special”. Bless them for it, it works to our advantage. It means we often get to stay in lovely places in the best rooms etc. We are often absurdly fêted for doing simple things like announcing a raffle. We are often very well treated by lovely people with property who enjoy the arts. But… when your youthful relative shows the unavoidable signs of being ONE OF US you all become gatekeepers… Stop it.

I can only really speak from my own experience… The only actor my parents knew was Jack Hedley. He was wheeled out by mum, and was his brutally honest and cynical wonderful self. “Your mother has asked me to discourage you from being an actor. What do you think you’ll achieve by being one?” We spoke for longer than he wanted, at Chelsea Arts Club. I still hold that conversation up as one of the benchmarks. He was too disobedient to obey my mother’s request to discourage me, I was too stubborn and certain to be discouraged, as forever. He didn’t sanction it but he wouldn’t block it and I felt he mischievously saw me. I’ve always been in this game for the long haul and he saw that. Later on my half-brother had a planning permission fuck up with someone that absolutely buggered my RADA audition… Nevertheless I was seen and pulled in by Guildhall. I had no idea how lucky I was at the time. I wouldn’t have even auditioned if Jenny McCracken hadn’t suggested the place. I would never have got in if I hadn’t had some help from the wonderful Michael McCallion. He died too, shortly after mum. Fucking hell, when I think of it… That little period between 2002 and 2008… No wonder I fell apart. Death after death after death.

But If I can persist despite two loving parents fighting me every step of the way and they dying when I was in my twenties, I can easily resist the ups and downs and the vagaries of this annoying industry, and the fact that everybody died just as I left. I can put up with the disappointments since then as they all go into relief. My existence is still firmly in daily conscious defiance of the desires of the two people that made me, whose memory I hold dear. And yet I’m happy, which is what they would have wanted, even if they couldn’t imagine how I might be happy in this work and this life. I love them still for their care towards me. It was misguided, the way they tried to block me, but it was from love. I see that, even if I felt aggrieved and stifled back then.

It’s been an easy day on set today, but another day where I’ve felt very welcome and happy doing what I do. There’s a familiarity with me and the crew. There’s a shorthand developing. And I know my craft, just as they know I know it.

Tomorrow a full day off. I’m just gonna relax and maybe go visit the Eden Project. I’m so happy doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And the sea is roaring.

The only photo I took, surrounded by all this beauty, was my breakfast in the hotel

Back by the Cornish coast, work and free wine

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.

Popped down to see the lady off.

All the streets around mine were peaceful, policeful. I woke into reasonable quiet. Tom was giving a tutorial to the daughter of a South American potentate over zoom as I woke into the day. We chose to connect to the shared noise. The procedure of moving a body out of London with soldiers. So much spectacle. The crablike movement of the pallbearers was observed with a certain joy. We watched it on the large telly knowing that it’s a pageantry we are not going to witness on this scale again. As she was being loaded into her motor it occurred to me that she might go close to mine. It was a warm morning. “Ah sod it, I’m going for a walk,” I said to Tom.

The streets were empty right up to the pinch point at Queen’s Gate. There, all the people were gathered. They were standing on railings, halfway up trees, balanced on traffic lights, wherever they could be that wasn’t going to collapse and would give them height. “Switch to 3g,” said a woman near me, who actually probably was one of mum’s old friends, talking to her daughter not us, but in the voice of privilege where it is actually aimed at everybody. “Nobody uses 3g anymore, so it’s quicker than 4g.” She was right.

I stood there surrounded by slightly baffled people. When the motorcade came it was all so quick that it was gone before it arrived. I saw a flash of the top of it. We all gave a little yip. Nobody really knew what was going on. But we were there when *something* happened. Mister clever clogs wants to tell you she’s been dead for months, and Captain Critical will suggest that she was always a lizard anyway and that’s why it’s okay that his life doesn’t work financially. But she represented a huge ideal for me – a good iteration of the unelected monarchy. The thin blue line between us and president Liz Truss. Bred for diplomacy instead of ambition. A little less trussed up by deals with big companies. If you don’t have to fight for it you can’t be bought.

Watching Charles not sing the National Anthem was a study. He’s sung it more than most of us, when it was about his mummy. Now he has to listen and not sing because it’s about him. That moment, the first time he realised his job was to listen now, it must have hurt him. I felt sad on a human level. I’m sure the fact he’s now the servant of the richest diadem in the world will take the edge off for him, but your mum dying is the fundamental shock. His hat is worth so much money he will be fine. But I saw a human with a mountain to climb. With the Russian troll factories still in full swing, it is hard to avoid “Not my king” type narratives. This is another very good chance for St Petersburg to rally the easily swayed into acting against the greater interests of everybody but Putin. The next few months will be noisy…

For a bit now though I’m off again back down to Cornwall. Out of the smoke. I asked if I could drive myself as then I’ve got wheels when I’m down there. I’m sure I’ll get my mileage back at a reasonable rate too. Pretty much a full week of filming ahead of me, which is what took me out of Chile.

I have to move some instruments first thing though. It’s already getting late. I’m gonna go sleep as it’s a long drive to Cornwall…

Police roadblocks

Something of a last minute decision… The police have cordoned off my little bit of the embankment. All the roads in and out of my area are blocked off and manned by multiple officers. They’ve been brought in from all over – you see Yorkshiremen, Kenticles, Suxxesonians. They don’t know the streets they’re policing but, fuck it, they are gonna police the hell out of them.

The road is even quieter than it was in lockdown. Occasionally there’s a limo with diplomatic plates, frequently there’s a squad car. No private vehicles apart from the very small number of people who live inside the roadblock footprint. Letters dated today were posted through our letterboxes to tell us this was happening just hours before it happened. The resulting mess outside the closed off streets will be spectacular to behold. Here it is peaceful apart from the helicopters and the walkie talkie sounds in the street. And the limos, the limos the limos.

Just down the road from mine sits The Royal Hospital. Chelsea Pensioners. Huge amounts of crown land. Lots and lots of bedrooms. Whole unused wings.

Tonight the unused bedrooms of the Royal Hospital will be likely full of people you’vw vaguely heard about. Major dignitaries from countries and places where perhaps there is no room in the London Embassy, or no London Embassy at all.

The archduchess of Alpha Centauri is likely sleeping there in her little canister of methane with Tinkerbell and Pan, enjoying a strange entente with The Great God of the same name who is trying to practice his pipes in the garden after having been dead again for a while. That terminally ill widow who wrote you an email asking you to help her launder hundreds of millions in from a small country somewhere – she’s still just alive and is there trying to persuade Pierogi to help. The Darklord of Helgedad is sharpening his blade hoping that Lone Wolf shows up tomorrow, whilst trying not to get annoyed by the fact that Nicol Bolas is snoring. Galadriel is sharing a room with Danaerys Targaryen. The Akond of Swot… Who or why or which or what is the Akond of Swot? Does he sleep with the pensioners snuggled up tight, was he given a teddy to cuddle at night, or NOT? He’s there too, with the Owl and the Pussycat. The jumblies live too far away – the boat they put to sea didn’t make it yet. They’re starting to worry. Mr. Benn is there but he can’t work out what to wear and he just stepped on Pikachu. It’s crowded. Godzilla hasn’t showed up yet, but there are unusual waves in The Thames. The room that was put aside for The Spanish Inquisition has been given away on reliable intel they they are not to be expected.

Right now I’m sleeping next to all these famous people, and likely next to other very very rich people from all over the world. The limos I saw coming in all had personalised plates and stern looking smart men and women in the back. Ambassadors and local celebrities no doubt from all over this big old world. People who their country has decided to send as representatives. This death is globally huge. This transition is significant. I fear we will soon discover the extent to which her dignity and service protected us from the worst in international terms. We do not have a statesperson as our political leader right now. We haven’t for a long long time. Elizabeth has been a huge buffoonerybuffer. Helping us appear internationally credible.

I kinda wanted to be out of London by now frankly… If I was Putin, I would have itchy button fingers. But … I’m here. Cornwall on Tuesday. Joy.

Events and the thought needed : First world problems

Last night I was staying in one of the wonderful self catering cottages at The Headlands Hotel in Newquay. The company have been booking them up for years. This is my third visit in three years. With my flight booked to leave late, I was looking forward to a slow start and a lovely breakfast overlooking the sea. Breakfast doesn’t start until half seven which is almost always too late for location pick-up, especially at this time of year so on working days I get no breakfast. I was looking forward to a nice slow morning looking at the sea, and a lovely Friday wind down.

At half past nine on a Friday night I wandered in to get myself a glass of wine at the bar. There was some sort of event on – lots of drunk people. I just fancied a glass of wine from the bar of the five star hotel I was staying in. I got to the bar in my tracksuit by walking confidently past a sea of suits. He poured me a glass of house red and pushed it towards me. My fingers brushed the glass of the stem. “Which room?” asked the barman. “Beach 2” The glass was pulled away. “We can’t serve drinks to people in the cottages tonight. There’s no way to charge for them.” “Can I pay for it tomorrow?” “No.” Can I just take it and unofficially settle at reception?” “No.” “So is there any way I can get a drink at 9.30pm on a Friday night in this five star hotel I’m staying at?” “People at the cottages have to go to the spa.” The spa is closed. I am curious the extent of this madness now so I ask reception if they can do room service. Apparently that’s impossible too. What a remarkable dereliction. There is one tab – the wedding tab – all night, and the bar manager doesn’t have the wherewithal to have another tab running for guests. Easier to say “no” than “yes”. Events take a lot of people to run, and you can never guarantee a good team across the board. Many of the staff are making a bit of pocket money before going back to uni to do ppe and grow up to be Liz Truss. But what a huge lack of flexibility. And having worked managing high end event catering, the way the barman made me feel as a guest is something I would have immediately taken him aside for. “What sort of establishment do you think we’re running here, young man? That man was a paying guest. Do you have any idea how much they pay for a room here? It’s half past nine on a Friday night, and he just wants a glass of wine. If you can’t work out how to charge him for it – and he made it clear he wanted to pay – then you damn well give it to him! Now draw up another tab, even if nobody else comes in, I’ll show you how to make it work. We never want to say no like that to a guest. Never do it again please. If you get confused just see me.”

The next morning I go for breakfast. I just want a slop of yogurt and a pastry – it’s towards the end of service. But it’s seems breakfast in the hotel is booked for the event too. We second class cottage dwellers are not allowed. I am told I’m supposed to eat in the same spa that was locked last night at half 9.

The spa can’t seat me without a reservation though. Nobody gave me any warning about this car crash – about having to reserve for a hotel breakfast. I’m a guest at this aargh hotel. The company paid over £200 a night… Surely … Surely I can get some breakfast? But the spa chef refuses to accommodate me. By now with all the talk it’s on the dot of ten thirty. Breakfast turns into a pumpkin at 10.30.

I have to actually pay for my breakfast latte with my own bank card. It costs me £4.18.

Five stars this hotel has. The waitress mercifully gives me a pastry, which I don’t have to pay for which is good considering the price of the latte when surely breakfast is supposed to be included in the £420 bill for 2 nights. I think she can sense that I’m almost apoplectic with hangriness. The pastry helps me not explode. A wedding guest though, fat in her entitlement and berobed for the spa, overhears her give the angry man the last pastry. I think she may have been the same inconsequential woman that glowered at me as I was refused wine last night at the bar “Do you have any pastries,” I hear her jowl pointedly at the poor young lady just as I bite into my raisin thing. I would have given her very low marks for acting in a LAMDA exam. She knew I had the last one and is just deliberately making things hard for the poor waitress. Roald Dahl’s Witches was shot in his hotel.

“The most important thing you should know about REAL WITCHES is this. Listen very carefully. Never forget what is coming next. REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS. That is why they are so hard to catch.”

All the facilities in the world. All the stars. Just something not quite right.

Despite all their attempts to put me off I love the hotel, the aspect, the facilities. I’m a happy mouse when I’m there. The staff are all very polite and vigilant. Most of them aren’t used to edge, which makes the ones that are a bit edgy into gold dust. The waitress in the spa, she absorbed my absolute discombobulation with the whole breakfast situation very well, and converted my energy with understanding and skill. She was thoughtful and personable. There’s a great night porter I remember from a previous stay (see blogs passim) The fact I’m dedicating another blog to being annoyed with this wonderful hotel isn’t to do with the staff. It really isn’t. They rock. It must be the management not being able to handle events that led to a little string of bother. “Oh … cottage guests can go to the new spa when it’s booked out for a wedding,” someone said but nobody thought to keep it open later than usual in the evening to match the hotel bar, and nobody thought to warn guests who might be affected that they would have to book their breakfast in advance and that they wouldn’t be allowed in the hotel…

I’ll be back there next week and I’m genuinely excited but I’ll need to ask some questions in advance this time. Like “will I be able to have a breakfast on my last morning?” Tristan just said “The problem is that nobody in the provinces knows how to run an event.” I’m quoting him so I don’t say it myself.

This is a happy me. It’s such a lovely hotel. Lucky little boy me. Lovely hotel. First world problems.

Set day

A day filming outside, in autumn, in Cornwall, for a scene set in summer.

Miracles happen. We wrapped before 6. This was mostly achieved by only having a couple of goes at every angle, and only really going back if something wasn’t functioning for lighting. It’s useful to know your craft enough to be able to ask for another one if you are certain that you’ve done it atrociously. Nobody on a set like this is looking at the actors performances – they’ll break the shot for light or sound but rarely for flub. I was comforted that an actor with much bigger chops than me turned in a perfect performance in the reverse and then as soon as the camera was on him he chose to do-over a few times mid shot. Film work is a bit like prep at boarding school. Everybody pretends to do no prep and then show up knowing everything. Everybody is secretly working hard and not letting on. The only person who suffers is the person who believes that nobody else is working and cuts back on their own work. It’s an unusual discipline, filming. You get no rehearsal. You can’t break into the lines softly. You work on your own beforehand and when you get on set you fucking know it and know it and know it and if you don’t know it you fuck the whole day up and loads of people you have never even been introduced to secretly think you’re a bit of a tit.

The actress and I both knew it today and there was play. It’s her first job at this level, and you wouldn’t know it. Playful, responsive and confident. It was mostly a two hand scene, first thing, lots of movement catalysed by her character. I was supposed to have an old fashioned bicycle, but somehow that joy was axed at the last minute before I arrived on set. For that, my eyes are on the very dour art department lady. She barely even trusted me to lean on a table. “An actor on a bicycle? Impossible. Actors cannot safely and consistently ride bicycles.”

Another old pointless war, between the person with “crew” written on the back of their shirt and the notional “talent”. I have so many shirts with “crew” written on the back of them that I likely could have predicted her exact sentence when she came up to tell me I couldn’t put my weight on the table when I was holding my weight in my legs because I’d already had that thought. Artifice comes in many guises but it takes a deeper craft to be able to see it across the table. Art department was brilliant today. They made a very British scene. But as is often the case, they couldn’t see the performers for who they were.

I’m having a lovely time. I always do, on set. I need three sleeps though to be utterly satisfied I know it, but that’s to do with my particular work ethic. I knew it but I could’ve made more space for freedom.

FistrAl

Fistral. Great big sky and a line of coast. I’ve been standing in my balcony with red wine running my tomorrowlines against a recorded version of myself reading all the other lines in. They’re in, I think. I’m allowing myself a dinner break and then it’ll be another hour before bed. Important to appear effortless on set. I’m hoping I can get into The Fish House for dinner but you have to book forever in advance. If they call me I’ll indulge. If not I’ll likely end up having Rick Steins dodgy fish and chips.

Cashflow is not good right now after Mr Clutch threw the book at me to fix Bergie. Needed to be done though, and even if there were too many hours charged, at least the work is guaranteed for two years. This experience puts a fuse on Bergie though. If he’s that much of a bastard to work on, I’m better off with a Qashqai. I might get some of the overcharged hours back, but I honestly feel right now that I’m tiny and the Mr Clutch machine is huge and stupid and inevitable. I’ve got some basic quotes on time, but I’ll need to contact Nissan direct and yadda yadda yadda.

As I write I’m getting messages from The Atacama desert where I would be if I wasn’t here. There’s a sliding door, as I sit in my suit in Fistral wondering if I’ll get a table at the posh restaurant while my friends work their fingers to the bone burning and sweating their way through a huge villagebuild into another desert race. I’m getting photos of nothingness. Apparently the night sky is incredible. I’m sad not to be there, but also I’m so happy to be on set again. I sat by the monitor for a while today and just made sense of the feeling on this film. Much of the same people in the same roles. I’m gonna enjoy slotting in and doing my job.

The call sheet just came through. Pick up before 7 and my biggest scene first. Ain’t it always the way. No callback from The Fish House, so I’ll wander back up hopefully and if they are still chocka I’ll go get overpriced undersized unpopular tourist fish from mister famous.

And then I’ll go to sleep in my incredible cottage. I’ve got the whole thing to myself. It’s huge. It’s self catering, which would be relevant if I’d known about it, and will be useful next week when I’m back again and will have my car with me. So long as the clutch doesn’t burn out on the way.

I flew again this morning, to Newquay. This time the plane didn’t break. It’s a pretty good way to get here, frankly. Very quick compared to any other route and, in keeping with the ridiculousness that we have been enduring for most of my lifetime, the train will be more expensive than the plane. Thatcher.

I’m gonna watch the sunset. Then eat. Then work. Then sleep.

I ended up in The Stable. It’s a pizza place with a panoramic view of the sunset. Fish House lady stood in an almost completely empty restaurant and told me the was no room for me, and I’m sure she might fit me in at the end but I’m gonna need to be back to work before then. There’s no way she could every know how fast I’m capable of eating…

It’s interesting how I allowed myself to get exercised about the chance of eating in an expensive restaurant when I’m cash broke. Gotta watch that tendency. I had to divert investment funds this morning to pay for my pret coffee at Gatwick. When I say I’m broke these days it’s different from what I meant by the same word a decade ago. Thank fuck. But… My service charge just went up this morning in my block which means that now, to stand still, with council tax and service charge I need just under £600 a month to stand still. Considering I am supposed to own the place, that’s fucked, no?

Anyway. Food. Then bed.