Monday, 29 September 2008

Let’s put it on ice.

I had to make a very difficult and painful decision on Friday. And I'm feeling a bit bruised as a result. Shame they don't make ice packs for feelings and emotions. There's always Valium but somehow that feels a bit 1960's and for middle aged Hausfraus who use cold cream and wear rollers in their hair overnight. And house coats. And those silly swimming caps with big plastic flowers on them.

So, with Valium out of the equation, I'm just going to have to sit it out.

It helps that the weather's taken a turn for the better - with all that sunshine and blue sky it's hard not to feel optimistic.

On a happier note, I've been learning my lines for the latest episode of Katie and Co. (the sitcom I'm shooting for the Mail on Sunday website). It's got a Thelma and Louise theme, but without any of the driving! Hope we at least get a convertible... Unfortunately, the way that episode is written, will be spending most of it in a really dingy and sad looking roadside eatery. And I'm supposed to be stuffing my face with chips and greasy food throughout it.

Hey. We all have our cross to bear.

Friday, 26 September 2008

The Mail on Sunday

As the Actress said to the Bishop...: Are you coming up for air?

As the Actress said to the Bishop...: Are you coming up for air?

Are you coming up for air?

It's been a while. Hasn't it?

I've been shooting a webcast sitcom called "Katie and Co." for the Mail on Sunday. It's Friends meets Bridget Jones. The main character's a people pleasing restaurant critic about to turn 40, and she's got a live-in statistician boyfriend, an really hot ex, and 3 best mates from her Uni days. I'm one of her Uni friends. It'll launch exclusively on the Mail on Sunday website on Oct. 5. Which is like, next week!

As part of this shoot - and the photo shoot for publicity material - I've been exposed to and learnt many new (valuable things):

I am really short. I had to stand on a box in the cast line-up pictures so that my head would actually be in the frame!

My eyes don't need too much make-up to fall into Drag Queen territory.

One of the advantages of being short is that I am petite. (I like that one.) None of the clothes fitted me at the photo shoot and I had to be pinned into stuff. And told I was "so cute and dinky" by the stylist. I felt like Kylie for about 5 minutes and then started to worry that I might inhale a whole cake and balloon up to a size 14 by the end of the week.

I have a father figure fetish. Photographer. Director. Who ever's in charge. Who ever's the daddy on set, I want to be their special princess. Odd.

I have a thing for DOPs. (Director of Photography, the person who mans the camera and is in charge of lighting and framing). They're usually the quiet reflective type and they have the power to make you look really good or really bad, or just average. They have magical abilities and are super cool. I don't want to be their princess, I want to be their favourite toy.

I look sexy in a saucy policewoman's outfit. Oh yes! Apparently. That's what everyone on set said: from my rather louche hot blooded co-actor, to the cute early 20's stylist (a girl), to the apologetic props man, to the DOP (he didn't say anything, he didn't have to), to the punters in the pub who rubbernecked as I ambled past. The outfit consisted of: a push up bra, a white policewoman shirt with "69" shoulder tags, a very tight black Mango skirt to the knee, fishnets, impossibly kinky S&M stilettos, rude looking black plastic truncheon, and very fake plastic handcuffs. Someone took some pictures so you'll see for yourself.

I also learned that I'm roughly a size 10 (8 in M&S) and that as a consumate pro, I can walk in size 7 shoes (I'm size 4) if I have to. And that I look good in skirts.

Finally, opaque tights are cool and trendy and not a throw back to my 1980's school days.

I am grown-up, I can wear make-up, I can dress up, I can look sexy. I am an actress. Cool!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

ouch! I got stuff in my eye...

Well it had to happen, cranked up as I was by my "whale day" yesterday.

I got in the shower at the gym after the body pump class and presto, managed to squeeze shower gel into my eye. (Before you ask, I'm not quite sure what body part I was aiming for, and I'm not quite sure how it happened.)

Of course this is not just about the showergel (which I've decided was a personalised warning from the Greater Universe for me to slow things down a bit and take it easy). The thing is, I've got a thing about my eyes.

I really do.

I mean, I don't really mind pain as a rule: I enjoy sitting in the Dentist chair and I'm not bothered by inocculations.

As long as it's not anywhere near or in my eyes.

Eye drops hurt. Plain water hurts. Professional make-up artists let me do my own mascara. My eyes are so dry I can't even wear contact lenses for more than an hour at a time. (I can put them on but there's a trick to it. It's called vanity.)

So a big blob of showergel found its way onto my eyeball. After the initial pain-free realisation (like that bit in cartoons when characters remain temporarily suspended in mid air before crashing to the ground) I got hit by an almighty burst of stinging pain.

There I stood. With one hand covering my good eye (to keep the water and anything else out of it) whilst trying to rinse out the other eye by looking up towards the shower head.

Not good.

Afterwards I stumbled over to the mirror. The white bit was covered in red lines. And my eye had already shut to about half it's normal size (even without the squinting). A bit like one-eyed crying.

It hurt when I opened it. It hurt when I blinked. It was better when I kept it shut. So did a fantastic impression of a pirate in the changing room. I think some people were avoiding me.

Of course my eye looks just fine today. Which is a good thing as I've got a stills shoot over the next two days and my character doesn't have pinkeye. (It's for a webcast sitcom for a well known company and more will be revealed when it's up and running.)

I guess I was overdue for a shower incident. My last shower trauma was at Uni (the first time around) when I slipped coming out of the shower, fell backwards landing on my tailbone, and the soap I was holding flew out of my hand and hit me in the eye...

If that was a message from the Greater Universe at the time, I didn't heed it.

But I will this time. I promise.


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Don’t screw your face up like that!

I was at Yoga last night. Ashtanga.

For you neophites out there, it's a dynamic form of yoga that makes your heart race and your muscles lean and defined (like Madonna - that's why I do it).

We had a substitute teacher. I didn't catch her name but she was very beautiful. Her skin was the colour of honey. She also had the really serene vibe of holistic practioners. A vibe I would simply die for. You know: soft skinned and soft spoken, chilled, measured and with purposeful but unhurried movements. No sweat (apparently sweat comes from bound flow - tension and fear and a general feeling of wanting to run away from the situation).

Unfortunately, I'm genetically engineered along the lines of a sewing machine: tatatatatatatatatatatatata. Pause. Tatatatatatatatatatatatatata. Pause. Undo all the stitching, it's crooked. Tatatatatatat.... You get my drift.

She also practiced without a mat.

It turns out she's from Australia and has a wicked sense of humour. She spent most of the class giggling and gaffawing and making fun of people's funny facial expressions as they coerced their bodies into certain asanas (aka poses). (In yoga they have these things called "binds" where you're essentially tying your arms around yourself. If you forget to breathe, your face contorts and you look like you're trying to squeeze out a reluctant fart. Or worse.)

The trick is to close your eyes. Apparently. Harder than you think when you're balancing on one leg. With your chin touching your shin.

That was last night.

Today I'm going to do some running, an abs class and a body pump class. What can I say, I'm having what I call a "whale day" - feeling enormous and blobby - and a bit of cardio helps me sweat out those pesky thoughts. I could do another yoga class instead but I want to burn some calories.

Silly and pointless. But there you go. A minor delinquence in the scheme of things. What's caused it? PMT? Lack of control?

In other words, today I'm in a spiritual bind. Face all screwed up. Desperately trying to strike a pose and hold it for the duration.

When all I need to do is close my eyes and breathe...

Saturday, 6 September 2008

You want me to wait for how long?

Willfulness. Like the guy who accelerates past you a little recklessly revving the engine on his VW sports thingy, only for you to catch up with him 3 seconds later at the traffic lights.

It doesn't really get you anywhere fast. It's just tiring and pointless.

So why do we do it? And more to the point, why do I do it? Why don't I just flow in unison with the Greater Universe and see where that takes me? Why? Why? Why?

Questions are another form of willfullness. Children are very good at it. Why is the sky blue? Because of the layers of molecules and the way the light refracts off of them. Why is that? Why? Why?

When I put it like that, it sounds terribly pointless and unpleasant. But that doesn't capture the half of it. Willfullness seduces us because of its promise of realised dreams and ambition. "I want therefore I am. Therefore I have. Lots and lots. Therefore I'm happy."

But when was the last time having what you wanted make you happy? Or happy for more than - let's say 24 hours?

No. No. Much better to stick with the plans the Greater Universe has developed in its infinite wisdom and infinity.

I may have to wait for a while, for a long while (it always feels like a long while when you don't know how long it's going to be) but at least I'll get what I'm meant to receive. And in my experience, that's always the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.

You want me to wait how long?

However long it takes.

Ok then. Try me. It's the weekend.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

You’re making a lot of noise!

It's rather noisy in my neck of the woods at the moment. There's been scaffolding going up across the street with the guys doing their best impression of a seal colony. There's been continuous drilling on a building site next door, and in the last few minutes, some serious sawing of the newly asphalted road just outside the house. They managed to set fire to it last time they did it (the asphalt, not my house) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

And it's not just me finding London a tad wee noisy after my sojourn up north. Oh no! The really chilled out girl who works in the caf next door is going spare.

It's a bit like having your teeth drilled without anaesthetic.

But without a sexy dentist leaning over you real close.

Life takes on a different quality when it's submerged with noise. It's a bit like drowning in an ocean, except with drowning, there's an inevitable release. It's just singularly unpleasant.

Still, I'll be out of the house soon enough. Yoga beckons. And groceries!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


The weather this morning is doing it's best impression of winter but it's got nothing on Gustav. And after a particularly rainy August in Edinburgh (the locals were apologetic) I barely notice it. Besides, I'm a three time auntie as of less than 24 hours ago! For the record, I don't mean my sister had triplets. Maybe the correct term is "third time auntie".

(This isn't going to flow very well because I'm having to rewrite the original blog entry which got deleted before I could save it - when my screen went blank a minute ago...)

Being an auntie is the best bit. No childrearing responsabilities, no discomfort, no discipline. You get to be immature and childish and play. Sing songs, teach them silly and useless things (like blowing raspberries), and generally re-live your own childhood but better and in technicolour with all the mod coms (web, mobiles, digital cameras, and colourful clothes).

And if you don't have children of your own, kids don't classify you as an adult. By default, you're one of them except taller (just), with a driver's license (just), and a wallet! So I get to have friends. It's pretty cool.

It's still grey and rainy outside. The cars make that weird splish splash with their wheels as they drive along the sodden asphalt. You can hear water dripping from roofs and pipes - and from the sky of course.

But hey, I'm an auntie three times over and feeling rather sunny inside.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Can you breathe ok?

We've left August behind. It's September now and that conjures up all kinds of emotions and images relating to wet leaves on the pavement, new school books and the dreaded return to school. And the smell of winter.

It's not all bad of course. There's always the conkers to look forward to. How shiny they look at first! And all those French autumnal dishes that my mother excells at. Mushroom and Rocquefort pie, our national (ooops, regional) Alsatian dish: choucroute!!!, the Spanish Cocido (it's a stew). And many many more. It's a time for game, and fungus.

Still, it's a bright and sunny day here in London. With a chill to the air which bodes well.

I'm still recovering from this rather formidable cold that assailed me - without any warning (any warning that I heeded to that is) - on Thursday evening. It's been rough. Breathing has been a bit of a challenge. But I'm much better now.

I've got things to do, places to be... like preparing for an internet sitcom I've just been cast in. (WOO HOOO!!) But uncharacteristically, I'm going to take it easy today.

And keep that foot off the pedal. Just for today.