Thursday, 30 October 2008

I don't like to chew but I like to swallow...

I discovered something new about myself today. It was such a strong realisation that I actually remember where I was and what I was doing at the time.

I was walking towards the Central Line turnstiles at Liverpool Street Station, biting into a ham baguette sandwich. (If you must know, whole meal, lettuce and tomato, no butter, no cheese). And what I discovered was this: I don't like chewing my food. To those who know me, this will not come as a surprise. I have an unseemly and un-ladylike habit of inhaling my food very very fast. It's not good for the digestion (although presumably it's reducing the wear on my teeth?) and a habit I've had since I was a small child.

This was going through my head as I took a bite out of my baguette sandwich and so I made a conscious effort to chew that particular bite conscienciously. And - the thing is - I didn't enjoy it. I could taste all the different components, textures, tastes. They were all blending in together and mixing and turning into mush.

I hated it.

I didn't like the messy taste and feel in my mouth. It was gross and disgusting. I really had to force myself to swallow.

Why was that? I seem to love food well enough. I have a healthy appetite, I eat EVERYTHING (exceptions: butter/margarine, anything with mayo, anything with any kind of cream (sour, double, single, whipped) Chicken Kiev, Coronation Chicken, Piccalilly sauce, mint sauce, greasy foods, mangostenes, and egg salad.) So how can I not like eating food?

The thing is, I do derive pleasure from ingesting food, but only when swallowing things without too much chewing. It's the swallowing whole that I find so satisfying.

So when it comes to food, I like to swallow, not chew. Is this odd? Am I unique in this? Is this some sort of affliction? Is it mental or physical? Is their a cure or treatment?

You might well ask what I was doing getting on the Central Line with a sandwich in the first place? I was on my way to have tea at Maison Bertaux with one of my very dear drama teachers from East 15. It was 2 o'clock and I'd just come out of yoga so hadn't had a chance to eat my lunch hence the sandwich (from Upper Crust if you must know). At Maison Bertaux (Soho - fantastic characterful French Patisserie), I had mint tea. There was no chewing involved.

Now for an acting note...
This morning I had an audition for a corporate ad (it means it pays very little and no one is going to see it apart from a bunch of middle managers in a board room). The role was described as: "a waitress in a greasy spoon caf in East London who's been doing the job for 8 years."

I wonder if I'll get it...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

It's Freezing!

Winter has officiallly arrived. With snow! Apparently, we haven't had October snow in London since 1934. So it's quite an event. I think we should celebrate with excess and great immaturity - following in the footsteps of BBC broadcasters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.Well maybe not stooping to prank calling but at least indulging in some form of childish lewdness. Maybe mooning. (Is it new moon yet?)

My agent called today and I have an audition tomorrow morning, to play a "rosy cheeked waitress who's been working in the same greesy spoon for the last 8 years and wonders what her life might have been..." So watch this space.

I am typing this wrapped in a tartan wool blanket, trying to keep warm, as I refuse to turn the heating on till after nightfall. I don't know why. It's a rule I've made up. And like all made up rules, there's no rhyme or reason to it, but also no way of breaking it. It's just not allowed. Maybe I'm trying to identify with the "fuel poor" and hoping to benefit from the tax windfall from the energy companies. How much do you get if your lips go purple? And pneumonia?

In preparation for typing up my expenses - foreplay for filling out my tax return - I did a huge clear out and some major filing yesterday. There's now a rather unruly pile of papers next to me, waiting to be processed. It has a rather resentful vibe.

There's also a dreadful, intermittent but recurring clanking noise outside on the street. I'm not too worried as I think it's coming from one of the building sites. Sounds like someone banging poles together. Maybe they're taking down some scaffolding. Let's live in hope.
The noise has stopped. Better get on with my expenses then... I've got a whole hour to kill before yoga class!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

I got the part!

Completely forgot to mention that the little part that I auditioned for last week... well I got it! And we shot last Sunday. It's for the new series Law & Order: London, which will be an off-shoot of the US Law & Order. All very exciting!

Why did you film my fat bottom?

I had a bit of a shock on Friday night. More specifically a blow to the Ego from the proverbial blunt instrument.

I was watching (along with all my friends and acquaintances whom I badgered into tuning in) Wire in the Blood. Yes, the one I'm in. And half-way through, there's a scene in which I am more or less naked and walking across the screen. Now, I can blame the lighting, the wide angle lense, the Subway Sandwich diet, the bloated tummy. The thing is: I looked terrible. Fat, wobbly and covered in cellulite.

As the character, it works... but as me, it hurts. What's the point of all that exercise and worrying about what I'm eating if I'm going to look like this!

Then there's the awful realisation that people close to me have been lying "you look great." "Don't be silly, you're not fat!". Or maybe they can't see very well. Or maybe they've been averting their eyes the whole time!

So what am I going to do about it? As an actor, I'm cool with it. That what my character looks like. As an actress, I'm committed never to let myself get caught out again with - as it were - my pants down. As a woman, I'm going to try not to go into overdrive with the dieting and exercise. I know it doesn't last.

So a mixed blessing really. Got my first national telly appearance, in a high profile series but also got exposed as the little fatso who could...

Never mind eh!? J-Lo's made a fortune out of her booty. Besides, there's a quick fix to this: no, not lipo, next time I'm on film, just cover up!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Do I look good on film?

A perfect stranger told me some lovely things yesterday. And it's not like he was after something. It was the other way around, I was auditioning for an acting job.

I should qualify "perfect stranger". Technically speaking, he was a stranger, as we'd never met before. But he was also a casting director so it wasn't as random as I make it seem.

Yes, I had a casting yesterday morning. For an established TV series. Tiny part in terms of screen time but a really interesting character.

I thought he was the sweetest man in the world. He thought I had a great look and that I looked fabulous on camera. And it was a good audition: he spent a long time with me and made me do it 3 different ways (I mean the scene). And he seemed really happy with me.

I was wearing my lucky shirt (pink and white Anne Fontaine). But I think I can take full credit.
I stepped out of Spotlight's offices with a skip in my step and spent the rest of the day being incredibly productive and pleasant to all around me.

It's a nice feeling. I'm going to try and make it last.

I should hear about the part by the end of the week or early next week.

Hope I get it...

Monday, 20 October 2008

I'm naked on the telly!

Apparently so!

I appear naked in this week's ITV trailer for Wire in the Blood. People have been emailing me about it. I'm assuming this is only shown after the watershed...

I don't know whether it'll give me more coverage. Ha ha ha... What I mean is whether people will be more likely to notice me. The type of people who are in a position to give me other jobs on the telly.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, tune in on Friday Oct 24 and Oct 31 at 9pm on ITV1 and watch Wire in the Blood!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

It's not happening...

I can't believe Madonna and Guy are getting divorced. Or rather, I can't believe that it's actually affecting me. And that I'm writing about it. And that I seem to track the big events in Madonna's life as if they were my own.

I was sitting in the meadow at Mills watching the squirrels (it was lunchtime and I was helping a friend with field work on squirrel behaviour) when I found out she was divorcing Sean Penn. Back in the early 1990's.

For the record, I'm not a celebrity stalker or one of those sad people who hang outside people's homes or stage doors waiting for a glimpse of their idols. I'm not one of those people. One of those who cried hysterically when Princess Diana died, and left flowers and teddy bears at the gates of Kensington Palace. And that's not just because I was living in Australia at the time. I'm just not that kind of person. I'm a relatively well adjusted and intelligent human being with a healthy sense of identity and a LIFE. I don't walk around thinking that I know celebrities simply because they're being paraded in the magazines and on the internet.

But it's Madonna. And I grew up with her. Sort of. I mean I grew up with her songs. And because she is the queen of reinvention, I could identify with each new phase as I worked my way through adolescence in Paris, trying to die my hair blond with "Sun-In" , University, America, peep show dancing (inspired by her video for "Open Your Heart" ), relationships, Australia. (I don't think she's ever lived in Australia.)

But I moved to London first. And I found out about Skibo Castle before she did (although I didn't stay there.)

So we have a common history. Well, me and her music. And so when the news of her divorce flashed around the world yesterday, I went "oh..." and spared a thought for her.
I had my own bit of sad news yesterday. I found out yesterday that I didn't get the part in a sweet little pilot for a show called "Isabelle goes hunting". There's something a bit weird about auditioning for a part that shares your name. But they were lovely people (they actually called me to say I didn't get the part) and hopefully I will work with them on some other project.

So today is a new day.

Heck, if Madonna can perform her show in Boston in front of the press and hundreds of fans, a few hours after the announcement of her divorce, I think I can finish work on my website, go to my yoga class, do a meeting, apply for some new parts, and call the repair man if the fridge doesn't reset itself.

To infinity and beyond!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Shall I call her?

Procrastination is a bad thing. In the end. Like all bad things, it starts off rather prominsingly. Procrastination has seen me sustain prolongued bursts of productivity - house cleaning, nail polishing, grocery shopping... But in the end, when everything is tidied away and spic and span you have to face up to it. It. The thing you've been procrastinating about. Worked your way around. It's left standing in the middle of the living room. All dusty and unpolished. For everyone to see.

So what am I procrastinating about today? I have a phone call to make. I've had the number for 2 weeks. I have to call this nice lady. Well, I suppose she's nice: an equally nice lady gave me her number. Why am I procrastinating? I'm afraid. Of what? Of being rejected, or regarded with suspicion, or worse, seen as a time waster. Is this likely? I don't know. Past experience tells me that it is. What's the upside? Of calling her? YES! It could boost my acting career.

I'm going to go and call her right now!

Well I called. And got the answer phone. Which means I'll have to call again - probably later on this afternoon. Although people don't return calls in the Industry (It's all left to chance. And good old fashion doggedness.) I want to give her the chance to return my call otherwise I might come across as pushy. God forbid!!

I'll keep you posted.

She called me back! Right away too. And she was LOVELY. Turns out she is having lunch today with the other nice lady who introduced me to her (there are no coincidences in the Greater Universe - it all happens for a reason) and they will put their lovely heads together.

Now it's time to file my taxes. I'm on a roll. Try and stop me.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Stop, I wanna get off!

It's a sunny, unseasonably warm October day. A Friday, and late afternoon so the weekend is tentalisingly close. It's quiet. Especially now that the scaffolding people across the street have departed back to whatever demented planet they came from.

There're a couple of pubs on my street (the other one, I live on a corner). And usually by now, you can hear the sound of glasses and conversations drifting up to my windows. But not today. Today is quiet.

Maybe it's the financial crisis. The banking crisis. The credit crunch. The American Elections. The sub-prime debacle.The housing collapse. The global crisis. Or maybe everyone decided to go home early and spend Friday evening all cosied up with the Missus and the kids, around a home cooked meal (vegetarian) before settling "en famille" to watch a family movie. Like Madonna and Guy. Maybe?

Just as I seem to be growing calmer and more serene (a couple of hours at a time) thanks to yoga and witht the Greater Universe as my guide, the world appears to be going to pot. It's spinning faster and faster on its axis. Greed and Fear are everywhere. I'm resisting the temptation to become a Buddhist Nun and move to a Nepalese monastery high up in the Himalayas. (Not sure Nepal is in the Himalayas but I'm claiming poetic license for today's fantasy.)

What I want to know is, what happened to the carbon footprint and green issues every news channel and supermarket was raving on about a few weeks ago? Surely the planet is still in need of saving? The orang-outans, the gorillas, even the humble hedgehog and sparrow of our hedgerows? And starving people in war torn countries. Darfur? Somalia? And M&S are still charging 10p per new plastic bag...

What I also want to know is when did Iceland go from being an exotic ice garden of Eden for Innuits and polar bears, and well, Icelanders, to being a financial centre of global significance? Who invests in Icelandic banks? Or rather who hasn't? They were all at it.

Maybe with all that global warming Gore tried to warn us about, all those Icelandic deposits have just melted away - a fitting moral to the story.

Monday, 6 October 2008

I'm feeling a bit empty!

I finished the acting job last Thursday and took the next 3 days off. And now it's Monday and the week looks a bit... empty! There's people to phone up, friends to meet up with to discuss new projects, and plays to see (Pinter's One Man Land at the Duke of York Theatre, with Michael Gabon). But there's still that overwhelming feeling of lack of purpose. Will I ever get an acting gig again?

It's very childish behaviour. And quite irrational (a big casting director told my agent I was "delightful" last week. And my favourite PR man thought my latest photos were "fabulous".) The thing is I want everything to happen now, preferably all at the same time, and the way I imagine that I want it. And I want more of it.


We're running riot. (Me and my Ego.) Let's try and refocus.

Let's make a list of what I want. And another of what I need.

What I need:
1. to be at one with the universe and let it guide me along my path.

What else? That's pretty much it. Really? Well, I also need courage and serenity to help me achieve item 1. Ok. Do they need to be in any specific order? Don't think so.

2. Courage
3. Serenity

Actually, can we switch them around? What? Oh, you're impossible!

What I Need List:
1. Be at one with the Universe
2. Serenity
3. Courage

What about the other list? What other list? Are you listening to me or entry 27 on the UK Top40? Sorry! The I Want List.

What I Want List:
Happiness, things going my way, financial security, love, admiration from the public and my peers, recognition, peace of mind, great legs, a greener planet, less poverty in the world, less pain, death, disease and greed. And a better theme song for the new Bond film.

Shall I go on? You sound like you're scraping the barrel. Or is that scrapping?

Why are you asking me?

I dunno. I guess the I Want List is pretty pointless. Isn't it? Yes, so it seems, but it's up to you. Oh...

So it is. Let's just go with the first list, the What I Need List, and leave it at that. Ok.

And out.