Usually, as with yesterday, I just work through it on the rare times that I am ill, but with gigs and a half marathon coming up I thought it was sensible to spend the day in bed. So there was the faint whiff of school-day sickies, which could only have felt more real if my mum had turned up with a bowl of Heinz chicken soup. She didn’t, though my wife would later bring me a bowl of hot Thai soup from the local takeaway (and thinking about it I also had soup for lunch, though I made that). I lazed around, feeling vaguely hot and uncomfortable, watching telly and playing Terminator 3 pinball (which, I have to be honest, didn’t really help my headache).
I resented being ill, wishing I could be at school and learning about calculus from Mr Lee. Then I remembered I wasn’t actually still at school and that my wife is not my mum, but still resented being bed-bound. Loads of soup is not enough of a reward. I am 47 years old. I can have soup whenever I like now.
Being in bed all day has an odd effect on the brain, like taking some kind of drug that makes you a bit dull and stupid and forget who you are. I watched “The Driver”, which has some very fine actors in it. I am slightly in love with David Morrissey at the moment, having been very impressed and mildly terrified by his performance as the Governor in “The Walking Dead”. It is incredible, in that series, how he (and the writers of course) make you despise the character and then, with a change of circumstances, actually hope that it turns out OK for him (always with the feeling of dread that it’s going to go horribly wrong for everyone around him). It’s a massively engaging and believable performance. And given that (spoiler alert) he keeps his zombified daughter in a cupboard and has the heads of some of the people and zombies he’s killed in jars on shelves in his lounge, it takes some kind of actor to make that believable. Not since Michael Sheen have I been so tempted to drunkenly tweet an actor and tell him how great he is (in an almost entirely non-sexual way). But when I followed Morrissey (David, not Stephen, though according to Mark Gatiss, David Morrissey does the audio book of Morrissey’s recent autobiography, which is somewhat awesome) on Twitter I was surprised to find out that he was already following me. I have resisted the urge to tell him he is good so far. Michael Sheen’s cold shunning of my love, along with Brian Cox’s refusal to acknowledge me telling him that my dad was obsessed with him have hurt me too much to take the chance again.
But Morrissey (David, not Stephen) is great in “The Driver” too. It’s very much a British "Breaking Bad” with a hard-done by taxi driver turning to crime to give himself some money and some power over his shitty life (even down to his wife finding his second mobile phone), but it’s gripping stuff, with more powerhouse acting and a phenomenal cast. And it’s got another of my favourite actors, Lee Ross (from off of Press Gang) in it too and he’s very funny.
I also watched a documentary about the lost princesses, the daughters of Nicholas II. I worried the heartbreak of the relative lack of success of my Rasputin play might make it hard to watch something like this, but the wounds have healed enough and the subject is not ruined for me (indeed the poster for the original film version of “I Killed Rasputin” still hangs on my bedroom wall - though it now signifies financial loss more than it used to). In other news of mental scarring I have been invited back on Pointless and will be recording my second episode in November. I hope I can overcome the humiliation of last year. When I told my wife she said that she might go on holiday that week. I really didn’t take it very well last time. It’s a risk, but I am hoping I can meet with triumph or disaster without it making me suicidal or unbearable.
The documentary didn’t really deliver what it promised, being a fairly run of the mill retelling of the story without being very much from the point of view of the Princesses. But the stuff that did involve them was heartbreaking and someone suggested that the Romanovs might have escaped the revolution had the kids not been too ill to travel due to having measles, which I hadn’t considered before. By the time they were well again the British monarchy had rescinded their invite.
So it was sort of fun amongst the feeling ill and tired and sorry for myself. I was finding it hard enough to motivate myself already. This isn’t the idea start to my return to work. But great practice for my early retirement.
The full length version of Episode 4 of Meaning of Life is now up for video and audio subscribers - Buy individual eps or a series pass here The shorter free versions will be up in the usual places on Friday, hopefully.
More guests confirmed for RHLSTP
Oct 6th Brendon Burns
Nov 3rd Al Murray
See full list/buy tickets here