Tuesday 30th January 2007
The Richard Branston pool of death seemed slightly perilous again today. A couple of workmen were up a ladder fiddling around with one of the big lights up in the ceiling. Was I being paranoid to think that work on electrical items might be better carried out while the pool is closed. I looked at them removing bulbs and holding various power tools and started imagining some live wire falling into the water and electrocuting me and the ragbag of other morning swimmers.
As a precaution the fast lane had been closed down, though I felt that the electricity I feared might not respect the artificial lane divisions, even if electricity is without doubt a fast swimmer.
Luckily nothing went awry, though it did help me to swim a bit faster if nothing else, as I stupidly felt safer when I was nearer to the edge of the pool.
There have been a couple of times that I have been swimming in this pool and the only other swimmer in there has been "I'm a Celebrity" loser, Toby Anstiss. I don't know why swimming makes me fear electrocution, but on those occasions I have wondered what the world would make of it if some terrible accident resulted in our simultaneous deaths. It might seem odd that two very minor people who had been on TV would die at the same time (something I've ruminated on before with a different star of children's television). It would seem suspicious, until someone realised that largely unemployed TV performers have little to do in the day and thus can swim at off peak times. I think Toby Anstiss has also recognised me on these occasions, but we have never acknowledged each other. It's one of the difficulties of very minor celebrity: when you've never met someone, but you each other from TV, is that enough to give you reason to be sociable? Often this is made more difficult by one or both of you being unsure about whether you've actually met at some point in the past, or whether you just know each other from telly. I have the hardest job in the world.
Toby Anstiss wasn't in the pool though. I haven't seen so much of him since he was on "Celebrity". Maybe he got some work out of it.
But if we are ever killed in a pool at the same time and no-one else is involved, don't think that we've been having some kind of tryst, involving some perverted sex game in which we like to see how close we can get to electrocuting each other. It's just a crazy coincidence.
No really. If that happens now then no-one is going to believe me.
Anyway, no-one got electrocuted, though hopefully a small amount of my bodily fat got zapped by me swimming a kilometre.
I am in the middle of an arduous rewrite of the script, which has a running theme of blood and water (thickness and all that) and so being submerged in a pool made me think about that more. Being in water can be liberating or debilitating, give you freedom or constriction, bring up notions of death and rebirth, bring you purity or just make you dirtier. Hopefully people will pick up on this undercurrent (no pun intended) rather than just think it's an excuse for a lot of "Last of the Summer Wine" style falling in and out of things. But it works on both levels. I have just written something about Ian falling out of a bath, landing in a naked heap, which the writer me thinks is a good idea, though the actor me hasn't really been consulted about it yet. Why does the writer me always seek to humiliate the performer me? What have I got against myself?
My subconscious conspired against me at the Battersea Arts Centre tonight. In the last couple of years I have sold out the big room for a couple of nights, so was disappointed to find that I was in one of the studio spaces tonight and only about 50 people had turned up. It was a good show though, but the old people characters at the end of the environment section said some very disturbing stuff that surprised both them and me. I won't put it in print and hopefully the journalist from the Evening Standard won't either. But it's strange the way that by inhabiting those deconstructing characters I can actually get to a point where I say stuff that shouldn't be said and that I wouldn't say. It's OK. That's the point. It's an interesting area to explore.
I don't think I have performed in this studio since an early preview of "Punk's Not Dead". I remember it well because we hadn't really rehearsed enough and didn't know the script perfectly (at one point we reached a hiatus and my character, Ian obviously, who was a comedy writer, said "Here's one of the scripts I wrote" and showed it to the others. It was in fact the script of the play, allowing us to find our place and pick up the action - pathetic).
Paul Reynolds who played the cynical, clever and sarcastic character was in a bit of a quandary as although he was now a grown up , one of the women who had acted as his chaperone when he was a younger actor was in the audience. He had an important line where he was meant to say, "That's why I've been behaving like a cunt today" to which someone responded "And what's been your excuse for the last twenty years."
But scared of offending the woman in the audience Paul changed the line to something along the lines of "That's why I've been such a niggly-noggly-noo today" which I would argue changed the spirit of the script, and made the whole cast corpse rather badly. Ah happy days.
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