Yesterday was the last day of first round auditions for Brass, and we were full to the rafters with almost 90 kids coming through the Pimlico doors. I recalled very few of them, not because they weren't good, but because, by the end of a series of auditions like this, you have a far clearer sense of what you're looking for and who you've already recalled. The truth of the matter is that people have already rather lodged themselves in my mind as potential favourites for the roles and this can make it a little hard for anyone else to make their mark!
Of course, earlier on in the process of looking for "the one", I found myself recalling one or two mediocre performers, just in case I couldn't find anyone better later on, so, in truth, the earlier you audition the more likely you are to be recalled.
The trouble with all this is that an actor, when given a choice in the matter, will leave it to the last moment to audition, either because he or she is shambolic, or under the auspices of needing as long as possible to prepare.
Of course, the best person for the job, if they're on their A-game, will usually get the role, but if someone is a nervy performer who responds better to the more nurturing atmosphere of a recall, I wholeheartedly suggest getting in there as early as possible!
I met Michelle of the Turkie for lunch at Somerset House and inadvertently wandered into the glitzy madness of London Fashion Week. We sat in our usual cafe, staring out onto the courtyard, where scores of wannabe fashionistas and curios were milling about in the sunshine, posing for photos for anyone who would oblige! It was a curious and surreal sight. Here a pair of ten-inch heels, there a man with a tattood face. Here an Andy Warhole clone, there a Yoko look-a-like. The scene was a riot of leopard print, day-glow mayhem, brittle-thin legs, silly hats, crimped hair and pom-poms! It all seemed to be rather good natured, though. If that had been a film or theatre event, I think the people milling about would have seemed a little more arch. I have never felt so short, however. Michelle, who can only be about 5 feet tall, suggested finding some stilts and sidling up to some of the models to see if they found it amusing!
...And then it struck me that height is one of the few physical attributes that people feel they can comment on. I would never meet someone for the first time and say, "Christ you're fat!" But I would cheerfully tell a tall person that he was tall... Expecting him, somehow, never to have been told this before!
I went home via Tottenham Court Road and ended up in the no-man's-land, around the Centre Point building, where they're developing the new Cross Rail station. It's a curious, dark part of town at the best of times, which was once a terrible slum; a Mecca for criminals, where 19th Century police were too frightened to patrol. They say the area is cursed, which is why business after business fails in that part of town. This doesn't exactly bode well for Cross Rail, but what struck me today, was how unusual it feels to walk around the (once extremely busy) junction where Oxford Street used to meet Tottenham Court Road and not have to compete with a million cars! I still think it's sad that they knocked down the famous Astoria Theatre to make way for the new station, but I guess we call that progress.