We've been watching Ricky Gervais' "Extras" over the past few weeks. I realise I'm about ten years late to this particular party, but I think it's a truly excellent show. Ashley Jenson is a remarkable and beautiful actress, and, as the show unwound towards its Christmas special anticlimax, Gervais himself becomes more and more compelling. It is fairly uncomfortable viewing. Gervais plays a man who starts off as the lowest of the low - namely an extra in film and TV - before hitting the big time as a catch-phrase yelling comedy actor who appeals to lowest common denominator audiences. Of course he hates doing the comedy schtick, and really just wants to be a well-respected, authentic Hollywood actor, but, ultimately, he's not good enough to be anything other than the catch-phrase yelling prat who wears a curly wig. Adulation and fame makes him grand and intolerable. He forgets his roots, shuns his true friends, and gets any extras on his own shows fired if they dare to approach him. He then becomes bitter and aggressive. His performance rang a lot of alarming bells for me. I meet people like him all the time in my work and I watch their acolytes fanning the flames which perpetuate these behavioural patterns.
I was back up at Costa in Highgate village this morning. I'm rather enjoying the routine of pottering up there for 9.30am and pottering back down for 1pm, having done three hours writing. I then go for a run. I'm not busting a gut when I jog at the moment. I run for perhaps 30 minutes, the same route every day so I can get a sense of my fitness levels rising. Running the same route every day also gives me a chance to witness the arrival of spring in the woods near me. There are daffodils everywhere at the moment. There's also a tree which I've been paying particular attention to. For the past five days just one brave piece of blossom has emerged on just one of the branches. Today, for the first time, the blossom had a friend on another branch. I'm sure by the end of next week the entire tree will be covered.
I spend the afternoons at the moment staring at a television. I can't bring myself to start work again. I think it's all part of the recovery process but I'm hating myself for wasting long periods of time that could be spent writing, or simply seeing friends or doing things in the big wide world. Television is the great crusher of creativity, particularly when you end up watching repeats on channels like Dave. I'm already bored of it, but I can also feel myself becoming a little work shy. It's very easy and quite comforting to sit down on a sofa, switch the television on and then switch the brain off. I'm giving myself to the end of the week to take things easy and then I'm going to get on with being creative again.