It's been a busy day, which started with admin, and continued with a fabulous lunch with my old mate Marinella. We met about ten years ago whilst working on 28 Weeks Later. Marinella was the script supervisor and I was working as the acting coach on the film. It was a fun experience. We did countless early mornings and a great number of night shoots so that the film makers could give the illusion that London was entirely empty following a devastating virus which had turned everyone into zombies. We weren't actually allowed to call them zombies. They weren't dead. We had to call them the "infected." I remember one particularly eerie shoot on Shaftesbury Avenue very early one morning. We had permission to "lock off" the streets, so the entire theatre district was ours. The silence was deafening!
We shot another sequence in a pizza restaurant up in Finsbury Park, very early one Sunday morning. The "set" included an upside down car in the middle of the street which had been set up to look as post-apocalyptic as possible. I still remember the passing night busses filled with rather concerned-looking clubbers who were looking at the wreckage and plainly thinking they'd either taken too many drugs or that the end of the world had come whilst they were busy dancing!
Marinella and I used to sing a great deal. We'd sing to anyone who'd listen or wanted to join in. Our speciality was 1980s power ballads.
We remained close for many years after the film finished shooting. I even walked her down the aisle when she got married to Pete (on the same day as Eurovision!) In the last few years we've been terrible at keeping touch, which is useless. She came to our recent Eurovision party and we made a pact to see each other far more regularly again. Hence today...
We had lunch in a vegetarian cafe in Camden. It's impossible for a vegetarian to work out what to eat in a vegetarian restaurant! I get so used to scouring a menu for the single green "v" which pretty much tells me what I have to eat. When everything on the menu is up for grabs, a vegetarian will often go into meltdown, as I proved at lunchtime. I don't know how meat eaters cope! In the end, after much panicking, I opted for a mushroom and ale pie, and it was proper lush. Note to self: learn how to make puff pastry and eat more mushroom and ale pies.
We concluded our get together in the coffee shop next door and then I legged it into central London for a catch up with my mate James who knows everything there is to know about British musical theatre and is a great person to chat to about plans and schemes and opportunities. He is positive and enthusiastic and always makes me feel like the tiny band of us who are trying to make careers in musical theatre aren't deluded or invisible. Everyone needs a James in their world!
I came back home, (via the gym) applied for a number of "opportunities" and watched several episodes of Steve Backshall's "Fierce" which features a complete nutter repeatedly putting his life at risk for the enjoyment of ITV viewers. Who knew hippos were so astoundingly volatile? And put that freakin' scorpion down, Steve!