Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The trouble with my industry

A young actress friend of mine went to see an industry figure yesterday whom, she hoped, would be able to give her some advice, and possibly some assistance with her career. He'd invited her in for a chat and she was excited about meeting him. As soon as she'd sat down, he laid into her, delivering a lengthy diatribe which involved viscously and entirely unnecessarily pulling her apart. He told her not to put songs up on YouTube until she could "sing them properly" or had "played the roles" and not to have a website until she was "famous enough to merit having one." It's not just bad advice, it's incredibly mean-spirited.

Plainly the comments reflected far more on himself. He's obviously deeply jaded, feels like he hasn't achieved his full potential and saw my young friend's openness and optimism and thought "I'll have a pop at that." I wish I could say that his actions weren't typical of my industry, but sadly they are. Just after leaving drama school, I went to see a rather elderly old-school agent. He took one look at my CV, rolled his eyes and said "I'm not sure I know what an assistant director does. Make the tea, I should imagine?" The confidence drained from my body.

My industry is fit to bust with people who are either puffing themselves up and spouting bull shit to convince themselves that they're more important than they are, or jealously attempting to pull the rug out from under people whom they consider to be more successful. These people prey on those who are green or those who have hope, and it makes me very angry. It's the oddest foundation for an industry. I'd personally like to wheedle them all out. They're not making a difference to anyone or anything.

I sat in Costa today, writing, whilst a couple of elderly gentlemen on a nearby table had a gloriously erudite conversation about Betjeman, C.S Lewis and St Pancras Station. I looked across and was stunned to notice that one of them looked just like Arnold Wesker. It made me feel very sad, mostly because I'd just been thinking about all the unpleasant encounters I've had (and continue to have) with self-important or self-obsessed industry figures. Arnold, of course, was far from being any of these things. In fact, he took it upon himself to rail against those who were. Loyalty and integrity were everything to him, and seeing that old gentleman across the cafe made me miss him terribly.

As I went up Southwood Lane to the gym this afternoon I bumped into our neighbours, Rich and Little Welsh Nat. Nat's hair was soaking wet and the whites of her eyes were pink. It turns out that a bird had managed to crap an astonishingly large turd directly into her eye, which is both astounding and very typically Nat!

It's Valentine's Day today. Nathan tells me it's our fifteenth Valentine'a Day as a couple which doesn't seem possible. We don't tend to celebrate it. I'm not actually sure who Valentine's Day is aimed at. Probably the insecure! Nevertheless we dragged ourselves out of the house this evening and took ourselves for dinner and a movie. We ate at a lovely new burger joint in Crouch End called the Rusty Bike Cafe, where the outrageously delicious veggie burgers come with rashes of halloumi.

We watched the Batman Lego Movie afterwards. It was the only thing on as Nathan refuses to watch the Train Spotting sequel with me. I went to see Batman under great sufferance - I genuinely couldn't think of any better waste of my time - but exited the cinema having had a really very lovely time. It's a feel-good film, which has an incredibly witty script. It got a bit "meta" when we realised the butler in the film was being voiced by Ralph Feinnes despite one of the "big bads" in the film being a Lego version of Voldemort, which was, of course, the character Feinnes played in the Harry Potter movies. The Lego Voldemort was actually voiced by Eddie Izzard! Anyway, it's a really lovely family film, which comes highly recommended by this blogger.

The cinema we went to is new - I think - and called the Crouch End Picture House. It's a big industrial chic barn of a building with chrome fittings and all sorts of metal pipe work and heating ducts on display. It's incredibly comfortable. The chairs recline and the leg room is immense. Heaven knows how the little art house cinema just ten or so doors down the road must feel to have it there all of a sudden. One hopes the new cinema's arrival will simply mean that more people think of Crouch End as a destination for cinema going, and will routinely check what's on in both establishments.

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