If you’ve missed the first two parts of this post, I encourage you to read those one first in order to understand the context of this list.
Basically, I wanted to talk about something other than Marketing and give you a chance to know the windbag behind this blog a bit better.
33 Things I’ve never told you (part 3)
22. I live in a 200 year old warehouse. There are brick walls that are at least 3 feet thick and big arched windows. It’s freezing in the winter, but the most magical place I have ever lived. It was used to store cannon balls for the British Navy. For a kid from Red Deer, Alberta, this is pretty cool.
23. I’m very good at the Gavotte. A few years ago, I randomly fell in with a company called Nonsuch who do historical dance. Turns out I’m really good at historical dance – particularly the Baroque period (I suppose cause it’s a lot like ballet). I now dress up in fancy costumes and prance about historic properties. And occasionally teach other people how to do the same. I never imagined this being part of my life, but it’s fun.
24. I hate driving. I got my driving license the day I turned 16. Within a year I had driven into a stop sign. A few years later I hit a child (he raced down his driveway on his bike, I slammed on the brakes, he wasn’t hurt, it wasn’t my fault), I hit a puppy (the owners opened their door, the puppy ran out straight under the wheels of my car, it wasn’t my fault). Later when I moved the UK, my first theatre job was touring to schools. I had to help drive the van. In six months I hit a parked Mercedes and two different fence posts. I’m just not very good at driving. I’m shit at judging distances. I get distracted way too easily. I avoid driving as much as I can.
25. I hate crowds. Which is ironic since I like living in big cities. But the trick is that when you know a big city well, you know how to avoid all the crowds. I avoid large public gatherings. I know where all the tourists go, and I avoid those places. It’s actually quite possible to live in a big city and avoid crowds. Not just possible, but desirable.
27. The only surgery I’ve ever had was getting my appendix out. It had ruptured and I was in agony for 3 days before I finally went to the hospital. They said I was lucky I didn’t die. I spent a week recovering, on liquids only, and lost a lot of weight. I put it all back on again.
28. I have a diploma in journalism. A few years ago, I decided I needed to broaden my base and introduce another income stream. I’d always loved reading newspapers and magazines, devouring them at any opportunity. I took a distance learning course from the London School of Journalism and it was fantastic. Before the fourth lesson was through, I sold my first piece. For three or four years I was a prolific as a freelance journalist (under the pseudonym Knight Hooson) until I finally accepted that I was working for peanuts. I thought actors were paid badly and then I tried to work as a writer. It was a real eye-opener. I still write the odd piece but determined that there were other ways to make money writing other than being a journalist.
29. I’m part of an Actors Co-operative. I belong to Performance Actors Agency; we are one of London’s oldest co-operative agencies. We are 35 actors who all work as each others’ agent. I work one day a week in the office as an agent. It’s been a huge learning curve being an agent and getting to know my fellow members, who are widely varying and have a huge array of experiences. I find the politics of a co-op sometimes wearying though and getting consensus from everyone is trying at times. But I think it’s an interesting business model. I think in the future there will be less of a role for agents and more actors (and other artists) will represent themselves. It’s not that hard, really.
30. I really believe that creative people can thrive. We so often sell ourselves short, undermine ourselves, give our very best parts away. As creative people we are so often our own worst enemies. I really believe that we can learn to manage our talents better and can learn to negotiate the tricky business of engaging with the market to create sustainable lives for ourselves.
31. I have no interest in flash-in-the pan. I’ve been around long enough to have seen ‘great sensations’ come and go. I’m not impressed anymore by the latest phenomenon. Now the thing that impresses me is longevity. Anyone can get a lucky break. Anyone can have their finger on the zeitgeist and suddenly become trendy or popular. Anyone can win the lottery. There isn’t much skill involved in that. There is a whole lot of skill in surviving. In still being a contender 20, 30, 40 odd years after you start. I don’t give a shit about Madonna’s music, but I think it’s amazing to watch her negotiate her career 30 years on. The woman is a machine. So is Meryl Streep – she has remained on top for over 30 years. So is the artist in your town who has been quietly painting and selling their work in local galleries for an entire lifetime. That should be celebrated. Not some fresh faced kid who happens to get lucky.
32. The deeper you dig, the more you find. In so many things in life, we go into it thinking we don’t have what it takes to get to the finish line. When I started this list I wondered ‘do I really have 33 things to say?’ and before I know it I’m already at number 32. The more paintings you paint, the more paintings you have yet to paint. The more shows I do as an actor, the more I have in me. We just keep digging deeper and deeper. And we get closer and closer to something really exciting and really authentic.
33. I take myself far too seriously sometimes! Lighten up, would you? It’s important to balance your life. Serious all the time is no good. Which is why I Pinterest for an hour a day!
Thanks for getting through all this with me. That was an interesting experiment. I hope you know me a bit better. I invite you, if you have your own blog, to do the same thing and invite me to come read it.
Until next time, thanks for being a part of The Thriving Creative community.