… CONTINUED FROM DIARY No 38…
…BEWARE! OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AHEAD…
SUNDAY 11th OCTOBER
I remember returning to Granada TV in Manchester after a trip to Moscow in the mid-1980s and saying the beautiful metro stations were only in the middle of the city.
I had gone out to the ends of a couple of metro lines where the stations were just dull concrete monstrosities and I had gone into supermarkets where there were lots of empty shelves and only one type of anything on sale; maybe only 3 types of biscuits.
Someone I worked with at Granada told me I had been taken in by Western propaganda about the USSR.
They had never been outside the UK.
People hold very strong second and third-hand opinions: even moreso in the new world of social media.
MONDAY 12th OCTOBER
…and the coronavirus pandemic has brought out the worst in people, has amplified and magnified their faults.
Today I mentioned to a friend one stand-up comedian who has crossed that not-so-thin line from being self-obsessed to being an uncaring cunt. It’s school bully mentality. Insecurity triggering a self-deluding mask of invincibility. He doesn’t care if people die provided he gets attention and people look at him.
I paraphrase… slightly… from March this year: “COVID isn’t real. It’s just a panic. The panic will all definitely be over in a couple of weeks. By April 6th. Because I say so… and here’s a photo of me posing in the park. Don’t I look great?”
It’s like a 16-year-old with no conscience. Reality doesn’t exist outside himself. What he says becomes the truth in his mind because he said it.
Or like Donald Trump. You just say what you want and in your own mind it becomes reality. Then, if it doesn’t happen, you say you never said it and that becomes your reality because no-one outside yourself is a real person. They’re like bits of furniture around you, not people.
Self-obsession creating a genuine schoolboy bully mentality. Crossing the line from self-obsessed to uncaring, self-deluded cunt.
Great on a comedy stage. Not so good in reality.
One of the best posts I saw early in the pandemic – I wish I had copied it so I know who wrote it (not anyone I actually personally knew) was to the effect of:
I thought my friend had wasted the last ten years of his life sitting around doing nothing and being a failure. How wrong I was! It turns out he must have been spending all his time at home studying epidemiology and virology to a level which puts to shame all those academics and doctors who have spent decades practising in the practical professional medical field. And now he is sharing his wisdom with us all on Facebook.
He is not alone. I showed the above diary entry to another comedy industry person I know to test the reaction and they thought I was describing them… I was not…
TUESDAY 13th OCTOBER
Life is full of surprises. Today I discovered my eternally-un-named-friend – to my considerable surprise – can pronounce the Scottish ‘ch’ sound correctly. Something few English people can do. For example, they mis-pronounce “Loch Ness” as “Lock Ness” and let us not even go anywhere near Auchterarder or Auchtermuchty.
The explanation seems to be that my eternally-un-named-friend, as a child, was partly brought up in Aden with an Arabic-speaking local as her childminder. A similar sound to the Scottish ‘ch’ turns up in Arabic. For example, though the English call the Gulf state Ba-rain, the locals pronounce it Bach-rain with a sound not too far from the Scottish ‘ch’ or the Welsh double-L as in Llandaff or Llanelli…
So, like me, my eternally-un-named-friend can correctly pronounce the Moray/ex-Banffshire town Findochty… even if the locals themselves pronounce it Finechty.
You can seldom second-guess the pronunciation of British place-names.
WEDNESDAY 14th OCTOBER
As if things could not get more bizarre in the current world of coronavirus, a BBC Location Man rang my doorbell mid-afternoon today. He was looking for a location for a forthcoming drama about an ex-SAS man and thought my house looked like somewhere an ex-SAS man would live.
Clearly the ex-SAS man in the drama must be on a downward spiral!
My next-door neighbours have the advantage of a recently-built conservatory at the back. I think I may have scuppered my dramatic chances by telling the Location Man this.
THURSDAY 15th OCTOBER
A comedian of my ken told me today that they are having a bad time in the current world of coronavirus semi-lockdown.
My words of little wisdom were to suggest that, for a creative person, when things are shit, that’s the time to write it down or to pour it out onto your mobile phone voice recorder for cold creative use later.
Shit requires therapy and is raw material for creativity which is self-therapy. The act of creating can distract and distance you from the shittiness of reality by making it more abstract.
I then looked in a mirror and saw a man with his head up his own arse.
FRIDAY 16th OCTOBER
My Scottish hyphenate chum Janey Godley – the stand-up comic-author-actor-Twitter star-viral YouTube sensation – appeared tonight on both BBC1’s Have I Got News For You AND, in Scotland, on the STV Children’s Appeal in which she performed a comedy sketch with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Janey has just published her latest book Frank Get The Door!
She has another book (possibly two) out next year.
Anyone who has read her jaw-dropping best-selling 2005 autobiography Handstands in the Dark knows that she came from abject poverty with little chance of succeeding in anything except possibly getting put in prison.
The fact that, in a single evening, she appeared on one of BBC TV’s long-established, widely-watched peaktime entertainment shows AND appeared on ITV in tandem with the political leader of Scotland is a tribute to her talent, dogged determination and increasing public popularity. And she has done it all herself.
It is also a reflection on the mindlessness of London-centric Oxbridge-educated executives and commissioners that she does not have her own TV series.
SATURDAY 17th OCTOBER
Showbiz, though, is full of scarcely-believable OTT life-stories.
I stumbled on Impulse (1954) on Talking Pictures TV this week. The leading lady in this Hollywood movie was Constance Smith, an English actress I had never heard of. So I looked her up and… Wow!
For starters she was Irish, not English.
She was born in 1928, the first of 11 children, won a Hedy Lamarr lookaline beauty contest in Dublin when she was 16, got a contract with producer Darryl F. Zanuck in Hollywood…
… married British actor Bryan Forbes in 1951 and was a presenter at the 1952 Oscars. By the time her contract expired (she was sacked) in 1953, she had undergone an abortion forced on her by the studio and the first of her three marriages was on the ropes. She divorced Bryan Forbes in 1955.
As the years went on and she failed to get the parts she felt were commensurate with her abilities, she began an embittered descent into a life of drugs and alcohol.
She acted in a run of minor films in Italy between 1955 and 1959 and, during her time in Rome, she first attempted suicide by overdosing on barbiturates.
Back in Britain, in 1962, she was sentenced to three months in prison for stabbing her then boyfriend, the documentary maker and film historian Paul Rotha.
In 1968, she stabbed Rotha for a second time and was charged with attempted murder. She and Rotha married in 1974. She also tried several times again to kill herself.
Her last few decades were spent, dissipated, in and out of hospitals. When able to get herself together for brief periods, she worked as a cleaner.
She died in June 2003 in Islington, London, aged 75.
Some people win in Life. Some people lose.
Life is shit and then you die.
I just looked in the mirror again.
Yup. You guessed right. That man is still there, with his head still up his arse.
… CONTINUED HERE…