Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bringing it all back Home - Week 13

Sunday. Left Bury St Edmunds came back home. Mum picked me up from the train station and she got lost. When I got home I saw the family, the dog and auntie Denise. Did very little. Late anyway. Good to be back - a long time coming.

Monday. Did very little - nothing of note. Watched a dreadful film called Dear John. It made me angry. Saw Jack. Been WAY too long. He's doing well. Can't wait to be able to have a big night out together again.

Tuesday. Went to see the nannies. Nanny Pam is doing good. Nanny Joan was on top form. Despite the dementia, she recognised me. 'Are you courting?' Jack and John went to London to collect my things. 'A bag of weights? King you've got to be kidding me.' Walk on the beach. Went to see the waves & the sand. Did nothing with the evening. Ate at the pier. Waited for John. John arrived late. Shared a beer, caught up. Off to Circus of Horrors. A new career move. The value of friends. A glass of Jack Daniels for old times.

Wednesday. Dad's poo irritations. Why does Dylan keep stopping? Did tax return preparation. Loads more than I anticipated. Please don't tax me! Went to go and see auntie Debbie and uncle Peter. Melissa's bump. I freaked out about touching it. Saw the baby moving. It's amazing how life carries on, or rather, it's amazing how life carries on without you.

Thursday. Ambitions with dad. What do I want? Where do I want to go? What is my dream job/jobs? What did HE want when HE was my age? The family business. 'That's'. The Norfolk dialect. No one will be able to understand me come next week. The dentist. Still grinding my teeth. Need to wear a guard at night. Damn. Norwich with Tayla. She's a happy, happy girl. Her boyfriend is very good to her. The Mercers. Talking to Bradley. Giving him advice if he wants to be an actor. Starting out in the biz. What I'd tell my young self. The reality. 'No one can prepare you for just how tough it is.'

Friday. Is he maybe the stupidest dog in existence? Running towards the car. Blocked ears. My achiles heel. Keep using the drops. No need to have them syringed. Tax return. Always takes longer than you think. The pub, the sun, the local. Talking to older old faces. People that I've grown up with. People that have watched me grow into a man. Dan is getting married. So is Lew. Two best mates from childhood are all grown up. When do I want kids? How easy is it going to be starting a family, working as an actor? When does touring become difficult to do? Meeting lurch. Nice guy. Keeping up appearances.

Saturday. Skyping ell. Cambodia. 'It's the Beach.' Lizards everywhere. A vodka 'bucket' for 5 dollars. Amazing experiences. Amazed she can see straight. Soccer Saturday. Watching the game. In the local, with local supporters. Priceless. Norwich drew. Great result. Janet. How fragile humanity is. The godfather says hello. The man who taught me to 'Pike dive'. Whoopie darling. A curry? Not planet p. But still good. Another actors nightmare. How many bows? Which set? Any lines? Guess it means I still care about the show. Good to know. Only one day left at home before heading off again. It's gone so quickly.

            I chose to abandon my usual format for this week's blog as it's been a week that was totally devoid of the shows. The above are the notes that I usually make throughout the week, to later ellaborate on for the publication every Sunday. However, seeings as it's been 7 days of nothing remotely theatrical, I felt that most would be pretty bored - as would I - reading about some bloke's random week at home.
            This being a weekly blog though, I thought that I should provide all regular readers with something to express my thanks for their following.
            I'm not going to ellaborate on the week much than I have written already. I don't think that talking about my friends and family members - outside of the Original Theatre Company - will be of much entertainment to most, but what I will do, is talk about the things that have jogged through my head since being back at home.
            An actor reflects...
            God help us.           

 Returning home, after leaving home, is a strange thing. I count myself a very lucky person that, no matter how much time passes; I'm still welcomed back wholeheartedly and without notice. Despite not living there for years now - and in fact, not long living there for long in general - it is still home. It will always be. It has that little something that turns a house, nothing more than bricks and mortar, into somewhere sacred; a hub of memories, new and still forming. It's like putting on a favourite jacket, which you should have chucked out a long time ago with how much use it's had, but still remains the first thing to be pulled out of the wardrobe every day, without fail.
            The one thing that does change, is the lives that inhabit such a place. And, in respect of that, the fact that once one leaves home, being back is never the same again.
            No matter how much effort is put in by parents, siblings, the child, so much has happened that it's not a simple thing to just revert to childhood.
            An amazing thing happens when one first moves away and leaves the family nest - adulthood. It happens without realisation. From simple things such as doing one's own washing, to the more complicated and stressful tasks of bill splitting. One is given instant responsibility. And, so, when one returns to the family home, assuming the roles that everyone knows and is familiar with, is far easier said than done. One cannot simply revert to childhood, being waited on hand and foot, just as parents cannot be expected to instantly reawaken their parental responsibilities. Their lives are different just as yours are and it is learning to work with that fact, that - at least in my own case - maintains the healthiest and happiest Mother, Father, Child dynamic.

            It's also very strange returning to a place when ones life revolves around a completely different city.
            London is vibrant, busy and bustling - Great Yarmouth (my home town) - isn't.
            Once upon a time, it was. And, I think that it's going a long way to recapturing a taste of that old magic, but London will always be London and a town in the countryside will always be that.
            That being said, I'll never feel a greater sense of belonging and pride than I do for Yarmouth. It's my town. It has a history that rivals any in the land and I wouldn't want to be from anywhere else. From Nelson, to the Hippodrome Circus, it reserves a particular, warm and squidgy place in my heart that none other can replace.
            Ditto with being a Norwich City supporter.
            Only through leaving ones hometown - in my opinion - does one realise just how great ones sense of belonging really is.
            I'm also humbled by the people that I see every time that I come back. Whether it be my immediate family or distant friends. All are inquistive and care about how things are going for me. Most are confused by anything that I tell them, but such is the way with anyone from outside of the business that it is a very difficult proffesion to understand. The fact that I'm an actor is baffling enough in itself. Son of a builder - I think that those that are close to my parents still can't quite get their heads around it, but such is the endless support of my Mum and Dad, that it has never been an issue.
            Being 'on tour' seems to be just as puzzling too.
            'So you're doing a play?'
            'In a theatre?'
            'Yes - well, lots of theatres - all round the country.'
            'Right. So where do you sleep?'
            'Well, digs.'
            'And what are digs' - I could go on, but I'm sure you get my drift. I can't blame them though, as they are questions that even my folks ask occasionsally.
            It is the thought that counts - and it means an awful lot to me that so many make the effort to try to understand the performing world of which I belong.
            I can't quite express just how good it is to return to a place of comfort, after 12 weeks on the road. As much as I love touring life - and all those that know me as an actor, know that I do - living out of a suitcase for so long really does take it out of you. In fact, it's taken me all week to even vaguely replenish my energy levels. One can certainly understand, why, especially older actors, or those with families, refuse to take such work. It's something that has never really occured to me before, but as people have repetitively told me, I'm kind of in the prime years of 'touring life'; very few ties and no one really to answer to but myself.
            I wonder if and when that will change?
            Obviously an un-answerable question, but one that I have been thinking about recently.

            A nice thing has been the amount of actor's nightmares that I've been having since we stopped for the break. I say 'nice', which they clearly aren't, but it is good for my own self-knowledge, that I still care about the plays. It's just over the halfway point now and I'm not ready to fall back on them yet. There's still discoveries to make and - probably to my own detriment - I'm loathe to start thinking about 'what's next' while 'what's present' is still alive and kicking.
            Although I could definitely do with another few days in the comfort of home, I'm ready for the next leg of the journey.
            Bury is going to be a challenge for all involved. It's a unique space with unknown hurdles to jump - but I know that we can - as a team - leap over them with collective ease.
            I've LOVED my time at home and thank everyone that I've seen over the past week for making it so special for me.
            And so, GY, until next time...

            “You see, because [Norfolk is] stuck out here on the east, on this hump jutting into the sea, it's not on the way to anywhere. People going north and south, they bypass it altogether. For that reason, it's a peaceful corner of England, rather nice. But it's also something of a lost corner.'

Someone claimed after the lesson that Miss Emily had said Norfolk was England's 'lost corner' because that was were all the lost property found in the country ended up.

Ruth said one evening, looking out at the sunset, that 'when we lost something precious, and we'd looked and looked and still couldn't find it, then we didn't have to be completely heartbroken. We still had that last bit of comfort, thinking one day, when we were grown up, and we were free to travel the country, we could always go and find it again in Norfolk.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go


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