This blog post in it's original form, of all the things I have ever written, has done me more damage than anything else, ever, in almost 10 years of work. I find it amazing that something written in anger and then signed can do such damage. Four years ago, a producer I had only just met professionally was warned about me on the strength of it. "I'm told he's a snake in the grass" said one older actor who knew the director of the project about which I was blogging. Thankfully the producer trusted me and passed the information on to me - saying "What happened?". I was gobsmacked that there was a campaign on, but chose to keep the blog up. Allegedly the same man later commented that he didn't see what all the fuss was about.
What was the post about? It was about a young director, a young company, and a disastrous tour. I was employed to replace an actor who I dare not name. If you want to know why I won't name him I refer you to the comments posted below, and to the distance in time between them, and the time of night they were posted. Occasionally, evidently, he gets off his tits and googles himself. Then he raves on and on to this blog. Hopefully this edit will remove that problem too. The man is not particularly well. And mildly intimidating, but that's by design so not a concern. In retrospect, I was cruel. And I told the young director as much by email when he found the blog - also removing his name from it and generally softening it up. But it galls me to edit the past. The past is the past, surely? Not so for some though. And refer to the PJ comments below if you don't believe it to be so.
Since this blog I have NEVER directly blogged about work, or people I am working with. I learnt my lesson. Sure I'll blog about subjects and ideas that come up in the course of work, or the show in general, but never again have I named names. Which makes it difficult to maintain the blog as when I am not on holiday I tend to be working. I may rectify that as well - I just underestimated the ability of people to get drunk and google themselves, but to be honest I normally just love my work and the people I am working with. I imagine I won't rage blog again - and if I do, I'll take a leaf from Wordsworth. He may have been an old prig, but "emotion recollected in tranquility" is a good starting point for writing, like the man said. I went for the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." And stopped there.
Why am I removing it at long last?
My friend Hanna Berrigan recently directed Huis Clos. I had just got back from Thailand having finished some filming which I am not blogging for reasons which will become apparent, beyond in the vaguest terms, and partly because i have signed an NDA. But it was fun, working with a director I have admired all my life, a male actor I never dared to believe I'd be in a shot with, and an actress I fell in love with the first time I saw her on film. A small part, but in a film the subject matter of which I really deeply connect with and think is massively important. So I was feeling pretty flush and when she asked me to play a tiny part for her, I said of course as my assisting at The Finborough didn't start right away. I know Hanna as a director well enough to understand that even in a tiny part she will push me out of my comfort zone and I'll learn something. And the time commitment was low and flexible so I could work it around my money jobs. On the gig was a young actor called Tom - he was clearly very professional, personable and able, and had agreed to operate the show for his friends, who were self-producing. I very quickly warmed to him, and it didn't take long to realise that we both knew the man who produced the crazy tour of doom. And in discussion with him, I came to realise that he has learnt from the mistakes that made me so angry in the first place. Tom had been employed by him as an actor, and came to respect and love him as a worker and enabler in this industry. He has made it a priority to pay his actors as well as possible, rather than sinking the extra cash from gaining audience into production. This is a huge relief to me, as I saw a man capable of going one of two ways. And he went the right way. He seems a good practitioner, and - based on my conversations with Tom - someone I would recommend. Now. Not then. But now.
Words are more powerful than I thought. I would never have taken this post down if I had not constantly been snagged back to it. I hate revising the past. Such is life. If you read this, mister AW, I would like to tell you that I am seriously proud of what you have achieved since last we met, and wish you the best of luck in the future. From what I understand you are well loved, and run a good company. You need to know that there was never any animosity between us, and if this blog came as a surprise when it first was published it is because it was a rage blog. I got home and could not pay my electricity bill, owing to money I had expected from you not coming forth. It is the equivalent of the drunken evening where your best friend punches you. Sadly it has constantly - and I suspect indelibly - affected any friendship we had. You were my friend on tour. I enjoyed travelling with you, and sought your company on the long journeys. I wrote this blog once, many years ago. Then I forgot about it. Completely. The only reminders I have had have been comments made, your email some years ago when I removed your name, and the idiotic ramblings of a complete stranger. Now it is prevalent in my mind again, since a man I like and respect and have done since the very start of my career has referred to it negatively. And I am fed up of taking flak for something I wrote in anger once many many years ago. So it's gone. I hope I never do this again. It feels like revisionism. We must be honest to who we are as much as to who we were, or how can we pretend to be artists? Pfft