I was up in Chalk Farm today recording a bit for a new Ben Moor
drama called "Undone", which is going out on BBC7 radio at some point in the future. Ben is a brilliant writer and performer and I was delighted to be playing the part of Paul Reynolds, the head of the National Indecisiveness Society or Association.
It was extra special fun because I was going to be working with some of my best pals. Not just Ben, but cheeky Emma Kennedy and the actor Kevin Eldon. In fact you can find out what Emma Kennedy got out of the day by reading her adequate, only slightly mendacious blog on the subject
We recorded some of the scenes out by the canal, which seems to act like a magnet for all the weirdest people in the world (including us). The actor Kevin Eldon was standing was standing very close to the water's edge and I had another of my mad thought pushy moments
. It was all I could do to resist the temptation to give him a hearty shove and see him fall like a slightly younger Compo, backwards, arms flailing into the murky water. It would be a ridiculous and inconvenient thing to do. Kevin would probably be very angry and want to hit me. At the very least he would have had to go home in soaking wet clothes and the other actors would look at me, wondering why I had done such a thing. Recording would have been delayed by maybe half a day and Kevin would have had his mobile phone and iPod ruined by this pointless and unamusing prank. But still I really wanted to do it. I told him of my unnatural urges and he made it clear that whilst he understood he probably wouldn't like the experience much, which I took as a kind of warning signal to me to not go ahead with my evil plan. But this signal just encouraged me more. Surely now I knew he definitely wouldn't like to get all wet it would just make the execution of this insane notion all the more enjoyable.
Yet maybe there was a way to save the elderly actor (he's nearly 60 now. 50 year in show biz next year). Because there was an equally appealing mad thought fertilising in my mind. What if, out of nowhere, with no warning, I took a running leap and jumped into the water myself. How would the other actors (one who I had only met that day) react to such craziness? I put this to Kevin who suggested that they might simply show no real interest at all, maybe raising an eye brow before carrying on with their conversation, leaving me flailing around, having to drag myself out of the murky depths.
He's right. As this urges come just from a desire to shock and confound social niceties, getting no reaction at all would be the worst possible fate. I would be left looking like an attention seeking idiot who had failed to even get a little bit of attention and the brilliant joke would rebound on me. I would have to walk home all soaked through, with no-one even offering their condolences or asking why I did such a mad thing. Perhaps if we all ignore all those TV shows that set out to shock and confound then they would wither and die and go away of their own accord. With he participants heads hanging heavy with embarrassment and their impotent flaccid tails dangling uselessly between their legs.
I didn't push anyone in the canal and I didn't jump in either. I had learned a lesson.
Later that night on the tube home from a lovely gig at the Canal Cafe I held on to the hand rail for a bit and when I let go I realised that I had a piece of snot on my finger. A piece of someone else's snot. That they had possibly deliberately wiped on the rail, knowing that this would occur. It was unpleasant and the kind of idea that would immediately get the green-light in the Balls of Steel
production meeting. Even though I tried to rise above it, having the contents of a stranger's nose on the end of your finger is a hard thing to pretend not to be affected by. Any hidden camera would have caught my disgusted reaction, providing a studio audience of idiots with a massive laugh. Some things are too difficult to ignore and so the beast of shock TV may be injured by our lack of interest, but it will never die. There are always certain things that will see it rise like a Phoenix from the flames.
The only way to defeat it at this point would have been to outgross the idiot who had done this by nonchalently eating the bogie. But it will take a braver man than me to destroy the beast in this way.