Friday, 24 December 2010

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL FROM PRIMROSE HILL!!!


Thats better :) xxxxxx

Thursday, 23 December 2010

FUCK CHRISTMAS

There. Ive said it.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Never judge a librarian by his cover


Bit of  a drama this morning when I went to return some library books only to find the library closed . In the last few years , as my income has dwindled (along with my celebrity status), my use of the library has become a daily ritual,and so my heart started to palpitate when I suddenly had the recollection of last weeks announcment that the goverment had made cuts and closed all  libraries in Somerset . What if they were extending this policy to Primrose Hill too?That would mean PAYING for books.

In my more affluent days whilst I was on"The Tv Show" I used to just waltz into Waterstones, paying full whack for the latest Besteller, even going for the luxury of a hardback if I so wished, moving on to charity shops, as the telly jobs started to dry up, where I would often play the game of Book Tarot. (Book Tarot at the charity shop consists of standing at the shelf of scond hand books asking God to help you pick one which will give you a secret message and change your life...alot of actors I know play this game ). However in recent times of being an out of work actress in a recession (which is not very different to being an out of work actress in a booming economy actually), I have had no choice but to sign up for my little green card and stand side by side the students and local tramps who come in to keep warm, in order to fuel my reading habit. And I have been pleasantly surprised. In fact, I sometimes wonder why I didnt do this sooner. Not only can you borrow books but they also loan out Films and  CD's . (Although I had to calm down my download habit for a while after the lady at the desk asked me what I was doing with 5 CDs a day. )
"I just love music" I had gushed, and tried to hide my ipod.

Anyway, I had nearly gone home to get my protesters parka and placard when some of the staff turned up and let me in. Turns out that they were all a bit delayed by the snow in Kent.(why does everyone seem to live in Kent whenever it snows?!!) ,
As I entered, though, I noticed something different .They had just changed the front desk to a new self service system which means you check in and out yourself, like those tills in the supermarket that noone uses. Given no human option, I tentatively approached the machne and attempted to follow the instruction.
It seemed easy enough.

1.Put membership card into slot.

So I did. And nothing.
I tried again.Still nothing.
A little old lady taps my shoulder.

"Put it in the other way love," I do and the machine springs to life, giving me an array of options to choose from. I press the returns button and it tells me to swipe my books over the panel, so I do just that. Again nothing.
A queue of impatient OAPs, arms laden with large print Agatha Christies, is starting to build up , I'm panicking.  I try again. No Joy
"Its not bloody working." I say loudly
"Would you like some help?" says a male voice and I turn to see a rather good looking young man standing there smiling.
"Yes please," I say churlishly
He takes the book from my sweaty hands and glides it over the panel effortlessly.The machine accepts it without a struggle.
"You're from that TV show arent you?" he says
"Yees," I whsiper shyly
"Not seen you on our screens for a while," he continues,
"Well, I've been writing a novel actually," I say and he looks up.
"Thats funny. So have I."
"Are you an actor too?" I say and he laughs.
"No, I'm a writer" the screen makes a different funny noise as he glides the last book over."Its saying you have some books still overdue," he says frowns and presses a button on the screen and up comes a list, to my horror, of my outstanding loans   And I have never felt so naked and exposed in my whole life.

1.Prozac nation
2.How to overcome OCD
3.How to overcome Low Self Esteem
4.He's just not that into you
5 He thinks he's not that into you how to convince him that he really is
6 The Bell Jar
7 Why am I always the One before The One
8 Freedom by Joanthan Franzen

and I look at the screen hopelessly and then back at his grinning face and he says, "I've just read Freedom. Its really interesting I'd love to discuss it over a coffee sometime?"

My mind flashes to Suit Guy. He's not officially my boyfriend. We're just dating. One coffee with an intelligent young writer isnt infidelity.
"What has happened to Suit Guy ?" I hear you asking....well, I'll cover that next time.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Ten Things I FUCKING hate about you



This new found notoriety has really gone to Fellow Actress's head. We met up for a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte yesterday afternoon and she turned up in full make up, wearing massive Ray Ban Aviators, (despite the fact we are two weeks away from Christmas) and sporting a very shiny Botoxed forehead. We had just sat down at a table when some poor French woman who was holding her A to Z, looking a bit lost ,came up to us and was just about to speak when Fellow Actress put out her hand in a "halt" sign and said ( without even looking at her) "PLEASE CAN YOU JUST LET ME HAVE A PRIVATE LIFE"

The woman scuttled off looking scared and confused and I stared at Fellow Actress in shock
"Babe, she was only asking directions!" I said
To which Fellow actress retorted, "Oh for God's sake Harriett, just because your fame is dwindling don't give me a hard time.It's HELL being recognised all the time and YOU of all people should understand."
I snorted at her delusion and then, as I watched her spooning the cream of her latte into her napkin because s" the camera adds ten pounds " and she "never knows these days if she might end up on the cover of Heat" it suddenly occurred to me that Fellow Actress has actually started to believe that she is really famous.Ever since the Film Star epoisode. And its really, really funny.
So I thought, for the blog,  I'd make a list of signs, based on Fellow Actress's erratic behaviour, to look out for to help spot People Who Think They Are Famous When They Are Not.

Ten Signs You Think You are Famous When You are Not (But Maybe You Probably Should Be)

1. You always call ahead when you dine at your local Pizza Express so that they can prepare the best table for you and sneak you in the back entrance.


2. You demand that your cousin confiscates all guests’ camera phones at his own wedding in case people take unsolicited snaps of you


3. You tweet about the fact you are going to the local pub, then ask them for free drinks for the extra publicity they are getting.

4. Your hairdresser constantly has to talk you out of “Doing a Britney” every time you go for a trim.

5 The last three things in your Google search history are the Atkins,Chinawhites and Alcoholics Anonymous.

6. You hang out at the village football pitch in the hope of snagging a local footballer.

7. You call OK magazine when you finally split up with him to see if they want the exclusive on the story.

8. You never leave the house without your Raybans, and when the postman comes to deliver your mail you hide behind a bush and scream “No photos!”

9. You send your parents a letter threatening to divorce them for damaging you at childhood thus causing you to seek adulation from the general public.

10. You send your parents another letter asking if you can borrow some money to tide you over until your “comeback”.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

God, Grant me the Serenity to not fall for Another Bastard


It's been an interesting few weeks to say the least.

Firstly, I have found myself on a number of "dates" with Suit Guy who, after our first disastrous encounter seems to have taken a liking to me despite my penchant for Mushroom Stroganoff (See This Little Piggy....).

It's fine, I mean he is a really great,interesting guy, we go to the theatre and then he takes me out for dinner , we talk for hours and like the same music ( apart from Status Quo ),but there is something missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it, well actually I can....The problem is..He doesnt treat me like absolute shit...and its slightly unnerving me.And its got me asking myself what the FUCK is wrong with me?

I mean, why do I only fancy men who are bastards? It is so unhealthy and we all know that it ends in tears, I mean look at me and Dom and that fiasco. (oh Dom I miss you so much..shut up shut up shut UP Harriett you fool!!)

I called Fellow Actress the other day to try and get some perspective but she wasn't much help.
"You need to give them up, for like a whole year," she says.
"What men?" I say aghast. .
" No ,bastards. They act as drug. You know I once read that a toxic bachelor hits the same neuro circuit as cocaine. They are highly addictive and highly dangerous and the only way to kick the habit is complete abstinence."
She's become very extremist since she started attending AA after the wedding fiasco. Abstinence is her absolute favourite word right now. About bloody everything
"If only there was a meeting called Bastards Anonymous," I sigh, she pauses for a second." I think there is," she says, " but the waiting list is about six months long."
 
"So how's it going? " I ask, "How are you feeling as a sober person?"
"Amaaaazing," she gushes, "Harry its the BEST thing I've ever done, oh and I've met someone."
"Wow, that was quick, " I say slightly envious at her ability to bounce back so quickly from her self proclaimed heartbreak
"Oh My God Harry. He's amaaazing. He's a film star!!!.I met him at one of the meetings and we went for coffee after and the rest, as they say, is AA History."
" Are you supposed to do that? I mean, I'm no expert but isnt it against the whole ethos? Aren't you meant to be focussing on staying sober?"
"He's a film star Harry," she repeats ignoring me, "He is so fucking famous it's not even funny." She says hardly able to contain her excitement.
" Who is it?" I ask
"Oh I can't possibly say," she declaims dramatically." Its Anonymous Harry! " she tuts
" Right, I say,
" But," she continues , "I'll give you a clue.. he's the lead guy in that film we saw on Sunday? The American one? He's over here for a press junket."
"So you've basically just told me who he is," I say dryly
"Nope. I didnt say his name," She says "Anyway,you wont tell anyone. And I've only told my mum, and Clive."
"Who's Clive?"
"My hair colourist, but he's used to celebrities.He's heard much worse in the salon."
"Right," I sigh. I'm not sure how effective this group therapy is going to be for Fellow Actress if she cant even abide by the anonymity rule .

I am still pondering the age old dilemma of "Why Women Like Bad Boys," the next day in my new" fill in" job at my friend's boutique in Westbourne Park Its a cushty little gig actually because all we seem to do is
 eat chocolate and drink tea and surf My Single Friend for new members "before the other bitches get a chance to get their claws in" (her words not mine) plus she pays me cash in hand which is always a good thing for an actor.

I am sitting there sipping on my third Earl Grey when a man comes in and walks over to the cash desk.
"Hi I 'd like to buy this red bangle for my wife," he says and picks up a blue one from the basket.
"Great," I say, "But you do know thats its not red?"
He looks perplexed and then says, "Oh in that case I'll take this brown one," he says and picks up a green one.
"Ok, " I say," But just so you know its not brown."
"Well what colour is it?" he barks.
"Its green?"
"Oh for fucks sake," he shouts and throws it back into the basket and storms out. I am just about to run after him with a red bangle when Fellow Actress calls.
"Was it you?"  she whispers
"What?"
"Was it you who sent the paparazzi .Front page of the bloody Daily Mail?"
"No! What Paparazzi?" I say shocked that she would think I could do that to a friend, and even ,more shocked that she would think I own the telephone number of such an unsalubrious person
"Oh fuck. It can only be Clive then.Bastard. He said he wouldnt say anything" she snarls as I quickly log on to the Daily Mail website. There, right in front of me is a picture of Fellow Actrress snogging the face off a the aforementioned Film Star in a cafe in Primrose Hill.
" Oh god I've totally fucked up." she says, "My group won't speak to me,I've been banned, what a fucking nightmare!"
"What about the film star?And I thought you weren't drinking!?" I say staring at the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon on the table between them in teh photo.
"Yeh, well, it was a bit of a disaster. I feel really bad actually, I mean I just thought we could have a nice romantic glass of wine but he just went on a bender."
"Babe!" I say,"You're not supposed to have even one drink if you're an alcoholic!!"
"Well I know that now." she spits,"Anyway he's gone AWOL. His PA has been calling me non stop trying to find out where he is and he keeps calling from this crack den in Kings Cross begging me to come and "party"
"Oh God," I say and suddenly the thought of being with a nice man like Suit Guy seems infinitely more attractive.
"Oh.But there is some good news." she says and I can hear her smiling on the other end of the phone. "My agent says the phone has been inundated with calls to offer me acting jobs. It seems even Bad publicity is good publicity."

Thursday, 25 November 2010

SORRY!!!!!!!



SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY.

For Not having posted for so long!! You know that time I blurted out that I was writing a novel in a panic in that Radio Interview? Well it seems word has got out and it was reported in one of the Gossip Columns in the Mail on Sunday a few weeks back that"Harriett Starr, ex TV star, is writing a novel."

Hence, I have had to start writing a bloody novel. Goodbye life. Hello brave new world of authorism. Or autism.

So I have been writing this tome and actually, I'm actually really enjoying it, and you know what? Much to Fellow Actress's pleasure its actually really helping me get over Dom because the more I write about love and life, and people, the more I realise how wrong he was for me.

 (rule number one for Novel Writing recheck sentences for overuse of the word Actually!!)
 Oh and the last few dates that I have been having with Suit Guy have definitely taken my mind off things too....but more of that in my next post. (which I PROMISE will be this week!!...) 

Now, back to that Story Arc Spreadsheet...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

He's Just That Into You



Okay so I'm sitting on my own at the bar at Windows on The World , the restaurant at the top of the Park Lane Hilton, which Suit Guy suggested for our "date" , and I'm looking out at the view of the river Thames in it's illuminated splendour, waiting for him to arrive and wondering how the hell I am going to explain "that phone call" after Fellow Actress gleefully told me that there haven't been "crossed lines" since about...oooh...1989 (see the post before last for details), when my phone rings.
Its him. He must be calling to cancel. Great
"Hello?" I say all girly and coy
"Harriett, hi, it's John."
"Oh, hi," I say in my best surprised tone
He hesitates
"You did remember that we're meeting tonight didn't you?"
"Oh, yes, yes," I say trying to sound blaze. "I'm just in a cab right now," I lie, never appear too keen.
The pianist strikes up a showtune , Fuck
"Oh, right," he says, "Its just, you sound like you're in a concert or something"
"No, no, just ...the radio...hang on a sec," I put my hand over the speaker, "Could you please turn the music down ,mate"
The pianist shoots me a dirty look.
"Sorry, bloody cabbies,, I should be there in 10," I say
"Oh well, I'll be there in 5 so why don't I get you a drink?"
Fuck
"Sure, um, I'll have a Cosmo, " I say draining the last of my house wine and grabbing my bag, "see you soon," I say
"Can't wait."
I run out of the bar and into the ladies' toilets. A Thai woman sits there and hands me a tissue.
"Thanks," I say
"That'll be one pound,"
"For a tissue?" I say and hand her a pound from my wallet.I check my watch.
Ok, so I'm in here for ten minutes, I might aswell make use of my time, so I decide to "refresh" my make up , reapplying more foundation, mascara , blusher and lipstick. Oh and lip gloss.
"How do I look?" I ask the lady when I have finished.
"Beautiful. You look just like...whats the name? Katie Pliiiiice..."
I grab another tissue and frantically wipe off the blusher and most of the lip gloss.There's no way John is going to be into Jordan . He's all class. I need to be more Kate Middleton. I pencil in my eyebrows so they look thicker and more upper class.
The lady holds up a can of Ellnett. " Touch of this perhaps?"
Yes, I need hairsray, to give that swept to one side look that Sloanes have on the Kings Rd.
"Thanks ," I say and give myself a good old spray, noticing a slightly sweaty odour coming from my armpit. I grab the deodorant on the side o the washbasin and use it under each arm. I check the watch. 2 minutes to go.I apply just a touch more blusher and a smidgen of gloss,and a bit more bronzer and by the time I have been to the loo and washed my hands, we are just over the ten minute mark.
Not bad, Harriett, not bad
"Nice to meet  you, " I say to the Loo Lady
"£5 please."
"What?"
She points to the array of cans on the side. Bloody cheek. But I havent got time to complain so I slam down a fiver, and head out back to the bar,
He's sitting there, looking even more gorgeous in a dark grey silky Hugo Boss suit and his shirt open at the neck, and there is a Cosomo on the side waiting for me. He smiles when he sees me and my heart gives a little flutter, but not because he is so bloody handsome, oh no, it's the OCD, it's kicked in, and all I can think is, What if he has put Rohypnol in that drink?
"Hey," he says as I approach, "Wow, you look very ..glamourous,"
"Hey, thanks," I say cool as anything, and I kiss him on the cheek.
He hands me the drink.
"Oh, " I say, putting a hand to my chest, "Is this mine?" I'm so sorry but I totally forgot, I'm allergic to cranberries, silly me, Could I have a Marguerita instead?" I say fluttering my eyelashes at the barman
"Sure, " says the barman, "Would you also like to pay for the glass of wine you had before?" he barks and walks off to make my drink.
John gives me a funny look, "Must have me confused with someone else" I stutter.

Anyway, the good thing is we are taken to the restaurant and John tells the waiter to charge the drinks to the table, so I'm hoping that errant glass of wine will get sucked into the melange of fois gras and filet mognon I'm about to gorge myself on.
I pull the chair out to sit down , but the waiter rushes round and gets to it first, grabbing it from my grasp, shoving me in front of it and pulling it out so briskly that I almost miss the seat and land on my arse. He then pushes me under the table like a child so I can't escape and angrily flicks the perfectly arranged napkin from off the table and onto my lap in one swift move.
"Impressive," I say, John is already looking at the wine list
"We'll have the 1987 Mersault," he says and the waiter nods and leaves to get it.
"Lovely restaurant," I mumble looking down at my menu. But as I look at the leather bound masterpiece  frot of me I'm thinking there must be some mistake. Because unless this is some fancy kind of diet place where the diet is No Food, my menu is competely blank.
"I..I think I've got the wrong menu." I say, and I show him the blank page.
"Try the turning the page," he says, and I do so pathetically and lo and behold an array of platters leaps before my eyes.The waiter comes back over and pours the wine.
"Would you like to order?" he says
I'm looking at the scallops which are my all time favourite, but suddenly I cant remember how to pronounce scallop, is it SCALOPP or SCOLLOP the two words run around and around in my head,until I feel dizzy and my heart starts palpitating
"You go first," I squeak
"No, no, ladies first," John gushes smiling gallantly at the waiter who is tapping his pen impatiently.
fuck it, I've just got to go for it.
"I'll have the scallops," I say, figuring that if they're spelt with an "A" then that must be how they are pronounced.
"Yes," John nods, "Good choice, I'll have the SCOLLOPs too," he says and I litrerally want to throw myself out of the bloody window.
 I knew it was the other one, I knew it I knew it I knew it. Now he's going to really think I am as common as Katie Price .
"And for the main course, madam?"
"I'll have the filet steak," I say in shame.
John  is engrossed in his menu. He looks up.
"I'll have the Mushroom Stroganoff please," he says with a straight face slamming his menu shut
And  then looks at me from across the table, and gives me a cheeky wink.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The REAL Down and Out in Primrose Hill

 PRIMROSE HILL by LOUDON WAINWRIGHT

IMG_1831_kl


Living on the side


Of Primrose Hill

Drinking cans of Tennants

Just can't seem to get my fill

Got a beat up guitar

And a dirty old sleeping bag

And this mangy dog

Whose tail don't wag

Sun's been shining down

On my hillside bed

That's not the only reason

My face is so red

This nasty cut on my nose

Is not from no fight

I just fell down yesterday

Or maybe it was last night

And I used to sing and play

Down in the underground

But a few years back

They started cracking down

Now I'm living on the side

Of Primrose Hill

I'm no tourist attraction

But I give them a thrill




Yeah I see you

Riding by on your flash bicycle

Yeah they can do you for that on Primrose Hill

A pretty young mother goes by

She's pushing her pram

Her little baby leans out

Just to see what I am

From the top of the hill

There's a hell of a view

Houses of Parliament and London Zoo

Those politicians all chatter

They trumpet and roar

That must be what those hyenas all

Are laughing for

When you come up to London

It sure is something to see

It's somewhere to go

But it's no place to be

And there's two things

Keeping me from going 'round the bend

I got my music

And this dog for a friend

IMG_1859_kl

'Cause life gets slippery

When you're living on the side

Yeah I know I should quit drinking

But I haven't even tried

My mutt's licking my fingers

And I'm wetting my lips

I got a can of extra strong

And a bag of chicken and chips

If I had a little money

I'd get a few things

Like a bottle of vodka

And a pack of new guitar strings

I guess I could die here

On the side of this hill

I'm no tourist attraction

But I'd give them a chill

And I'm living on the side

Of Primrose Hill

Drinking cans of Tennants

Just can't seem to get my fill

Got a beat up guitar

And dirty old sleeping bag

This mangy dog

Whose tail won't wag

IMG_1843_kl
Many thanks to Bazza for bringing this song to my attention and to Loudon Wainwright for writing it.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

This little Piggy cried all the way home....


I am sitting on my bed, mobile phone in hand , rocking backwards and forwards like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and making a low moaning sound. The reason for my temporary (I hope) insanity? I've just texted Suit Guy. (After all your comments I decided to Go For It!! life's too short hey? )

Hi. Hope you are well? Just wondering if you fancied having that drink this week? I wrote.

It's been 10 minutes and thirty six seconds since I sent it and STILL NO REPLY.

Oh god, he thinks I'm chasing him, he's "Just Not That Into Me", I haven't played "The Rules" I forgot that "Men Only Marry Bitches" and now I am going to suffer and burn in Spinster hell on my own with a load of cats. I didn't even want to go on this bloody date anyway! I just did it because EVERYONE  forced me into it. (Thanks Alot Guys!!) The pressure. Da pressure.

The phone rings. I hold it to within an inch of my face, frantically trying to make out the number on the screen. (I haven't entered him in my Contacts yet. Or given him his own personal ringtone. Or allocated him a photo of himself to come up flashing when he calls.That would be for the second date, which is evidently never going to materialise after my Joan Collins maneating ways). I decide to risk it and  answer in my sexiest most "Couldn't -give-a-Fuck" voice.

"Hey?" I squeak, sounding like a mix between Mickey Mouse and Barry White

Hey?? Hey?? I never say Hey!

"Harriet. You sound strange. have you got flu?"

Fuck. Its Fellow Actress

"No! Look,I can't talk right now. I'm waiting on a very important call"

She ignores me completely.

"I need to discuss something with you. It's a total emergency"

"But..."

"You know how I went to Andy's sister's wedding ?? The big Meet The Parents and all that??"

"Oh .. yes! How was it?"

"Fucking disaster."

Oh dear.

"Didn't they like you??"

"No. No, they loved me!! No, in fact, his dad  was a keen Amateur Dramatic and he kept dragging me off to chat to me about acting and all that. He made me sit with him throughout the entire 3 hour long champagne reception and we talked all about Shakespeare and Chekov"

"Three hours," I gasp, "they must be loaded!!"

"They are," she moans, "Which makes it even worse because...because...I'll never have him nooooow.." she wails

"What happened?"

"Well," she sniffs," The reception finally ended and we went back to our room to , you know, "freshen up" before dinner and I, you know, got really horny all of a sudden and well, things got a bit steamy and we just shagged EVERYWHERE, on the four poster bed, in the bathroom, on the mahogany writing desk, and finally we got a bit carried away and felt a bit riske so we opened the windows and we did it as i looked out to the hills, all the guests milling about below, oblivious to what we were doing, and it looked like I was just getting some fresh air as I still had my dress on, until, until... "

"Until What.."

Oh bloody hell,I haven't got time to listen to Fellow Actress's boasting. I need to keep the line free.

"Well, I suddenly felt a bit queezy, it was his dad's fault, constantly topping up my glass with all that bubbly. And well,before I knew it I was chundering. Out of the bloody window....."

Oh no.

".....onto the hog roast below which was being prepared for the wedding party."

"Oh God,"

"I know."

"Thats awful, " I say. "Did they still eat it?"

"I don't bloody know!! I grabbed my stuff and legged it. Hitch hiked all the way back to Westbourne Park from the Cotswalds.I ruined his sisters wedding. He hates me!! And so does his mum, amd even his dad I bet."

I guess thats the last I'll be hearing about Andy then.

"Oh Harry ," she bawls, "I was going to marry him. I was going to be somebody's wife.Finally."

"Thats ok." I say, "He sounded a bit intense anyway."

"But I liked that!! He was just like me!!!But with a penis!!" she moaned.

I can hear the sound of call waiting beeping in my ear and I pull the phone away and take a sneaky glance. Its another mobile number. Could be him. I press hold and return to her.


"Babe," I say, "I'm really sorry but I need to take this call.Listen, its fine, we've all done it, if it's meant to be he'll love you no matter what. Even if you did puke all over his sister's hog roast while he was shagging you from behind!Look, we've all been there. I once gave one guy a blow job shortly after I had eaten mushroom stroganoff and it made me gag so much that a bit came up and there was a mushroom balancing on his Jap's eye!! He still called me the next day! It takes alot for a guy to go off a girl once you have them interested. TRUST ME."

"Really?" a somewhat surprised male voice on the other end of the phone pipes up.

Oh My God. What have I done? It's him. It's Suit Guy!

"Oh, hey, John."

"Hey Harriet," he says as I pull my knees into the foetus position and bite down on the duvet.

"Did you hear a really wierd crossed line just then?" I say weakly.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I Got 99 Varieties But A Man Aint One


    So I'm in Sainsbury's contemplating whether to go for Cream of Tomato or Chicken on the old Heinz Soup/ Poor Actor's diet ( Dr Atkins eat your heart out...much cheaper and far more effective, I've lost a stone in three weeks), when Fellow Actress calls.

   I've not heard from her for a while. She's been on the lay low for the last few weeks whilst I've been in my play,  probably licking her wounds and making voodoo dolls of me for having "stolen" her dream role. I've been dreading speaking to her to be honest and was hoping this temporary divergence in our paths might become more of a permanent chasm.
     I am almost about to press "cancel call", when I remember the time I did just that, only to turn around and find that she was actually hovering behind a bush and watching me from down the road, "testing" our friendship by seeing what I would do when she called. I failed the test and God did I suffer for it. I take a deep breath and press answer.

"Hi!" I say bright and breezily, glancing around me furtively .

"I'm in LOVE," she announces dramatically.

Here we go again.

"I'm fine thanks," I say, "thanks for asking.So you still with the Non Lesbian lesbian?"

"Oh god no,darling. That ended weeks ago!"

" But you only met her last month?" I say,somewhat confused

"Er yeh, well, actually it never started. She er..she got a boyfriend," she mumbles.

Aha. That old non lesbian lesbian trick.

"So, is this just a man then? Or another woman?" I say cagily

"A man ,silly!! That was just experimentation. And this is not JUST a man, this is The One.We've spent every second of every minute of the last three weeks together. I am 100% smitten." she sighs dreamily.

"Thats great babe," I say, trying not to reveal the envy in my voice." I'm really pleased for you"

"I mean, he's even introduced me to his parents and everything.And...he's taking me as his plus one to his sister's wedding this weekend. I think he might be popping The Question."

"Isn't it a bit soon?" I say

"Harry. Darling.When you know you just know."

 I know. That is the problem.

"So.Hows things with you?" she asks , "Whats happening in your love life?Have you been out with Suit guy yet?"

"No" I mumble

"Whats wrong with you he sounds great?"

"I don't know, I'm scared maybe"

"Of what?"

"That he might be boring, that I'll have to sit through an hour of agonising small talk, that he'll expect me to understand things like bear markets and influx management growth funds"

"Harriett," she sighs and pauses for dramatic effect, " I may be your friend but I am now going to give you some very good advice in the shape of two words. MOVE ON."

"Thanks," I say grumpily

"I mean it. Dom is with Betty now, he is never coming back. Never. Do. You. Understand? In the words of that twat from Big Brother. Comprendez??"

"I know," I sigh, "I know."

But i don't know atall. I don't want suit guy, no matter what he does with his eyebrows, I want Dom. I love Dom.

"So I want you to sit down, make a cup of tea and dial Suit Guy's number and agree to have a drink with him. OK?"

"OK," I say meekly

"Good Girl," she says, and I stare at the shelves of tins wondering what tomato and oxtail would taste like mixed together for a bit of a change, when she adds..

"Harry, men are like Heinz soup, there are 57 varieties and you've got to try them all."

"Where are you ?" I say, frozen to the spot.

"Aisle 14. Condiments and sauces," she says

And I turn and walk to the end of my aisle, and there she is, her mobile phone to her ear,grinning like a Cheshire cat,  "Congratulations , my friend, " she says in a crap American accent, "You have passed the test."

Friday, 1 October 2010

It's All in the Eyes (and the Eyebrows)

So that's it. I've finished my 4 week (extended might I add...) run as Drug Addict Extraordinaire in The Play (Angelina Jolie eat your heart out) and its back to the doldrums of unemployment on Primrose Hill.


It has been an interesting few weeks. Not least because I have found that I am actually quite good at playing an angst ridden drug addict, but also because I finally managed not to shag my leading man for a change, despite the numerous opportunities I had.(hoorah!)

It has also been full of surprises, like the time when I get to the bit where I'm supposed to "turn the lights on" on stage , and the Stage Manager presses the wrong switch, plunging us into complete blackout. There is a saying that all actors need to do is "say your lines and not bump into the furniture," but , trust me, that's alot easier if you can actually see where you are going.

Or the time when we are told, halfway through the play, that Kevin Spacey is in the audience and we both totally forget our lines and have to improvise most of the second half (luckily the director isn't in so it doesn't really matter anyway...).

Or the time I am taking my bow, on my last night, and notice, to my astonishment, that cute CEO guy from the office is sitting in the second row.

 Later after I have transformed myself from Junkie to Harriett (ie washed my face), I come out of my dressing room and he is standing there at the bar, on his own, drinking a shandy.
I try to walk past unseen but its too late. He has already spotted me. He waves. I sidle over

"Didn't thing this would be your kind of thing?" I say

"To be honest it's not, but I saw it reviewed in Time Out and thought I'd give it a go." he says. "You were good." he adds, sounding somewhat surprised.

"Thanks" I blush

"So I take it you didn't fancy that drink then?" he says and does this funny sort of twitch with his eyebrows.

 I know that twitch.Where do I know that twitch?

"Aha. So thats why you came...?" I wink knowingly and give him a nudge.

He looks embarrassed and twitches again. "Er...no..actually. I didn't even know you were in it.." he murmurs.

Oh

"I didn't even know you were an actress."

Oh

"What did you think I was?"

"A receptionist?"

Oh . Yeh.

"Yeh, well sorry about that,I've..er..I've been a bit busy and , well, I'm not sure I'm up for drinks and dating and all that ..you know..."

He looks disappointed and I feel this wierd mixture of pleasure at pissing off a man ( hence destroying part of mankind, albeit a tiny non deserving part) and , well, just sadness.

And then he does that eyebrow wiggle again and it dawns on me. I know exactly where I've seen that before. MR BIG does it!! To Carrie. In Sex and The City.
And just like that, I think, Fuck it, fuck Dom and Betty. Its time to move on. Its time to meet a real MR BIG and not pine over a Mr Not So Big Atall actually. and I say,

" You know what. I would love to go for a drink with you." and I scribble my number down on a beer mat and hand it to him, sling my bag over my shoulder, then head out of the door and back down the road to that special place where only a chosen few can venture. A place where all your wildest dreams and your worst nightmares can come true . "The Land Of Resting Actors"













"

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ode to My Understudy





An Ode to My Understudy




Dear understudy this I write to make you understand

That I'm the actor with the job that you are trying to land

It might sound rather brutal to someone who doesnt know

But noone except me would know the lenghths to which you'd go

I know you’d kill to do this part,but didn’t realise

That killing me to get the role had actually crossed your mind

I understand it must be hard for an actress who is older

But please refrain from being the Grim Reaper at my shoulder

I know you have frustrations yes you’ve made them very clear

But airing them in front of me is not a wise idea

You see the more you moan about the fact that you’ve been wronged

Just makes me even more determined to never let you go on

I’ll drag my bleeding limbs to work if that is what it takes

For nothing in the world would make me let you on that stage.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

To Fly Or Not to Fly? That is the Question.

Whoever came up with the well known phrase, “Never work with children or animals” surely cannot have meant to have included such species as a mouse and a fly, both of which I had to endure on stage this week . Out of the two ,the fly has been, I would say, the most annoying, simply because I  have found it’s arrogance worse than some of the male actors I have worked with, and that is no mean feat let me tell you. It has been flying around the stage thinking it is the star of the bloody show. Upstaging us all by buzzing noisily and flying up my skirt or landing in Sexy Fellow Male Actor's hair during his important speeches. The final straw came a few days ago when, during the curtain call, the cheeky little mite flew in and landed inbetween me and my leading man, just in time to take it’s bow (well, its become part of the cast by now). However its glory was short lived, as I did what any self respecting vegetarian yoga loving actress would do and stamped on it . I was ecstatic, as were my fellow actors, until the next day, when as I made my entrance in Act One, I saw the fly circling the curtains with a new found velocity and strength.


“But how can this happen?” I moaned to my colleague, “I killed it yesterday!”

“Oh, its not the same one.” he replied, “That’s its understudy” !

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Freak Show Must Go On



Oh God. Yes, well it was going to happen wasn't it. First I get a lead actor who I hate, and now I get one who  is so drop dead gorgeous that I can't look him in the eye. Is there no middle ground ever? Plus we are working all hours god sends so that he can catch up in time for our First Night on Tuesday (argggh!!!)

They've also brought in an Understudy for us both , in case there are any more "accidents". Mine is a six foot ex model from Chelsea who is very beautiful and totally ruthless. She has already asked if she can pay me to have the night off a few times so that she can go on. I said no, thats not what she is here to do. She is here to cover me in case I get ill, and the minute I said it, I could see she was hatching a plan. Bitch. I'm going to have to keep an eye on her, I don't trust her. She's the type that would put cyanide in my tea just so she can have her big "moment".

I never thought I'd say this ,but having been back in the theatre for the last week or so,I'm actually starting to miss the office.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Once more and with feeling please (or No Pain No Game)


I know I may not have had the best run of luck when it comes to men, but it truly takes the biscuit when you cant even get on with your stage husband.So it is unfortunate for me that the man I have to kiss passionately every night for the next three weeks, who I have to declare my undying love to, is a small, balding French man named Pierrot who is actually the most dislikeable and creepy guy I have ever met .

Firstly,his years of physical theatre training at the Theatre de Complicite in Paris , (as he keeps reminding me), have turned any form of subtlety and nuance into blatant "Panto acting". There is no real emotion or feeling in his performance, just a hell of alot of "expression",

And what's worse is, not only does he take himself way too seriously, but he is also extremely camp, and although the theatre is the one place where you are allowed to suspend your disbelief, you'd have to be really fucking stupid if you tried to imagine that we were lovers, unless I strapped my breasts down and cut my hair short.

No matter how much acting skill  I put  into pretending to love this man in rehearsals, imagining he is Brad Pitt, Don Draper, Jude Law, as I stare into his hard cold eyes, its just no use.There's not one drop of love or affection between us.And I'm afraid its starting to show
 
 So the next morning I decide to get to the theatre early to try and have word with the Director about this,before Fellow Actor arrives. But Loverboy is there already discussing with him ,over a cup of tea,the pros and cons of Laban ( which,I had thought was an area of my genitalia until recently) or some other equally useless profound acting "technique" thought up by some out of work actor.
 
The Director spots me lurking by the door and takes this chance to call me over and give us a few notes whilst he has us on our own. He sits us down and kind of looks at the floor , tapping his foot furiously and then says

" Well, what can I say?". And I fumble with my script and wait with baited breath.

And then he simpers and says, opening his arms for dramatic effect,

" The chemistry between you both is lovely. Really lovely"

Whaaat?? Maybe I'm a better actress than I thought!

and then he adds tritely, "Perhaps a touch more pain from you both?" and jumps up and says

"Time for another cup of Tea??"  just like that.

Thats it? I think,and I sidle up to my dressing room feeling more bitter and twisted than ever.
 
So once everyone has arrived, we go through Act 1 again, and now , to indicate his "pain",Mon Amour has started doing some kind of silent movie style, hand- to- forehead gesture,and keeps staring into the distance furrowing his brow like Joey Tribiani in "days of Our Lives" .I've had enough now ,I'm just going to look really shit if he carries on like this, I think, and I can see the director is looking a bit uncomfortable and thinking What have I done??,


So I grab him in the next tea break and pull him over to one side

"Is that pain enough for you ?" I ask him loading the sentence with hidden meaning without out and out saying, "How can we get him to STOP!". Its hard trying to be professional and pleasant whilst being a bitch about a Fellow Actor ,but its a skill most actors seem to perfect throughout their career.

" Oh my," he sighs,"Between you and me, Harry, this melodrama,Its getting to be a bit of a problem isn't it?" He leans in conspiritorially."Harriett, dear", he says, "you're a professional actress with a good name in the biz. And tons of experience. I was just wondering, is there anything we can think of to ..how shall I put it, make this better?"

What? Short of a recast. I think

"I'll see what I can do" I say

So when we get to rehearsing Act 2, and the bit where we have The Turbulent Argument, rather than letting him perform it like a soliloquy, which is how he's been playing it, I decide to force him to look at me and react to me, going all out to show my passion and angst as I lurch towards him, and grasp his shoulders intensely so that he can't physically move , but this takes him by surprise and his legs buckle underneath him (core strength non?) suddenly causing him to lose balance and tumble off the stage, taking me with him.

"Aaaargh!", he shouts as I collapse on top of him.,
 "Good good." claps the director., "Much better.Shall we break for a nice cup of tea?"
But the guy is screaming loud "Stop the shooooow" he shouts
I look around at the empty audience . He really was taking this very seriously.
"My leg" he screams. "My leeeeeeg!! And his face is contorted in agony.

"Morphiiiiine" he bellows "I need morphine" and he grabs his leg .

Whoops. I don't think he's acting .

Ten minutes later and he is in the ambulance which is about to drive off when he shouts
"Stoooooop!!!" and dramatically announces to the onlookers on the street
"MY make up!! "he says . "I cant possibly go to the hospital in make up. It is ridiculous". He says puffing away at the old morphine. And the make up artist is summoned and runs out with some wet wipes and frantically dabs at his face as the sirens go off.
"Somebody call my boyfrieeeeend. I have no credit on my phooooone.." he screams as the ambulance doors slam in his face.

Thank god. I think. They'll HAVE to recast now.


But the next day I roll up to the theatre and, to my surprise, he is there,his leg in full cast proudly standing on crutches..
"Are you going to be Ok like that?" I ask suspiciously.
"The show must go on". he says, victoriously.
Does nothing stop this guy? He is like a machine.

Three days later and we have completely rewritten the script to incorporate the broken leg. The director is pissed off, the writer's pissed off and the rest of the cast are pissed off, and then I walk into rehearsals this morning and sense a strange sort of atmosphere in the building. I'm doing my vocal warm up in my dressing room (ie fag and coffee) when the director announces through the tannoy that he would like to have us all onstage for a meeting.

When we are all gathered round, he calls for silence and then says,

" I'm...er...I'm  afraid we are going to be losing Pierrot. He has unfortunately got  go to hospital again...but this time its for ..a..er.."

And I see Pierrot look up for a second. And the director just throws his script down, in despair and looks at me and shrugs  and says
"fuck it...he has to go into hospital; because he has an Abscess on his penis.There I've said it. Pierrot is having an OPERATION ON HIS PENIS!" he shouts, and I can see he suddenly feels liberated.

And I've never seen anyone move out of a room so fast on crutches in my life.

The question is, and its one I ask myself frequently, who will be the next lucky man to play my Lover, now that he is gone?

Monday, 9 August 2010

Some Parts Are Bigger Than Others


My agent has just called . I was rather surprised to hear Christmas carols playing in the background given that we are only in August but it didn’t shock me too much. Nothing does with him these days. If I took one ounce of what he said to me seriously I would probably be in The Priory by now, a QUIVERING  nervous wreck . Sensitivity is not one of his strong points shall we say.
"You've got the part" he said
I am stunned into silence.
"The drug addict part?" I mutter in astonishment.."but, but, I was ..so....so..."
"Bad" is probably the word I am looking for
"Apparently you were brilliant. You were, and I quote "angry,edgy and with a very realistic air of depression and desperation" exactly what they were looking for the director said."
I sit there jaw open in amazement. Fellow Actress is going to be gutted.Her plan to distract me totally backfired. Yipeee.
"Oh, and they needed someone who people recognised from the telly" he says, and then screams
"Down Prancer,down!"
"Sorry?" I say, "Are you talking to me?"
"No, its these silly reindeer.....good boy Dancer, thats better"
"How much?" I ask
"Equity minimum darling. £300 a week, its a three week run. Oh and rehearsals start tomorrow, be at the theatre at 10.30am"
Merry fucking Christmas.
"Gotta go and feed the boys. Be fabulous" he gushes and puts the phone down.
OMG. I am officially an actress again. How the hell did that happen?

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Life's a Bitch and then you Become a Writer


So I'm in the queue at the Post Office to post some more banal things like headshots of myself and my illustrious acting CV and other such narcissistic items, to potential power hungry employers, when my phone rings.

"Hi there,all set? We are going live in 50 seconds? "

"Going live? S..s...ss...sorry," I say with a stutter and a nervous laugh,"What do you mean  "Going Live"?"

The woman on the other end of the phone sounds slightly stressed " Radio Ashurst? Remember? Your agent said you had agreed to do it!? We are interviewing ex Soap stars who played "the Villains" on their respective TV shows. "

I can't remember actually. But that doesnt surprise me. My agent has a tendency to forget important details like asking me if I want to do something or not. Its something he and I are working on.

"Right well....."  I start, but its too late, I am suddenly listening to the dulcit tones of Radio Ashurst's daytime DJ introducing me against a background of Luther Vandross.

"Hello Harriett!" he bellows," Thankyou for joining us"

"Its a pleasure!" I bellow back,

"Not interupting your busy schedule I hope?" he says

"No, no, just having lunch with my agent" I say charmingly, and the man in front of me turns and gives me a funny look.

"So Harriett, you played the Villain in a Soap on Primetime TV for a number of years.Tell us more"

"It wasn't a soap it was a TV drama" I say sweetly trying to hide my annoyance at his downgrading of my career

"Suuure" Mr DJ gushes."Anyway,tell us,Harriett, do you think you are anything like your character?" he guffaws

I'm sorry,do i think I'm a bitch? Er...let me just think about that for a second....

"No" I say calmly, "It was a part I was paid to act out"

"Yeh, thats what they all say" he shouts and laughs heartily.

ha ha ha.

 "Soooo, can you run us through what happened in your storyline again? I mean she had quite a journey didn't she?"

"Well," I say sighing and then taking a long, deep breath to prepare the rattling off of "The Storyline", which i can now do off by heart, I begin.

 "She had an affair with her friend's dad, had his children, and then drowned her sister in the Thames when she found out she was pregnant with his love child ,got arrested, fell in love with her inmate who was actually a voodoo witch and put a spell on her, which she broke by doing the 12 steps in AA where she met the man of her dreams, and finally she met a sticky end when she was bulldozed by an errant  lawnmower whilst on a weekend break in Cambodia with his brother."

The old lady standing behind me grabs onto her shopping trolley to steady herself.

"What a gal " the DJ says smarmily

"Yeh, she was a total bitch" I say

And there is Silence. Oh god. I've just said Bitch on Live Radio.

A few more seconds of silence , which on Radio time feels like hours, and Mr Funny who has obviously been told to "wrap it up" quickly by the producer, comes back with a hurried,"Well, Harriett, thanks for joining us,and oh what are you up to at the moment? Any new projects you'd like to tell us about??"

Shit.Fuck. Bollocks. Quick, Harriett, Quick,Think. Whatever you do you must not utter the career ending words "nothing." Think. Think. Think.

"I'm er, I've er just written a novel" I blurt out

Whaaaat?

"A Novel? Thats fantastic! Will it be on our bookshelves soon?"

"Yes. yes it will indeed be published soon" I say through clenched teeth.

"Can you tell us what its about?"

"Er.No. No I couldnt possibly. Its a secret" I say coyly.

Great . I am now officially writing a novel. My mother will be so pleased.

And the old lady behind pokes me in the back and points to a bored looking postal clerk sitting there, waiting for me .

"Till 3 love.You're next"

"Must go!" I scream into the phone. And hang up and go over to the window.

" Can I send these first class please?" I say plonking down my six brown envelopes

The man's sullen face suddenly lights up

"Recorded delivery?"

"No thanks", I say breezily,"Just normal post"

"Do you want them to get there next day? For this we recommend recorded delivery. Guaranteed to arrive on time"

"No thanks I just want normal mail" I say again, trying to be polite

"Ah, but is safer recorded delivery, better for valuable items. What is the value of your contents?"

I stare at the brown envelopes in front of me , containing my sad sorry, dead end career and I  lean in so close that I can actually see the condensation of my breath on the partition window.

"No value." I say slowly and firmly. "Absolutely No Value Whatsoever." And I bite my lip to stop the tears."Just first class please, that will be all"

Friday, 30 July 2010

She Kissed a Girl and She Liked It


So I'm in this audition for a new play which is making it's debut at one of the new studio theatres in the West End. Its about a drug addict and the relationship she has with her family. If I get this part I will be playing the fucked up junkie with emotional issues. Its every actress' dream part and I'm feeling pretty confident, and then I see Fellow Actress walk in and my heart sinks. She spots me and waves then comes over to sit next to me.

"Hi" she gushes disingenuously "didn't know you'd be here!"

"Yes you did!" I snarled," I told you last night on the phone! You didn't mention that you were coming to the same meeting" I say suspiciously

She makes some thespian hand gesture, "Oh,darling, I must have forgotten.To be honest, babe, I've spent the last three days in a K hole at Secret Garden Party. I don't know where the fuck I am" she says flippantly and casts an eye around the room.

Is there no integrity in this business? I think, Even between friends? I look her up and down. She does actually look like she has spent three days at a festival, and hence absolutely perfect for the part. I'm doomed.

She sits down next to me and takes out her script making sure I see how laboriously highlighted and annotated it is. For someone who has been off their head for the whole weekend she has been very diligent in her pre audition script analysis.I glance down at my own sorry pages which are lightly smattered with the odd adjective scribbled over the dialogue to guide my performance. Sad. Angry. Pained.

She's so going to get this.I think to myself as I watch her read through the script, silently mouthing the words to herself. I might aswell leave now. And then I have an idea.I'll try a different tactic, I'll distract her and talk to her about her favourite subject. Herpes Guy.

"Oh I'm not with him anymore" she says breezily and smiles serenely , " The risk of contraction was too high," she says and then adds, lowering her voice, "although., Harry, between you and me, I think I might be immune anyway. Think I might already have it" she says and points at her nether regions.

I wince and the old actor sitting next to us, who I recognise from being in Jackanory many years ago, coughs and shuffles away from her slightly

"Anyway,I've met someone else"  she exclaims proudly

"Thank fuck for that" I reply. "Whats his name?"

"Charlotte"

"Thats a strange name for a boy" I say

There is silence.She raises her eyebrows.

"Oh" I say

"Yes.I am officially a lesbian" she announces to the room. A good looking man in his thirties looks up and gives her a flirty look.

"Oh" I say again, and there is more silence. "Well, babe, if Lyndsay Lohan can do it....."

"You know, Harry, its wierd," she says, shaking her head," I mean, I've had a few girly snogs here and there in my time but, I dunno, this is different."  She puts her script down and gives me an intense stare.

  "I can't stop thinking about her. I've checked my phone about a million times today just to see if she's texted me and its only 11 oclock"

"Well, has she?" I laugh

"Well, no, and its driving me mad, but I guess its a bit tricky. I mean its hard enough waiting for a guy to text. Does he like me? Will he call? You know, the ususal?"

I nod , I know only too well

"But this is on a whole new level." she continues," Its like, a) Does she like me? And then b) is she even sure she wants to be a lesbian?,"

"She's not a lesbian either?" I say somewhat confused

"No"

"Oh"

"You should try it" she says,"It's the best thing I've ever done"

I sigh hopelessly and put my script down. " I have thought about it actually" I say, lowering my voice " I mean, I'm sure having a relationship with a woman would be a lot easier than with a man, but to be honest its the physical thing which worries me.Even if you gave me a snorkel and mask, I just wouldnt be able to dive a muff"

She looks at me in disgust and then stares away into the distance with a worried expression.

"I do know what you mean actually. And in all honesty, I'm slightly concerned too in that respect. I mean, between you and me babe, you know how much I like cock"

She looks slightly distressed until she catches the eye of the sexy actor guy whose attention is now fully focussed on our conversation and not on learning his lines, and flutters her eyelashes at him,

I feel even more confused.

" Ah well,there's always the Dildo" I say patting her arm comfortingly as I try to erase the image in my head of Fellow Actress standing naked with a strap on.

The gorgeous actor looks back to his script and she scowls and changes the subject

"So, anyway, hows it going with you on that front..I mean, whats going on in your lovelife?"

"Oh its ok" I say, " I might go on a date with this guy I met at work"

"From the office?"

"Yes.He kind of asked me for a drink the other day. He seems nice" I say half heartedly " And he has a job and well, he is quite handsome in his suit"

"Hmm" she says," be careful, I once went on a date with someone who was wearing a suit and when we met up he was wearing a shell suit and had BO. He asked me what I wanted to drink and we ordered a bottle of wine, and then he told me that was the first time he's ever drunk wine.I'd imagined he was some sort of High Powered Exec, but apparently he was the guy who did the photocopying. Its hard to gage these days. "

"No" I say, "Its fine, this one is a CEO"

And I see the dollar signs flash in her eyes. Then she leans in, "He sounds great...... Why am I sensing a "but"?" And then, as if she is reading my mind she says.

" Heard any more from Dom and Boring Betty?"

This is why I love her.She can read me like a book.

"Nope. " I say, " I don't think it is serious though. I think he needs to just do his thing for a while, you know, play the field, and then he'll realise what he is missing"

She looks at me with pity.

"She's a loser anyway", she says brightly, "She writes things like "Miaow" on his Facebook page"

"How do you know?" I ask

"Oh, I just know" she says  winking uncomfortably

"How do you know???" I say once more with a stern voice

"He's one of my Facebook friends"

"Didn't you defriend him?!" I say , shocked that she hasn't informed me of this before.

"No babe! He's a producer. He might be good for my career"

Et Tu Brutus.

 We sit silently listening to the shrieking coming from audition room

""Miaow" you say?" I say, after a few minutes.

And we both look at each other and start to laugh, and then it dawns on me,

"Oh God" I say,

"What?" she says, with a look of horror

" His pet nickname for me, you know "in bed" was Kitten"

"Thats original" she sneers " So?"

" Well what noise do kittens make?" I say, and she thinks for a second, then grimaces and holds my hand

"Oh,I'm Sorry babe. Look, he's a loser if he cant even come up with a different pet name for his girlfriends and anyway look at you, you're amazing, you're beautiful, talented, famous. Its totally his loss"


And then the door opens and they call her in to audition. She thrusts her iphone into my hand.

"Here" she says, "Go for your life" and she does a few warm up exercises before throwing the script down on the chair and entering the room like Norma Desmond.

I look down at her iphone and for a second my finger hovers over the Facebook app as I contemplate the horrors I am about to reveal to myself. I shouldn't, this is stupid, destructive behaviour, but then before I know it in one easy click I am in her profile, and like a crack addict looking for his next hit I frantically search her friends,until I find him. There he is Dominic Harris. And my blood starts to boil as I click on his profile and read all the lovey, dovey, sickening messages she has posted, on his wall ( who posts shit like that on their own boyfriend's Wall anyway, saddo??)

And by the time I am called in to do the audition I am ready to kill someone.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hooold On

Did he just sign that email "love Dom"?

Easy tiger

So here it is, the email I have been dreading for the last few days

Hi Harriet

How funny bumping into you like that.

Funny? Hilarious.

Sorry I couldn't really chat, but I didn't want Betty to feel awkward

Poor Betty

I hope all is well with you and hopefully see you soon

Love

Dom

Not so scared of commitmenet now are we?.


Is it too early to have a vodka?


Dear Dom

No worries. Good to see you, glad you're happy.

Harry

ps Is it serious?

I know, I know, but I can't help it

Dear Harry

Its just easy. She can take it or leave it and thats kind of where I'm at right now.

Sorry

Dom



Easy? Easy!! 

I may have been called many things in the past by men. High maintenance, dramatic, emotional, mad, fun, sexy,crazy,trouble, tricky...the list goes on...

But never ever have I been called Easy. Now where's that bottle of Grey Goose.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Definitely Give Up the Day Job





Okay. So its my last day in The Office today as I finish my week as a temp and  I can safely say the "Office World" is far more cut throat and bitchy than any film set I have ever worked on.

Don't get me wrong, the first few days were great.Whereas my usual day would consist of rolling out of bed in time for Loose Women, this week I have been up at 6.30am,  springing into work every day feeling " alive and inspired" ,  the theme tune to Rocky playing on my ipod, imagining I am a Power Bitch from Wall Street as I flutter my eyelashes at Cute Men in Suits ,on their way to "Very Important Meetings"

But after six days, the novelty has worn off and I'm worn in.

Lets talk about Sally, the bitchy PA to Head Boss . Head Boss  is a 67 year old, South African, money making machine who drinks ten coffees a day and mutters to himself alot about calculations and figures. Sally is his Personal Assistant and is like something out of "Mean Girls". She has the smile of an Angel but the eyes of a psycho killer. The first time I met Sally, by the coffee machine, she was moaning to the rest of the girls in the office that they didn't make trousers small enough for "her size" ( oh perlease).

Sally has a penchant for "online shopping" which fits nicely into her day, inbetween touch typing a couple of letters and filing her nails.Sally is a spoilt bitch because Sally never actually likes any of the things she buys so she has to post them all back to the bloody places she got them from and because Sally is SO BUSY doing bugger all, guess who she gets to carry all her boxes of rejected Percale Bathrobes and bamboo fibre lyrcra training outfits back to the Post Office ? Yes , my job description has miraculously changed from Receptionist/Office Assistant to Skivvy. And because I need the money so much I just have to smile sweetly and say "Of Course,Sally".

Well, until today that is.


It seems word has spread around the office of my stage and screen career pre Receptionism, and Head Boss has heard the news. Today, instead of marching past my desk oblivious to my presence except to bark orders at me for another espresso, he stops and wanders over, pushing his hair (or whats left of it) through his hands.

"So you're a film star" he says trying to lean on my desk in a charming manner , and I nearly fall off my swivel chair with shock.

"Well, I did a bit of telly.." I say shyly and giggle. I don't usually find OAPs attractive, but Head Boss is one of those that you could actually fancy despite the Tourettes.But then I am quite desperate at the moment.

 "How do you know?" I say, fiddling with my Post Its

" A little birdy told me" he says and winks at me.

I blush and try and reduce the Facebook page on my screen without him noticing

"Anyway, I was intrigued" he says " And so I googled you"  He looks directly into my eyes ,
" And.....," he continues as he looks me up and down, "Well, Harriet, I mean, you're a lovely looking girl anyway, in real life, but I found your website and By God you are one attractive lady. You must be beating the men away" he drawls, and I can see by the look in his eye that he has seen the pictures of that shoot I did for FHM in 2003 in nothing but my underwear and actually , thinking about it if he's going to trawl cyberspace for stuff about me, then he's probably also seen the one the Daily Star took of me getting out of a cab, where they had managed to shoot in between my legs,take a close up photo of my gusset ( and this was in the days before Brazilians) and circle it, superimposing a mobile number on top and words which said " text this number if you want to see whats behind the circle".

He leans in and stares at my tits. I feel slightly uncomfortable now.

"You know, Harriet, I was a child actor" he says proudly. "I was in 39 episodes of  a South African show, Behind the Bush. Very popular" he adds, and winks at me again.Or maybe its a twitch, I can't tell.

And for the rest of the day , everytime he passes me he bellows "Film Star!", and when I bring his coffee to him he announces to the office, "My god, I have a celebrity serving my coffee". And when Sally asks me to carry yet another  box to the Post Office, he butts in.

"No, no  no" he says. "We cant have Harriett lifting boxes, she's a Film Star"

 And the look on her face says it all as I shrug apologetically and say, "He's seen some stuff about me online"

And she bares her teeth like a dog going in for attack  "Yeeeees," she says says with a forced smile, "I've seeeen it too" And  then she purses her lips and shakes her head with insincere sympathy and adds "The internet is just not your friend , is it?"

And I smile back sweetly as I think to myself, Well at least I'm on it

And as I return to my desk, box free, I notice cute CEO single boss looking at my bottom just that bit too long,.Oh god, I think, he's probably just seen the screen grab of the topless scene I did for that BBC Drama where I was wearing nothing but a mirkin. And I scuttle past blushing.

Later as I pack up to leave, CEO Boss, who is actually called Brian (Whaaaat!?! Who is called Brian these days?), walks past my desk and stops, turned back and said

"Today's your last day then?"

"Yes" I say

And he nods, and looks like he is deep in thought , then says, "Well, you know my number if you are ever around for a drink." and he walks towards the mens toilets .

Wait til I tell Fellow Actress.

I am on my way home ,when I nip into the Ladies' toilet and hear a retching sound .Someone is blatantly throwing their guts up , so I hover outside doing my lipstick in the mirror until they stop puking and I hear a flush and Sally walks out of the cubicle, somewhat surprised at my presence there.

So thats how she keeps her figure, I think to myself

"Everything OK?" I say as I look at her with fake concern
And she frowns and says "Yes,yes, must have been something I ate"

"Oh dear," I say, "Foood is just not your friend is it?" and I turn and leave.

And as I walk out of the office building and through the throngs of bleached blonde,GHD straightened , stiletto heeled secretaries, looking for their Rich Prince Charmings to whisk them away, and the cockney geezers flashing Rolexes and shouting about deals into their mobile phones, I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to realise that whether you are an actress or a PA the politics never change, and they all began in exactly the same place .The playground.

And then I see him. Commitment Phobe Ex, standing outside the Trocadero, kissing a girl, and I try my best to dive into Starbucks, but its too late, he's seen me too.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Nobody Puts Baby in The Corner

I went for an audition today for a commercial. My agent didn't send me up for commercials for a long time after I left the show. It wasn't seen to be the done thing. But times are hard, so I have started the whole cattle market of commercials castings, something I thought I'd never have to put myself through again.

Its an advert for some electronic computer game and I have been told to look "pretty and fresh" so I wash my face and put on a floral summer dress and skip off to sunny Leicester Square where I am to meet with The Casting Director at 12.35 pm.

Don't act desperate, Harriet, I tell myself, as I walk towards the door, they'll smell it a mile off. You don't really need the money, you don't really need the money.

 YES YOU FUCKING DO !! the voice in my head shouts back at me

"Hello" I say brightly into the the intercom, "I'm here to see..."

The door buzzes opens before I have a chance to finish.

"Thankyou" I scream into the buzzer in an "extremely  jolly manner", just in case, by some divine intervention the receptionist has any say in whether I get the job or not.

There is a deadly silence at the other end.

"I am special, I am loved, I am worthy, I am successful, I am talented " I repeat to myself as I climb the stairs, pausing at the mirror at the top of the first flight to repeat my mantra to my flushed and slightly out of breath reflection.

I take a deep breath and walk into the room and look around. Fuck me, its full of young, stunning, model looking 17 year olds. There's one thing trying to look fresh and pretty at the age of 35, but no amount of Estee Lauder Double Wear and Touche Eclat can compete with these nubile creatures. I'm fucked. Game Over Mate. Might aswell pack it in right now and become a drama teacher if this is what I am up against.

I fill in a form anyway, and go and sit next to a really, really tall, thin, beautiful girl...and her baby. Yes. Not only is this girl young and beautiful, she also has a baby. Now I'm really depressed.

Just then the Casting Director comes out  of the studio and calls out a name. And then it happens. She spots me and stops and stands there staring at me and in a VERY LOUD VOICE says " What are YOUUUU doing here? YOUUUU'RRREE not supposed to be here until 2.30. Thats when we are auditioning for the mums, deeeear"

And she summons an Elle Mcpherson lookalike into the room

 My cheeks go bright red as I see a couple of the other girls staring at me and I wonder yet again why I put myself through this and then the baby starts crying and I look it and sympathise because I know exactly how its feeling, and then I look at her mum next to me who is flicking through Heat magazine  and totally ignoring her child and I say

"Excuse me. Your baby's crying"

And she looks up and stares  into the pram and says in an Eastern European accent

"Oh, no, she's not mine.She's her's" and points at a girl who is chatting away about herself on her iphone in a loud voice so that everyone else can hear.

And then tall, beautiful girl adds, woefully,

"I wish she was. I wish I had a baby"

And just for a moment , in that hell hole of a waiting room, she is no longer "The Enemy", we are no longer  just two more pretty, blonde actresses (albeit  several years apart in age).

We are two women wanting the same thing.

A baby

I smile sadly at her and get up to leave, when a young 17 year old with a Birmingham accent taps me on the shoulder.

"'scuse me but weren't you in that TV show for ages? "

I blush and nod

"Oh my god.What are you doing here?" she screams innocently, "Shouldn't you be in hollywood or somefink by now?"

And I get my things and go.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Bigmouth Strikes Again




So the hiring out of my flat for a filming location turned out to be less lucrative than I had anticipated, leaving me, after repairs with approximately £51.61 pence to my name.

Its back to the drawing board.

I call Fellow Actress


"Temp?" I offer up



"Can you actually use a computer?" she asks



"Yes of course I can" I say indignantly



"No, I don't mean Facebook, I mean can you do spreadsheets and what's your WPM?"



"My what?" I thought that was that Gym class I always avoided



"Words Per Minute"



"Oh" I say and shrug , " I Dunno..ten?"



"My point exactly.They aren't going to want to employ someone who will actually add to their daily workload" she tuts. I've never seen this condescending side to her before



Anyway, all is not lost, as she then goes on to tell me there is a lady called Mavis Beacon who does an online typing course and within 24 hours I have trained myself  to type up to 40 words per minute.Bravo!

 I sign up with a temp agency and as luck would have it they have a position for me at a Hedge fund company in Mayfair which starts the next day

"Thats pretty quick" I say, somewhat impressed at their efficiency

"Well, actually the temp who was going to do the job dropped out at the last minute. She got a part in Eastenders"

Lucky Bitch.

So I am officially a receptionist as of Friday.

However, I realise, whilst flicking through my wardrobe that my range of Office Attire is very limited. In fact I only have one suit, and that was in case I ever got an audition to play an "Office Type Person". I put it on and it dawns on me that I can't have had an audition for that type of part since about 1990, when pinstripe was still a fashion statement.

For my feet I need, black, shiny and high. I've seen Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl. Again, the only footwear I posess of this description is akin to a dominatrix lapdancer's shoe that I had bought for my Saturday Nights out clubbing with the girls.

Oh Well, my feet will be hidden under the table most of the time.I think to myself. Its fine. Its all FINE.

So on Friday morning I squeeze myself in with the other commuters , an experience akin to Hell on Earth, hop off at Piccadilly and stride jauntily down from Green Park, admiring the wildlife, and the men in their Saville Row suits (phoar!)

I get to the door of my office and bend over to change from my flip flops into my "work shoes" and  as I do the door opens and a man walks up behind me.

"Morning" he barks

I jump up. "Hello" I say red faced and see a rather dashing Mr Big-alike, but in his late thirties, standing before me.

He puts out his hand " I'm Nick. The CEO here"

He's cute. I check for wedding rings. Nope. Bring it on.

"Nice to meet you", I say, You've just seen my arse I think to myself, My new, handsome, single boss has seen my knickers. Great.

"You must be our new receptionist" he smiles, and stares down at my pole dancing shoes. Probably having flashbacks of his last time at Spearmint Rhino's.

"Yeh. I'm Harriett" I say trying to lift his gaze, "What is it exactly you guys do here?" I say sounding blonder than Blondie.

"Invest hedge funds?" he say. And before I can stop the word from falling from my mouth I flutter my lashes and say

"Major"

MAJOR! MAJOR? SINCE WHEN DID I EVER SAY MAJOR HARRIET "POSH SPICE" STARR????

He gives me an amused look and mumbles something about needing to do an aquisition and runs off.

Great. There goes my chance of marrying a rich man and being able to not work for the rest of my life.

Three hours later and I'm well and truly settled in at my desk. I'm queen of the office. Surrounded by all the Nespresso cappucions I can drink. All the Facebook and email access I could ever dream of. World Cup playing on the Big Screen . Maybe I could even start writing my book. Okay, it's only £8 an hour but I Am In Heaven.

The Office Manager comes up to me with a pen and paper

" Can I have your autograph please? Ive never met anyone off the telly before". She says

"Of course" I gush as I sign the paper with a flourish.

 "Oh and can you make sure the Board room gets fresh tea and coffee?" she adds

"Sure." I say , coughing and shuffling some papers ingratiatingly.


 I leave at 5.30 with a senmse of satisfaction.

"This is what working people do". I say to myself with  a curious feeling of satisfaction and I make my way to Green park tube to join my fellow Commuters again.

 It's only when I get to the tube that I realise I am being followed by a paparazzi. Apparently he’d been waiting around the corner for Peter and Katie at the Mayfair hotel and recognised me.

" You won’t get much for your pics, I assure him. I’m not exactly famous anymore."

"You'd be surprised" he says and although I feign annoyance at his snapping I am secretly pleased I still have worth. In celebrity land.

Its only when I get the phone call from Fellow Actress this morning as I sit at my desk watching Homes Under The Hammer and drinking a Nespresso Espresso that I understand .

"Have you seen the pic of you in Heat mag?" she screams.

I smile to myself smugly. This will really get on her nerves as she has never achieved the level of fame that I have and obviously the cachet I still have.


 "You're In the What is She Wearing section???" she cackles." Pinstripe!! Oh my God, Babe!? WHAT were you thinking!? "

Thanks. Friend

"Nice shoes though" she adds

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Money's Too Tight to Mention. So Please Don't Mention It, Thanks.


It’s been two months since my last acting job, playing a leading lady in a play in the West end, and hence my last source of regular income has dried up and the nasty shock I get when I check my bank balance this week means that I need to act. And failing that , I need to act fast.




I make a list of Things To Do To Make Money and read them out to my friend the Fellow Actress, who is the best person to advise on such things as she has had a plethora of jobs since drama school, not many of them involving acting.



"Waitressing", I start off with



"You're in your thirties" she pipes up



"And?"



"It's a bit "Tarantino" isn't it?"



"Yeh, 'Spose so " I concede, picturing myself in a white diner waitress unifform, with a perma tan and bright red lipstick, chewing gum with a pencil stuck behind my ear, and actually kind of liking it.



"And, anyway, people might recognise you," she continues."Bit depressing if someone says "Aren't you that girl from the telly?" and you say “yes” and then you have to ask them what they want for dessert"



Yep. She was right. Next.



“Promotional girl?”



“ But you used to do that before you got your part in the TV Show remember.You hated that!”



“Did I?” I say surprised.



“Yes! Don’t you remember that time you were supposed to be promoting hair dye and they put you on the Haemmeroid cream aisle by mistake? That poor guy, his anus will never be the same” she tuts



I cringe.I’d forgotten that episode. I cross it off my list.





"Look," She continues, "Let’s think about this rationally.You need to take a look at what your main skills and assets are, and then utilise those to make a bit of extra cash. What would you say you are good at?"



"Writing?"



"That's even harder than acting to make a living from" she snaps scornfully



"Yoga? I'm good at that . I could be a yoga teacher?"



"Don't you have to train for three years?"



I feel deflated.



"Hang on" she says, and my spirits soar again, "Don't you own your own flat?"



I look around my living room, my haven of peace and joy in a world full of hate and envy.



"Yes" I sigh happily, "Yes , at least I have that"



"Hire it out" she says



"What?"



"For film location work! You're an actress, you know that TV companies are always using people's houses for filming.."



I look around my flat. She’s got a point .It's a nice flat. I mean I like it, but am I biased? Am I like a mother who thinks her 9 stone 8 year old could be the next Kate Moss? I mean its kind of quirky, but what if it doesn’t make the cut?

After a few nervous phone calls and several hastily shot pics on my iphone, I have signed up with an agency. Just like that, my house now has an agent. So, to add insult to injury not only am I sitting by the phone waiting for my own agent to call, I am now also waiting for the house's agent to call



Two days later the location agent rings ( which, might I add, is sooner than my own agent)



"We've got someone interested in seeing your house. A cookery show. Can they pop over this evening to have a look?"



"Sure.” I gush .” Cookery you say?" I ask, as I open the grimy oven and quickly slam it shut , hoping that they won't look in there.

They don't and the next day they call me to tell me that my House has got its first acting job.

"£1000 a day plus overtime" the agent tells me.

How is it a house can get a better daily fee than an actor? I ponder to myself

"Great" I say



The next day a production team come over to do a reccie and a Very Camp Man with a handlebar moustache, wearing a pink satin suit with diamante cufflinks, barges in, ignoring my presence and points to my Osborne and Little feature wall.



"We'll have to paint that blue" he screeches at his assistant,



"And That" he says pointing at my dining table,"Will have to GO."



Go? Go where? I want to wrap his Paul Smith cravat tightly around his neck and it's only Day One

.

He dribbles ever so slightly and sucks it back up like Hannibal Lector as he says with an Essex twang, gleefully rubbing his hands together,



"And I want Pot Plants and Fruit, EVERYWHERE, partout, comprendez?"



Two days later, I am £2000 richer, but with two scratches on my mirror, a broken door handle, a faulty Sky TV box, and black marks all along the kitchen wall I fear most of this will be spent on restoring my flat to its former beauty. I need compensation or else I will be poorer than before I let this evil man into my house. I approach him about this and he folds his arms defensively



"Wasn't us" he says defiantly



"Well, it wasn't me" I laugh in disbelief



"Wasn't us" he says lugging the ten ton of lighting equipment out of the the french windows and scratching the pane of glass as he goes



"It was!" I shout at him, secretly wanting to cry



"Prove it" he spits as he comes back in for the Pot Pourri



"Get out of my house NOW" I shout, and manhandle him to the front door.



"It took us four hours to clean your oven" he shouts back at me as I push him out of the building



There is a god after all, I think, as I slam the door in his face.