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
"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.
“ 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?"
"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
"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.