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?"
"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."
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



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


'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

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"


"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.


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


"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"