At uni in Cardiff my mate Mike and I, mainly because we were twats (and actors, these things go hand in hand) used to refer to people we didn’t know as extras or supporting artists. I’d be all ‘hey boyo’ (one can’t help but pick up the lingo) ‘you at welsh club? Is anyone there? Should I come down?’ and he’d be like ‘yeh a couple of faces, but mainly extras… I wouldn’t bother mate, stay in bed and watch the O.C.’ So I would….
London life in all it’s cinematic glory is full of them, the general public or G.P – hired at great expense by God’s own casting director to clog up the transport system, the streets, coffee shops, bars and offices. They give this little set I like to call Earth some substance, thus enhancing the overall production values of this little movie I like to call Life.
But lately, since I started reading books about spirituality (because I am perhaps STILL a twat, albeit a more enlightened one) I’ve been making a conscious effort to connect with the humanoids and make Joe Public my friend. The Indian dude who wrote one of the aforementioned books informs me that we are all ‘children of the universe’ – I like this, for a moment it makes me feel like one of the blue people in Avatar and then suddenly I feel guilty that we don’t make enough of an effort to recycle. As an only child (read as: reason for being a massive twat) this notion of one large family excites me somewhat so I head out on onto the neighbouring streets of Dalston (read as: another reason for being a massive twat) for a spot of jogging.
There’s something liberating about jogging, the idea that you are just ‘zipping through’ is emboldening some how, so I begin my assault on the notoriously unfriendly people of London with a few wry smiles. Nothing major- just enough to say ‘I see you there brother, fellow child of the universe, let’s connect’. Some people smile back and most don’t seem to mind, apart from one guy shopping with his girlfriend who seems to think I’m giving him ‘the come on’ – no bother, I just run a little faster to get away.
Overall I’m inspired by the generally positive response so I decide to give it a little more… a toothy grin if you will. Of course, being January, it’s balls cold so the grin is a little forced and post Christmas I’m pretty unfit so I’m panting, no, wheezing. Fortunately, as I hit the home stretch the iPod shuffle gods select my soundtrack- Siouxsie and the Banshees and I find myself ‘walking on sunshine’ all the while grinning inanely through clenched teeth, panting, sweating and shivering my way down the street. A lady outside the post office gives me a look in which I detect a trace of concern, a bus driver laughs, a child buries his head in his mothers thigh and then I nearly get hit by a car. I try to laugh it off, but coupled with the panting I forget to breathe and have to stop and put my head between my legs. I decide to call it a day. I walk home wondering whether I would have got a better response in California, after all, displays of unbridled joy are not commonplace on wintry London streets. I’ll try the good people of London again in the summer, I’ll also try and save up for a flight back to L.A.