Poster Campaign
Wed, 14 Mar 2018 06:49:00 +0000
I recently have been asked to appear on a poster campaign. I know, me. On a poster. Not for the first time, though, but this time I will be presented at bus stops and train stations and not on the back of a door in a dressing room covered in dart holes and a badly drawn moustache.

I was approached because they needed gravitas. Someone the public would trust, would extoll a certain wisdom, a wisdom gained by age and experience, an implied, unspoken wisdom one can only accumulate by the passing of time. Also Joe Pasquale was busy.

It's not the first time I have been hired for a promotion. One harks back yonder to Spurgiss' Fruity Chews (before the health scare), Germann Toffee and the seminal work with the Bolton Carpet Wonderworld.

Let me start by saying the Bolton Carpet Wonderworld was tricky. It's difficult to be sage when one is constrained by forty two seconds, and it's not helped in your characterisation when one has to fit in the benefits of a new shagpile or tiled carpet, the tremendous savings and opening hours of local retailers. There must be an underlying confidence for the public to latch onto that this man (me) wants only what is best, that his advice is sincere and heartfelt and not that it's some old fart with a rug fetish.

When I did the BCW promotion, I knew nothing about flooring. I knew about floors, obviously, but further examination held revelations. In fact, and this is what amazed me, is there is not one part of my or anyone elses' life which has not involved floors. From leafy glade to the antarctic to a plane or the stage at the Royal Theatre Frampton, one is almost beholden for floors as somewhere to put your feet. The sheer influence of floors on our lives is unparalleled, and probably as vital as oxygen, sunlight or souvenir theatre programs. Yet floors, decks, boards are largely unappreciated and this, to me, is as close to criminal as it gets.

During the run up to filming the promotion, I looked at all sorts of floors, and was determined to make more people aware of our low level friend. At a party, I remember speaking at length to Ian McKellen, and while I was educating him all about mezzanines, he said he had to hurry off to an Iron Maiden concert but said to be sure call his agent to continue the conversation. I am not surprised he is so busy though, but one will continue to try and find a window in his schedule to continue this discussion. I make a point of calling his agent on a regular basis, no matter how often they change the number.

The Bolton people were delighted with my enthusiasm. As I regaled them with my new-found awareness they listened almost transfixed, before thoughtfully backing my venture into the research 'We hate to keep you from further fascinating discoveries' they said 'Please, go and find out more. Now'. The 'now' was particularly telling, and I felt as a lecturer might feel when the ignition of thirst for knowledge has been turned in the mind of a student, and the engine roars into action. Go I did.

Fortunately, my role in Space:1999 had not be reprised, and I could concentrate on this vital work. Floor Awareness. Books were read, articles were written, t-shirts were printed, rejection letters were received (apart from a brief extract in 'Psychiatry Today'). Bolton Carpet Wonderworld were relying on me, and I would not leave them wanting. When I returned to their offices, four months later with red eyes and a bedraggled look after intensive research, many of the senior managers I had been dealing with had been too frightened of the ignorance they had had, presumably because this would be a professional weakness competitors would pounce upon, and when I found them hiding behind a dumpster in a neighbouring car park, the startled look in their eyes spoke volumes. Three of them tried to further disguise their achilles heels by attempting to scale a wall or run off over the dual carriageway (tragically).

I gave a brief talk, with slides, about our under carpet allies, before concluding and opening a question and answer session. I had obviously explained all the science and techniques to a depth that satisfied my 'students', as they sat there dazed and glassy eyed at the sheer volume and complexity of my oratory. Now, when I do their commercial, I could speak with authority and expertise.

The ad ran inbetween two editions of The Galloping Gourmet, and I like to think people tuned in specifically for my sparkling endorsement of The Bolton Carpet Wonderworld. I know I did.

This new poster campaign is of course similarly researched, and I feel confident it will see an upsurge in interest and purchase of Galmonds' Suppositories.
Technology and the Actor
Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:44:00 +0000
One of the nice things about being an actor is one gets, occasionally, to become part of history. I have to say 'The Vision' was one of the finest things I have ever been involved with, featuring the latest technology. Let's be honest, theatres have been around for centuries – people sat in seats staring at a hole in the wall while the brave don costumes and strut about, saying 'thou foul entities' or 'The hound, Watson' or getting in a frightful pickle when the husband returns home early for his trousers.

My role in the show was that of Dr Nuemann, a worried scientist whose concerns about the evil machinations of the robots proved to be well founded when they crushed civilisation and decimated humanity. It was the probably most ambitious creation Newquay has ever seen. The production boasted a robotic Thora Hurd, an holographic Sir Lawrence and a cyborg Les Dawson in a dramatic and tension filled soiree into a dark, dystopian world, marred only when the butler droid fell off the stage and crushed the first two rows.

I was so impressed by the fast reaction of the emergency services, although I did find it somewhat galling that the reviews were quite so positive about their output, hardly mentioning the actual play at all.

One has the internet now, of course, and one thing I sometimes do it look up myself using one of those 'searching engines'. Of course, it's a delight to read about oneself on the screen, knowing full well anyone on the planet can access this information and reviews, although they may differ from myself in that I have the 'safe search' on, blocking abusive content.

I have always been interested in technology, ever since I purchased my first calculator in 1973. I well remember going around showing Roger Moore what eight plus nine would be and the square of the hypotenuse. Roger was not that impressed, looking back, and seemed to prefer hiding in a laundary basket. I took that Casio with me everywhere, dinner parties, openings, awards ceremonies, showing the great and the good division, multiplication and square roots, right up until lovely Penelope Keith snatched it off me during a rather involved demonstration involving pi and stamped on it.

The attitude of the actor towards technology has to always be open to the possibilities it presents. Many years ago, a play involved the floating head of a holographic Richard Burton appearing on stage to narrate a story. Up until then, it was virtually impossible to use the severed cranium of an dead actor in a production without concerns being raised regarding taste and hygiene.

I sometimes like to imagine what productions my image will be used in in future. I have already specified that my corpse be donated to Silent Witness, and those who I have told this too have commented that cannot wait for my postumous debut.