Work

Currently, I work in a theatre, as a TV extra and as a reviewer.

Theatre

I work as an usher in Wales’ première centre for the arts and opera house. lah-dee-dah.
The pay’s not amazing, it’s part-time and my prospects aren’t particularly appealing.
I absolutely adore it.

Different crowds bring in different audiences.
I get a massive kick out of a well-received show, standing ovations and the like.

There’s a myriad of staff who work there.  From a pool of over a hundred ushers/ticket office/tours staff, to the many different sectors that keep the place ticking.  I only know a small percentage but there are so many different personalities and stories, there’s always new things to learn about people and new stories to hear.  In the three years that I’ve worked there, I’ve only met two people I did not like – both of whom have now gone.  That’s it.

It’s not particularly challenging, that’s a problem, but it’s not without its stresses.
Though there can be periods where you’re doing nothing (while a show is on), the periods you are busy can be quite intense, as everythingmustbedonerightnow; one problem and everything falls behind and everyone gets angry because each person is oblivious to the needs of the other few hundred people wanting to get to their seats/be served.

As with any job that has you dealing directly with the public, it can highlight the general need to be incredibly rude and ask daft questions. (If you walk up one flight of stairs to level one, I will accept thinking it’s level two, but not believing it’s level four. It happens).  The more respectably perceived the show, the higher chance of rude people you will encounter.  It gets on a lot of people’s wicks, but generally the ruder the person, the funnier I find the encounter.
I am a (sickeningly) polite person.  So, unless I’ve made a particularly large blunder, the chances are if you’re being rude to me, you are a particularly large twat, and your rude behaviour is completely ridiculous.  I’ve avoided a bad encounter so far, but believing you’re a better kind of person because you regularly go to certain shows in expensive clothes is a hilarious thing indeed.  Don’t be offended by them, laugh at them.

One thing my job has taught me is the difference between the genuine rich and the wannabe rich.  There are exceptions, but generally the genuine rich will have time for you, will not be offended if you don’t have change for a £20 note in your small change tray, will ask for directions when looking lost and will not react with disgust if you ask to see their tickets.  They also go to these shows because they want to, rather than to be seen at the shows.

I do need to think about my future, what with the big three zero hurtling towards me, but it’s hard to want to look for something else when the country has few jobs on the go, and you’re currently in one that you love. sigh.

TV Extra

This is immense fun, but nowhere near as glamorous as people think.  I also don’t count myself as a proper Extra.  Also, it’s actually called Supporting artist, but whenever I try and say it I say “Supporting Artiste, Dahling“.

My love of this job is that it is always different.  My agents have hundreds of people on their books, and many shows draw from more than one Agency’s books, so there are always new people and unfamiliar faces, new stories and new personalities.  As well as at least one familiar face to not feel nervous around strangers.  Every job is different, though a few locations may reoccur, there’s always something different going on.

As you can tell, I am not a fan of routines.

There are negative aspects; Ricky Gervais’ show may have been exaggerated, but the stereotypes you’d have seen in that show are real.  One of my favourite stories is being sat at a table with two middle-aged extras, one who was attempting to chat up the other, who was looking at me with eyes screaming “help!” and in the midst of his bravado actually said the words “Oh, but this is just a sideline. I’m an actor really.” I didn’t think anyone actually said things like this, and the two of us had great difficulty not laughing out loud.

Of course, many extras are, and though this was just one example of the torrent of bullshit he came up with, there are many, many people looking for their big break.  I am not one of them, and I am very much in the minority.  I’m only on two agencies lists, and one I haven’t heard from in years.  Clearly, I have a face for radio.  I could not do it full time, however.  There are routines involved after all, and those are usually the conversations about what else you’ve been in – which usually leads to instant “OhIWasInThat”s or hurt expressions that they weren’t involved, or worse still, the ever-present conversation about how bad the food is.
Now here is a gripe.  Those of you who don’t know the world of the extra, when we get food, unless we’re at a studio with a canteen, we get catering which we share with the crew and the actors.  As a result, this food is awesome.  Work canteens present you with packaged sandwiches and spooned out slop that reminds you of school dinners.  We are lucky enough to have the choice of three meals, usually including a la in the title, with sauces that you find in restaurants and a choice of mouth watering desserts.
Nevertheless, I cannot remember the last job where the food was not brought up and 90% of it is negative.  I find this baffling, and those of you who sit at your desk with an overpriced spar sandwich you barely had time to queue up and buy let alone eat would be livid at the scale of moaning because their glazed pork chop was a little chewy or that the freshly prepared Fajitas didn’t have enough chopped bell peppers in. Shut up! Try living in a world where everything comes with mayonnaise!

ahem.

Oh, stars you say? Yes they are there. But we don’t really get to mingle. It’s not enforced, but with the general amount of nutters about actors are usually quite separate to the extras.  You might think it’s elitism, but while there are different reasons for the CEO of your company not chatting all day with the cleaners, the cleaners wouldn’t be taking sneaky pictures of the back of the CEO’s head to put on their facebook and say LOOK I’M FIVE FOOT AWAY FROM SOMEONE YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD OF! I can’t lie, it is nice having people get excited about me working on the same show as someone ‘famous’, but my respect for these people stems from being good at their job, and if the CEO was good at his job, I wouldn’t want him to sign my ass or something I could sell on eBay, and  even if you do appreciate what he does, would you tell him “I just thought you should know that I think you do your job really, really well.” and get excited he was really down to earth about it.

I say that now. But if I got to work on something with Brian Blessed I’d probably lose my shit. Anyway. This is something for a blog on celebrity, something I’m sure I’ll waffle on about at length. (yeah, this isn’t at length. you have been warned)

Reviewing

This is also something you can read about elsewhere on the site, or best of all – on the sites themselves.  I write for Rocklouder.co.uk and for Rockmidgets.com. Currently, the sidebar should have a scrollable list of a shitload of the reviews I’ve done for them. Please have a look for your favourite band, if they’ve picked up an electric guitar I might have covered them, and you can get back to me here to say how right I am about Frank Turner and how much you hate me for loathing your favourite generic radio-rock band.

Despite my love of writing, I had never even considered being a music reviewer, until a gorgeous online friend of mine sent me the link for Rocklouder.  I hooked up with them and then a few months later a Myspace bulletin from Rockmidgets called for new writers.  It’s been like that for years and I love it.

I don’t get paid for it, but get to keep the promos I receive, so it’s as good as the albums I receive.  I don’t share them online, and I don’t sell them on eBay, because I’m not a dick. And you’re not going to ask me for them, because you’re not either, I hope.

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