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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Living the life backwards:Part two: Comedy to Drama?

 This will be the final entry of this blog in this incarnation, its the end, but the moment has been prepared for. I left my previous entry on a bit of a cliffhanger, but life and adventure for good or ill got in the way. So, every good storyteller, needs to come to a conclusion. This is mine.


Years 21 to 23


There is a certain magic to Scarborough, which is very hard to put your finger on. I found that from the moment I entered Flat 2 trinity Road, a two bedroom flat for 40 quid a week and the power on a coin meter that things were definitely looking up.  I put my head down and focussed on one thing, GET THE B.A. I resolved that there shall be no women, no drink, no drama but a concentrated focus on studying. 
It took me 4 months to start a relationship with a former page 3 girl whose idea of a chat up line was to show me her nude pictures, which she kept in her purse. So girls, if you really want to pull a guy, let him try before he buys.
 I got my Degree, I also wrote most of hers. I made wonderful friends and was so grateful that I was enjoying life, that I saw no reason to leave. 
In a related misadventure, the former page 3 girl was kidnapped by a Saudi Arabian and recovered from the chloroform just in time to jump out of a moving car halfway to Heathrow.  I saw her at Graduation, where upon my mother enquired to my Stepmother, how her "throwing arm" was while glaring at said former page 3 girl with the recently shaved head, courtesy of her kidnapping ordeal. Coincidently, it was also the first time I realised she wasn't a natural blonde. I felt cheated. 
I was in a good place, I never should have left.
 While I was deciding my future I met and fell head over heels in love with a beautiful Girl from New Zealand. A brave backpacker who saw through my bullshit, actually asked me out, saw snow for the first time and generally, we made each other happy. We had a brief stint in Oxford, a beautiful city, inhabited by psychotics masquerading as eccentrics and eccentrics masquerading as students. 
I didn't like it. I had about seven jobs, that ran the gauntlet from stock boy, herbalist, supervisor, manager and gypsy. It was at the Kiwi Princess's request, that we returned to Scarborough, to try and recapture the magic at any rate. Those last few months were bitter-sweet. There was a Calender counting down to when she would return to New Zealand. Every day crept closer, every day I felt a touch off loss, but I never let on. 
 I regret playing it cool. I regret not getting on my knees and asking her to stay. In fact, when we had our first Transatlantic phone call, that was the first question she asked me. "Why didn't I ask her to stay?"
 I eventually made the Journey to New Zealand six months later. We broke up inside a week. 
 I rationalise, that because she was not happy, I made the right choice to brave a country I knew nothing about and with no income, no support, no friends or family. 
 It became an interesting adventure at the very least. 
 Auckland is a fascinating city in New Zealand's North Island, upon my arrival I needed two things, money and shelter. So, to cut a long story short, I became a male escort.
 Did you see that one coming?


 "K" Road in Auckland is home to the prostitute's union and a vast array of sex shops, massage parlours and sushi bars. Occasionally all three would converge. I remember distinctly, an Asian client hired me to provide escort for his daughter to a business function. Nothing so unusual in that, except I was more or less there to make sure that his daughter was not violated in any way as she lay naked on a table whilst covered in sushi. 


 You might want to read that again, just to get the jist. 


Contrary to what people imagine, sleeping with your clients is not compulsory. You make up your own rules, mine was simply a "no penetration" rule. It has been pointed out that it could be taken two ways, but it basically means, I'll French kiss you anywhere, but no tickler. The clients ranged in age from 16-60, the lonely, the bored, the high powered, the thrillseekers, the downright weird. 
 One of my last appointments was to escort a young lady on her first family gathering after her sex change. I must admit, that the bravery of this young soul was amazing. Formally known as "Brian" and re-introducing herself as "Evelyn" she was charming, bright and petrified that she would not be accepted. She also had one hell of a right hook. 
 The gathering was designed by Evelyn to re-integrate herself to her family. She had not seen them since her decision and now that she was complete, she wanted nothing more than to be part of the family she missed desperately. I still can't imagine the loneliness she must have gone through as his body changed week in week out to a her. Then facing a final operation with nobody to greet her on the other side. 
 Most of Evelyn's family accepted her, specifically her sisters and parents. It was her brothers and cousins that began a slow clap as her great uncle produced a bible and started a passage in Latin, that I later discovered was an exorcism prayer. I was but a bit player in this drama, but it was the unique insult of "SheFag Fucker" aimed directly at me that prompted one of the most pitch perfect knock out punches I'd ever seen from somebody in a dress, or from anybody else for that matter. 
 It was from talking to Evelyn about family that made me realise how much I was missing mine, I had just turned 24 and had moderate success as an actor when I wasn't escorting. The other notion that struck me after a birthday alone was that I did not under any circumstances want to spend Christmas alone. I said goodbye to my former New Zealand Princess, who seemed happier, and arranged the flight home. 
 As I sat on the plane, it occurred to me, that all of the events felt as if it had happened to somebody else. 


Years 24-27.


Essentially, this part of my backwards life ends at 27, mostly because I was somewhat burnt out and tired of always being on the go, looking for that next adventure. 
 After an ill fated return to Scarborough where I cost myself a fortune and had to go cap in hand back to my folks, who had actually moved house when I was gone, something they always threatened to do, but I never took them seriously. I'm glad they told me the address. 
 Coming home was odd, I had never really explored where I came from, to be honest, I was bitter. I had gone so far,  yet here I was back where I started. I somehow metamorphosis into an overgrown teenager. I could not have been pleasant to deal with. I ranted about failure, raising money for drama school, bemoaning my loss of independence, the loss of Romance and the indignity of having to get a "proper" job. It's weird, how you're always more mature away from your folks.
 I did take a job and my world was brightened up, as it always is, by a girl. A sweet, innocent dark haired beauty with broken hips and a controlling father. I was with her for 18 months and we behaved like a couple of teenagers corrupting each other for the first time. She calmed me enough, that I started planning my next move. A proper practical acting course, where I would finally get a lot out of my system, attack my ambitions armed with information.
 She was also my rock when my stepfather had a heart attack or three.
 It was just after Christmas, I was due to start an evening shift, my mother had planned lunch at a Thai restaurant. As a family, we had not been getting on, my plans had rocked a recently established boat, as I had scarcely been home since I was 19, they were worried about losing me again.
 After we ordered, I was worried about being late for work, my father started showing all the signs of a classic heart attack. I should have known better, but I thought he was pretending. It's something I will never forgive myself for. It became obvious, I phoned the ambulance, calmed my mother, phoned the work to tell them what was happening. I was perfectly calm, until I had to verbalise the words "Heart attack". Then it became all too real. 
 In that one painful moment, that realisation that we could lose him, I think I actually grew up a little. I thought about the years away, the selfishness, the ambition that overrode sanity. I wished to God, I had never left home.
 As in all dramatic moments, an element of comedy arrived. The waitress, somewhat oblivious, placed my father's order in front of him. He glared at her with a look that could freeze napalm and simply said "I don't think so". Then in-between waiting for the ambulance, my mother tried to pay the bill. To their credit, the manager refused and spent time calming the three of us.
 My Step-father survived. I later heard that he had a new paramedic with him in the ambulance, who was panicking. My father had to guide him through the procedure,whilst in great pain. Later still we were informed that they could not knock him out to administer the clot buster and he was awake throughout. 
 They sure as hell, don't make them like him any more.


I had an angel with me during that time, the girlfriend's father also had had a heart attack a few years earlier. We had a bond there, she healed me, her strength allowed me to be there for my mother and father as they adjusted. Her strength became mine, which is something I will never forget, which makes my treatment of her a little unforgivable.
 I had abandoned my plans for Drama School, I wanted to spend time with my family, however my father was not pleased and encouraged me to go. I found the perfect course in Newcastle and asked the Girlfriend to come with me. She said yes, then she said no.
 I was on set for a BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, playing a medical Student when I received a text telling me she had changed her mind. The course was arranged, a new job was arranged, a flat was arranged. We had even gone down twice to get a feel for the place. I was angry as I typed "lets call it a day now", but I never pressed "send". I was called to film and placed the phone in my pocket, flicking the "off" switch as I went.
A few hours later, I had made up my mind to move to Newcastle, but maintain the relationship. I turned on the phone. I found I had actually sent the text.
I had broken up with an Angel by text Message. I was officially Scum.

The decks had by cleared by accident or design. New city, New course, New friends, New adventures. At 27 I went to Newcastle and never looked back, what happened there could fill a book and maybe it will one day.




Who you are is defined by your memories, an actor, writer or artist even more so. They are the fuel that drives you, inspires you. Never mind what you "Should" be doing, take a clue from a man who in a short space of time, failed at being "normal" but succeeded in being himself. You don't have to be married, mortgaged up, raising children or climbing the career ladder, unless you want too. Its your journey, for good or ill, for comedy or tragedy, embrace it, create with it. Your life is the gift, not anybody else's. I feel like I've lived a life backwards, because I kept going forwards. Read into that what you will. 


So, this Blog is changing in the next few days, I have a specific project I want to concentrate on and a Blog shall be its chronicle. So say Goodbye to Darqueness Falls and welcome "SkyLark's Call".


Yours in Scare's and Dare's .


J.D 








Sunday, 22 August 2010

Living the life backwards.Part one.

I'm in the bubble, old enough to know better, young enough not to care, damaged just enough to feel guilt.
By this time in our lives, we are supposed to have achieved certain things. The career, the house, the car, the family and the ability to give back.
I would like to think I am the only one who gave up these traditional things, in favour of an "interesting life", but the reality is, those off us with an artistic bent need to be fairly untraditional at times.
This entry is not so much for me, but for the people who strive to understand why they are not "the same" and struggle to pigeon hole themselves into normality. Here's a breakdown off my attempts to be normal and why they went awry, in short: My life backwards.

1st september 19(cough, splutter)
I am born dead, the doctor takes one look at my mother and slaps me on the backside to start my breathing. A trend is already developing. My father is not present, he had something to do at the office. I am placed in an incubator and turn a deep shade of brown to compliment the jaundice. I am a colorful character already.

20th September 19**.
My mother has numerous encounters with an Indian women in the infant ward, because she could not tell the difference between me and the small Indian child she kept picking up. My father buys me a stuffed monkey called Charlie before finding something to do at the office.

Years 0-4.
My father's job involves moving house every six months. My first home was in Fife. I am an accidental fifer, please don't hold that against me. I entertain at house warming parties by defecating in a toy truck and presenting it to him. He soon finds things to do at the office.
My parents divorce and I am returned to Stirling, home of my mother. My father finds his office is very cold at night.

Years 7-11.
 At University, my mother meets and marries a former soldier. I find my bootstraps were pulled so far up, I could pleat my hair with them. I changed primary schools from one which classed me as "backward" to one that classed me as "genius". Its a fine line.

Years 11-13.
I am taken to an Abbey in Inverness, presented with a red blazer and a tie and left there with 200 boys and 30 monks. I became a choirboy, because I figured I looked good in lace. I was not quite the prototype Harry Potter, I tried to keep my wand out of sight. 
 In my second year I sneaked out to meet an older girl at a graveyard and discovered that gravestones are scratchy and cold on your backsides. I also discovered that it is best to find out the girl's name and ask why she had to sneak out of chapel, in order to avoid expulsion.

Years 13-15.
Changed Schools, returned to Stirling, got good marks that spring boarded me to Higher Education, had money thrown at me by Student services. Made plans for world domination, by becoming.... an actor.

Years 16-19

I got my first Job at a chip shop, I lasted a week. Created a massive family upset by declaring my intention to go to Drama School. I auditioned for RSMDA, (failled) Mountview (failled) Oxford (Passed), Birmingham (Passed) and finally, went nowhere as I had no money and couldn't afford fees. To AnyWhere. Mass panic, hysteria, semi-nervous breakdown. Dreams in tatters, I'll never be a success!! The solution was obvious, get a Job and save up money. Far too easy, I cried, better I enter clearing and use my vast intellect on a Theatre Studies(Acting) course, which will surely lead to the same result.

 Years 19-21.(Not really recognisable as me, so third person, but it was me)
 A Shy inarticulate Scotsman decides to Attend University in South Wales, as tribute to his father. Due to good grades he goes straight into second year of the B.A and misses out on the early bonding that first year students go through. He is lonely, socially awkward, and living with 3 girls, who as trainee teachers, feel the need to treat him like a child. He has his first encounter with a hardcore feminist and is soon ostracised when he compares her to the female version of a "Male Chauvinist Pig".
 The course involves essay writing and analysis. There is very little acting and the beginning of a deep depression and feelings of failure via mistake take hold. He is on the wrong course, wrong path and wrong country. Still, he wont leave, as he has never failed, never given up and will not be seen as a failure back home. He adopts the name "Samanual" and becomes a very poor "Goth"
 Soon, he loses his virginity and despite the hairline fracture of the pelvic bone and the realisation, that he'd done this before in a graveyard, things were looking up.
 A sequence of events that could never be imagined took place, which still haunts to this day. In the crucial final year, the Scotsman lost his grandfather and was not allowed to attend the funeral, got engaged to a psychopath, De-engaged, re-engaged. Knocked up Psychopath. Psychopath performed home abortion at 4 months and had to be admitted to hospital for full emergency procedure. Scotsman suffered nervous collapse, but discharged himself as he had an exam in the morning. The Scotsman completely fucked up exam and failed final year.
Upon recovering from the first failure of his life, he re-sits his final year at Scarborough.


Thats Part one folks, tune in next week, for part two of a"Life backwards" and I promise i'll get to the point. Leave comments, ask questions.

Yours in Scares and Dares.

J.D

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Thoughts for the Unrequited.

Dear Cupid.
I hate to inform, kind sir, that your aim of late has been slightly astray.
I was perfectly happy in my solitude, planning my future with nary a thought for romance. I may have been located just east of nowhere on the outskirts of bewilderment, but contented in my climb up the mountain of logical sense.
I can only hazard a guess, that at some point in your day to day duties, while aiming your bow to unite lovers, that you tripped over a random cloud and unleashed an poorly aimed, uncoordinated, unplanned barrage in my general direction.  I remember feeling the prick of the arrow quite distinctly.
It hit my foot, for I found I could  not walk away from the sight before me.
A tall vision in red, with kind features, burning brown eyes and a smile that hinted at a myriad of mysterious. Someone I had been around all day, but never noticed, until your mistimed shot rooted me to the floor, unable to escape, the feelings that suddenly consumed my heart.
  The heart as you know, is one of the many organs that keeps us fragile humans alive. We help our hearts to keep beating by avoiding unnecessary strain.
 Surely, then you understand my concern, as since that day, my previously healthy, untroubled heart has felt a little empty and strained ever since. Now, had your arrow hit, not just myself, but the aforementioned vision, then I'm sure I would have had the happiest, bounciest, heart in all off mankind.
 Instead, you overshot the mark and missed her, leaving me with the joyless of the unrequited.
 I have since discovered, it is not the first time, your clumsiness has caused pain and suffering to those who adoration is not returned.
The evidence is overwhelming as some of your targets have suffered several arrows at once or a broken one, causing splinters. The irony that my unrequited suitor, also has an unrequited suitor is not lost on me, and I find myself wondering if perhaps you are spending too much time at the heavenly arms public house.
 As I investigate further, I have discovered the existence of unsuitable arrows!
Those launched from your quiver that find previously untroubled folk, who have enjoyed the benefits of your occasional crack-shot, now find themselves with two objects of affection, unwilling to give up either, have no qualms over an age gap or gender.
Is it too much to ask, that you regulate your arrows to suitable pairings.
 The human heart is a fragile thing, it can only deal with so much.
I would also ask that you find some way to take responsibility for your actions and reverse these unintentional errors.
At the very least, enable the arrow to self destruct, if the companion arrow is not in the vicinity, this would allow me and others like me, not to feel that empty, dull pain of longing when we randomly see a photograph of our unrequited.
Many of us are too embarrassed to set up a support group for fear of ridicule and the fact, that as men, we should be able to bury our romantic feeling so deep, that it may contribute to the molten lava at the earth's core. Indeed, I suspect the lava may actually be the combined heartache of millions of men, fomenting and becoming powerful enough to trap you forever.
It is a plain and simple fact, that in recent years, you have lost your touch, perhaps you are due to retire. Another reason may be that you are no longer able to keep up with the changing romantic landscape and are doubting yourself, or bowing down to the political love correctness lobby. Perhaps, you have a quality control quota to maintain and need to balance it out with a few duds.
 This is all conjecture my dear ineffective cherub, and I write to you, not as a young sapling in the first throes of love, but as a young-ish man who thought he had got over those awkward feelings when his first fiancĂ©e slept with an entire welsh town. She may have been working her way through the whole country for Guinness, but, thats not for me to know. I have loved, felt your arrow more than once and more often than not, it has served me well.
 Love is a sport for two. We were meant to walk around in pairs, like our favorite, comfortable shoes that don't cause blisters, don't judge.
 I ask you Cupid, you outdated notion of a entity, has it been a while since you've been loved?
Are you lonely on your cloud?
Is the reason your aim is off, because you can't fire an arrow at yourself.? Are tender loving arms something you miss.?
I do.
 I didn't realize what I was missing until you showed me possibilities and then gave me more obstacles than Hercules.
Was there any reason to remind me? What possible motivation, other than spite, did you have for waking my black heart and painting it red?
 I am not going to pretend  that I know the reasons, or why such a wonderful thing as love can be twisted into such ache, but I will say this to you.

 You're not going to get the best of me, I know that if you love somebody enough, you let them walk away. No judgement, no public tears, just a smile and hope they will be happy as they work into the arms of another. I trust that it is enough to be a good man and that somebody will take note. How often do we smile as our heart is breaking.? How often do we listen as our tear ducts threaten?

I doubt whether i'll get an answer but I have written to your HR rep in the hopes you will be retrained or reassigned. Its doubtful, you may be one of those lucky people who have a job for life and in this depression, you should count yourself lucky.
 If I were to give you a verbal or written warning, it would simply say..

 "Be More Careful"

On behalf of the Unrequited and future lovers everywhere.

J.D.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to report The Mighty Thor for raping and pillaging without due care.