By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Just one of those days

Reader, I definitely am in a funny kind of mood today. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a bit of a headache, my limbs aching and just thought 'bleh'. Then all day I've been seriously pissed off. With everyone. With The Lad, for saying my dress showed too much of my boobs, then for not showing me enough affection, with our waitress, for being less than delightful, with my dad, for asking me to go to the shop, with The Lad again for spending too much time on the computer, with myself for resorting to food through boredom. I feel like I should have a sign tacked to my head saying 'avoid this highly narky girl' then a sub sign saying 'unless you have presents and chocolate and massages'. I'm even annoying myself. I'm NEVER grumpy, and when I am it's normally in a slightly ironic, amusing way, but today I feel like I just need my mum. Although it's probably a good thing she's not here, as even she would anger me in some way or the other when I'm in this sort of mood!

I've tried having a nap, a bath, watching some episodes of Buffy and reading children's books. Nothing is working. And now The Lad is narky because he's having computer troubles. And my Dad's narky because he's doing work on the family computer. Only the Brother is in a good mood, and his smugness at having actually done a days work is actually peeving me even more. Although why should it? To be fair, he actually did the work, which is more than I would have done at his age, and thus he deserves to be a bit smug! Try telling that to my narkiness though. So generally it's a nark-tastic house at the moment. And now it's almost 20  past 8 in the evening and I'm STILL vaguely annoyed with the world and I can't put my finger on why. Which does not bode well for sleeping tonight. I may just lay there huffing grumpily to myself while The Lad dozes. And then I'll be in a bad mood at work tomorrow-utter hell for the people I'll be trying to sell wine to!

On the plus side, I'm going for a measuring on Tuesday for a piece of supporting actor work that, if I get it, will mean that for the whole of September I won't have to work at the call centre. WISH ME LUCK! If I get it, it would be truly amazing, I'd get to go act every day and get paid rather a lot for it, and hopefully still have time to do organising things like getting my showreel sorted *can't believe I still haven't finished that* although that largely depends on quite a bit of filming I'm still waiting on, which I can't really get it done without.

Anyway, I'm off to go annoy another member of the household, see if I can transfer my nark to them!
Bye Chaps!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Aprons, capes and Jarvis Cocker

Reader, the other day, a rather wonderful thing happened. I did some work on the fabulous Downton Abbey, replacing one of the usual maids who was off on her holidays. Obviously this was highly exciting. So exciting in fact that I didn't get a wink of sleep the night before because I was almost certain that it was just someone playing a trick on me and I'd turn up at the studio only to be told that they'd never heard of me and weren't even filming that day. After about half an hour's proper sleep, I woke up at 7.30 (something really quite unheard of for me, I am really very committed to my bed) and leapt out of bed to get washing my hair, cleaning my nails, shaving (got knows why, the skirts are ankle length so I could have got away with having goatishly hairy pins) and generally fretting that I'd be so nervous I'd puke on Maggie Smith. I forced down some food (again, highly unusual for me, usually I'm a bit of a pig, especially when I'm nervous) and then set off, far far too early, to Ealing Studios. The whole train journey I kept wanting to bump into someone, anyone really so that I could breezily say 'ah yes, I'll just be spending the day on set, you know, getting paid to act'. It's probably a good thing I didn't bump into anyone. I would probably have been to on edge to make polite conversation, or would have come across unbearably smug. Maybe dribbled a little. Anyway Reader, I got there so early that it was actually a bit impolite, so I went and had a Diet Coke in the local pub to quiet my nerves.(N.B. Diet Coke doesn't actually calm you even remotely. It just makes you hyper and gassy).

When I finally got on set, there was a tiny bit of confusion. Reader, this is because Ealing Studios is a GIANT MAZE of buildings, trailers and cars. Eventually I found out where I was meant to be and got sent off to try on the costume. Herein came the problem. You see, the girl I was taking over from, who the costume was fitted around, was 5ft 3. I am at least 3 inches taller than that, which meant that the dress swung rakishly mid-calf, where it is supposed to rest on the ankle. You could almost see 'Uh Oh' flash up on the wardrobe mistress's head as she desperately tried to stretch the dress down. Not much we could do about it, off I went to get my adorable maid's cap fitted, where I met the other maid, Pearl and the serving boy, Jack, both of whom calmed me right down with their stories of experiences on set and what to expect.

What then followed was lots of waiting, gossiping and some truly awful t.v. During which time I heard from the very nice man who booked me for the job basically saying that they had wanted me to stay for another 6 days shooting but the dress was just too short. Not going to lie Reader, I was a tad gutted. But I had sort of expected it from the fitting, so it wasn't a huge blow (much helped by the frankly lovely feedback I got from the director and casting people the next day. My head=much swollen). I still got to spend that whole day getting paid for filming (almost double what I get in a day for my 'resting actor' job!) so still a massive coup.

The rest of the day was like a dream. The set for the servants quarters is utterly incredible, unlike anything I've ever seen before; It's like walking through an actual Edwardian country house, only inside an enormous warehouse! All the cast and crew are lovely, especially the housekeeper, played by Phyllis Logan. Playing one of the maids was great, lots of shots of me carrying linen and silverware and chatting to other staff, so keep an eye out around halfway through season two!

The other news of the week of course is that I graduated on Wednesday, with Jarvis Cocker no less! The Ceremony was ridiculously long, but some marvellous speeches and lovely to see my old classmates again. I have to say, it did feel slightly anti-climatic though. When you get your first degree, everyone sees it as this huge thing, but on the second it's a bit like 'again? Seriously?' Although I have received a couple of lovely cards and £20 from my Irish grandparents (I love that I'm still young enough to get money in cards on occasion!) We went for lunch after at the Skylon brasserie, which I have to say, I was a little unimpressed by given the prices. The bread and the non-boozy cocktails were lovely but the food was really quite uninspired and not really that moreish. For £14 for a main course, I want to be knocked over by the tastes, not mildly unimpressed by the blandness. Nice atmosphere in the place though, and the service was second to none (to the extent that at some points we looked down and couldn't work out when they'd come and taken our empty plates!). 

Going back to work on Thursday was vaguely hellish. After being paid lots to do what you love, it doesn't feel good to go back to being paid £6.20 an hour to call lots of people and try and sell them wine. Luckily, I work with lovely people, and the thought that it's such a flexible job is fab. And it's more than minimum wage of course, and not waitressing. Oh well, at least I know what filming for t.v. is like now! And the fact that I was so valued as a cast member is wonderful, fills me right up with the warm fuzzies, I can tell you.

Fingers crossed that I'll be able to do some more soon eh?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Chubby ancestors...

Reader, I read an interesting thing on the Guardian website at work the other day. It said that English people are genetically more likely to be fat than Japanese people. I read this and thought 'now hang on just a second...why's that then? Seems awfully unfair to me!' and apparently it's because our ancestors needed to eat loads of carbs because they had to keep warm in the rain and snow, whereas in Japan, because the general temperatures are much higher, they didn't need as much body fuel. So now, years later, when we have things like central heating and jumpers from TK Maxx, we still run to fat quite quickly and have a pre-disposition to carby foods like potatoes and bread. Well, nice to have something to blame I suppose, but it does annoy me a bit to think that rather than some slim, willowy creature of yore, my heritage probably comes from some obese farmer shaped like a bull standing on it's hind legs. Good stuff. I'm feeling quite motivated today, so I'm back on the diet wagon, trying to defy my genes. Have managed to do lots of very pro-active things like emailing people who are being brimming with knowledge and motivation like this awesome TV director friend of the family I've been in talks with, my mentor who's fresh off the stage from Bette and Joan (which likely means I won't hear back from her for ages. Slight problem with having a famous mentor-they're constantly in demand!) and the production manager of the film I'm doing (asking her with a slight air of desperation if we'll ever get the rest of the financing to finish the film as I really would like to change my-now straggly and badly coloured-hair). I'm also about to spend a frankly shocking amount of money on headshots. I used to get them from Jessops but have had some requests from interesting people so thought, 'well, I'd better actually get them printed all proper like' only, now they're more than a pound a picture, and I need to get about 80. Dear lord. Seeing as I've already spent about £80 on my new passport this week, I can kiss my most recent paycheck goodbye. *le sigh*. It's a good think I don't pay rent, because if I did, they'd already have chucked me out for no payments.

Saying that, paying for my passport felt very grown up. I no longer get financial handouts from the parents, I pay for my own passport and I finally paid off my overdraft. I do feel secure that I'm not quite a grown up yet though, seeing as I still live with the parents and haven't got round to putting my phone in my name yet, but even so-progress!

What else has been going on? Well I made some awesome cupcakes the other day. Most were chocolate with vanilla buttercream icing, but a couple had banana buttercream with walnut. They're going down very well. So well in fact, that I'm having to hide them from myself, lest my arse grows in size any more.

And on that bum note, I shall be off, to order those headshots!
Tarrah chaps

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Conventions and courtesy

Reader, yesterday was somewhat of a spectacularly geeky day for me. The London Film and Comic Convention was on at Earls Court, something I went to last year (and was utterly overwhelmed by the pure geekiness. And the BO smells. Teenage boys are stinky.) and had enjoyed, so this year we went back, this time in costume (like I said, it was a very geeky day). So, seeing as this year's line up had quite a few Dr. Who actors (including the gorgeous Karen Gillan who The Lad got a photo with), we went as the Dr. Who cast, with one friend dressed as the Doctor, The Lad dressed as Rory (in the Roman Centurion costume) and me dressed as Amy Pond in her police kiss-o-gram costume. (And another friend in a space invader costume, which still sort of fits the genre...and even if it doesn't, it was still awesome.)

Now, the experience taught me a number of things. I feel it is only right and fair to share those things with you. So here is my list of...


  • DO bring lots of cash. Things are very very expensive, from the food to the tacky souvenirs you will no doubt end up buying. You may think you are immune to the charms of film themed merchandise but things change in there...I know people who have walked out of the Earls Court convention centre with memory loss and armfuls of Superman posters and Star Wars mugs, unsure of what happened. I went in with £30 and came out with a cheap pendant and a very empty purse.
  • DO bring your own water. It's quite muggy and there's a lot of walking inside, and otherwise you'll get charged a fortune for a mini Evian. And then you won't have any moneys left to buy star wars mugs. Which would of course be tragic.
  • DO play convention bingo. Fat person in motorised chair? Girl in very inappropriate fur bikini? Sweaty teen with spots following girl in very inappropriate fur bikini? Past it Star Trek actor? BINGO!
  • DO be prepared for a long wait if you choose to go get your photo taken with a star. a) in the queue for said photo and b) after, to actually GET the photo. Because it takes HOURS! And there is no queueing system at all. It's just a mass of angry sweaty people.
  • DO dress in a costume. People will ask you to pose for photos for them, making you feel like a celeb. If you go in a themed group, they'll get photos of the whole group and you'll feel like a rock band. Very amusing.
  • DO bring loo roll. They run out faster than Glasto. 
  • DO make an element of your costume yourself. Or else there's no point. You will be seen as a bit of a loser. Which, in that particular room, is a talent. 
  • DO attempt to make eye contact with the film stars who are signing autographs, you will be able to pretend that you know them and you're just too cool to say hi. Last year, The Lad actually DID know one of them, cause when he was little he used to be friends with Neville Longbottom who was there for signings. We didn't say hi. I wanted to, but The Lad was way too cool. 
And that's all for now!
Bye chaps!
  • DO NOT make eye contact with the artists/writers on Comic Alley. They will guilt you into buying their very expensive comics with 'yeah, we spent ten years on it, we lost the budget, there was a fire, the artist's arm fell off, but here it is, our life's work' and you'll think 'crikey, they've worked so hard it MUST be good' then you'll get home and read it and realise most of it is based around their friendship group and is full of in jokes you don't get. Or, as happened to The Lad, you'll get home and realise it's a rude comic with lots of bottoms.
  • DO NOT go dressed in a costume with very tight skirt (my mistake). People will poke your bum. Because they think that you being in costume gives them a right to. And there are so many people there, you will not catch the culprit.
  • DO NOT go dressed in a sexy police girl costume. The same jokes get made over and over and over. 'Hey, if you want to arrest anyone..', 'You can try out your handcuffs on me if you like?'. Ick. My own fault, I should have gone as a sand person from star wars. 
  • DO NOT wait around to see Corey Feldman. He is way too popular. You will not get to see him. And it will be sad, because you will not be able to quote Puppet-master vs Demonic Toys at him.
  • DO NOT dress as Jessica Rabbit. There's a girl who always does it for the LFACC and she has bigger boobs than anyone in the world. You will be known as Small Boobed Jessica Rabbit. 
  • DO NOT give in to sugar cravings. You will crash and burn on peanut M&Ms.
  • DO NOT get too over excited over the tiny children dressed as Dr. Who. Their parents will think you're going to try and steal them.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Ten songs that make me go all nostalgic...

So Reader, today has been a very nostalgic day for music. It feels like every song on my Ipod or the radio is there to remind me of memories long forgotten, or even not so forgotten, just a bit hidden under brain mush. Which has made me think about the fact that even though I'm hardly a music bod, there is a cheesy yet fab song for nearly every moment in my life, and I love it! Long may it continue! So without further ado, here are my top ten nostalgia songs:

Nostalgic because when I was about 11 and watched Muriel's Wedding I knew exactly how she felt (apart from the whole despo desire to get hitched thing), because I was so seriously uncool. It was around the same time I got my first Abba album and I used to dance around my bedroom pouting and preening to the song and day dreaming of some hunky man sweeping me off my feet (actually, less hunky man, more Peter Andre....don't judge, I was young and foolish and thought that hair styled into curtains=pure sex god). Then I saw MammaMia on stage for my friend's birthday and was really disappointed. This wasn't what Abba was about! Muriel was what Abba was about! Not all these pretty people on an Island! However, when I'm feeling low and no one's around, I do still quite often break into 'does your mother know that you're out'. Pure Awesome.

   2.   LAZY (X-press 2)

This song was all over the charts when I was doing my educational language book modelling job when I was 13 or so and my chaperone, a little Indian lady who would make jam sarnies for us, would blare it out of the car speakers so I could sing along. The song still reminds me of feeling like a proper star on my way to a shoot.

   3.    BET YOU LOOK GOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR (The Arctic Monkeys)

On a girl in my college's 18th, we all went to The Mean Fiddler and I managed to get in without ID even though I was only 17. I was wearing a tiny little mini-kilt, my hair was down to my hip and I felt seriously fit for the first time. This was the song playing as we walked down the hair, and it felt like we were in a film, everyone turned to look and we pretended not to notice as we ran onto the dance floor and boogied the night away. We ended up hanging out with the band that played that night, who went on to be a pretty big deal (well, they got to the NME top ten anyway) and walked home barefoot as the sun came up at 5 am. I'm not in touch with all of those girls any more, but the small group I am in touch with are magic, and every time I'm with them, I still get a sense of that same freedom.

   4.   ACE OF SPADES (Motorhead) 

Me and my Dad used to headbang to this when I was tiny weenie, then we actually managed to go to a concert. It was sort of incredible and it felt like they were playing the song just for us. Will never forget headbanging with Dad whilst trying to avoid other concert-goers' head banging sweat! It was pretty cool to be honest. I mean, who gets to rock out with their Dad like that? Seriously? Saying that, my dad is awesome. I'm massively lucky.

   5. SHOE THE DONKEY (Anon)

Crazy Irish folk song we used to dance to in the dance halls when I was small. I'd request it every time we went anywhere in Ireland and the whole room used to groan but would love it and join in. I think my nan used to sing it to me when I was a baby, so I blame her entirely. One of my proudest moments was getting Kerry radio to dedicate the song to my grandfather, only he'd just left when they played it and they pronounced my name wrong (they were not exactly an organised station back in the day, and I'd had to make the call on the very crackly house phone, so much was lost in translation) There's not really much point to the song, apart from the brilliant dance and the soothing nature of the beat, but I love it.

   6. Defying Gravity (Wicked)

Before I'd even seen the musical, my house mate at uni, Jague, had played us the songs so many times that we knew all the words. To the point that we would play the cd during drinking games and sing along at the top of our voices.  Usually until the security guards came to tell us to shut the hell up. It will always remind me of sitting in our kitchen, smoking, drinking cheap booze and singing in between making crude jokes with vegetables. And a night where all of us girls sat up all night, got very drunk and cried and cried and cried. Female bonding is awesome.

  7. Strawberry Fields (The Beatles)

When me and The Lad had really only just started dating, we had no money. So we used to go to his house, curl up on his beanbag, he'd buy some chunky monkey ice cream and we'd watch films in between making out. One of those films was Across the Universe, something I'd never heard of, but loved as soon as I saw it. I've now become aware that most cool people hate the film because 'It rapes the memory of the beatles' but I can't help but be completely taken in by it. I decided then that Strawberry Fields was our song, before I really understood what it was about. The Lad was horrified when he found out that was what I thought our song was, but even now whenever I hear it I think of those nights watching films all snuggled up with some Ben and Jerry's and it makes me feel very happy.

  8. Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

This was played at my oldest friend's mother's funeral. I won't go into too much detail but it was a devastating event, the song was utterly beautiful but horribly ironic at the same time (because it's so so hard to see beauty in the world when you're grieving) and now I can't listen to it without welling up. But every time I do hear it, it reminds me of that pretty incredible woman, who treated me like family and raised a very brave and entirely unique friend of mine and I feel lucky I knew her even a little.

 9. La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf) 

I first discovered Edith Piaf when me and of one my best friends watched a film called My Summer of Love, one of Emily Blunt's first films, which is completely fantastic. If you haven't already, go and watch it now. After that I brought all the albums of hers I could, I was so wrapped up in the crazily tragic story of her life and the circus like melodies she created. Although, she is one of the reasons my uni housemates all thought I was entirely mad at first. Most students listen to pop music. I was listening to a French woman wailing about lost lovers...

 and finally

 10. MARIA (Debbie Harry)

I know the song is called Maria and not Angela, but it was one of my first Debbie Harry songs and my mum introduced me to her so it will always remind me of her. I think this is also because the song makes me think of this glamorous, vivacious woman who dances barefoot and has a crazy past, and that's mum all over really. I am quite saddened by the fact that whereas she gets a really cool song, the one that I will probably be remembered for will no doubt be something far less cool like....I don't know....Abba or something....

God Forbid.

There are millions more songs with millions more memories but that will have to do for now, because I am exhausted and frankly, my fingers hurt from typing so fast!

Night Reader

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Well versed in currant events

Reader, while at work, I only have access to a small, limited selection of websites (this is probably to stop me spending hours writing blogs instead of attempting to sell wine, which, let's be honest, is what I would probably do, between stalking people on facebook and browsing All Saints online) so I only really get access to things like The Daily Mail and The Guardian. Now, both are quite good for different things. The Guardian, obviously, for it's fantastic news stories that tend to at least attempt to avoid too much bias and the Ottolenghi and Jay Rayner blogs, then The Daily Mail for Liz Jones (adore her and her neurotic ways), stodgy recipes and the hilarious problem pages (which are like reading Bunty and Girl Talk only for grown ups). However, after a while I do get very very bored. You see there is only so much on those sites that one can read without getting angry about stereotyping or very very hungry from all the food references. That and I'm a fast reader so by 2pm, I'll have snapped up anything new and will be re-reading about this seasons new must-visit places that I can't afford for the millionth time and will be drooling into my keyboard.

Saying that, I am now surprisingly knowledgeable. I mean, I used to watch the news before (sort of, if it was on in the break between Family Guy and SATC) but I never really absorbed it. Whereas today I found myself having a conversation about phone hacking and crime rates in London and I actually knew what I was talking about. I didn't have to bulls***! Huzzah! Although, saying that, media is of course subjective so I was basically just passing on their opinion of what may or may not have happened, but EVEN SO! I felt proud. The other thing today that happened was that someone stopped me and asked me about my Drama School experience, then told me that they always thought Drama School girls were anorexically skinny, but then they met me and 'well, you're hardly wasting away are you'? At first I was a bit affronted, but actually, I'm chuffed. If I don't look like I'm starving myself with an unhealthy diet, surely that's a good thing? Yes, there are people at drama schools who are unhealthily slim, and it is very easy to get wrapped up in that whole image obsessed, let's-not-eat-sugar-today bollocks but frankly it's not normal and I've never come across a director who said 'well, you're perfect for the role and you did a great audition, but you're a size 10-12 and that's way too fat'. It's bollocks. Now I'm not suggesting go off and get obese on pizza and milkshakes, but having some toast for breakfast won't kill you. Nor will using butter.Just don't go mad either way!

Easier said than done, I realise, but a girl can dream eh? Just wait till next time I talk about the diet I'm on, what an utter hypocrite I am eh?
Oh well, 
Night for now Reader!

Friday, 1 July 2011

The day where the sun shone from my nether parts...

Reader, even though I was doing a 9 hour shift at work today, it was still a pretty good day. Why? I was having one of those rare and wonderful things: an attractive day. It crept up on me unexpectedly, it had started being a fat day, which never bodes well. I did a work out, which usually makes me look even worse *normally red and hobbling* and toddled off into work wearing a 3 year old £5 Primarni dress. When I got in I went to the bathrooms (which, since I work in an actor friendly organisation, have been fitted with full length mirrors, which usually makes me cover my eyes as I pee for modesty) and to my surprise I looked pretty ok. I'm not sure what prompted it, I wasn't even wearing structured underwear, which is usually required for an attractive day, but my boobs looked perky without being porno, my waist was positively waspish and my legs looked normal (even though I haven't shaved them for five days and they're roughly the shape as tree stumps at the moment). The hair (normally a bit limp and discoloured) looked wavy and bohemianly sunkissed and even my eyelash flicks were Audrey Hepburn perfect for once (I usually miss aim and end up with one enormous one going upward to my eyebrow and one tiny level one). It felt awesome. It gave me a wiggle in my step and people noticed, I was complimented by a good ten people! I haven't felt that good about the way I look since I was 17 and so skinny I could fit into a size 8 pair of Joseph trousers.

 Of course, I realise that this is not the permanent state of play. I'm only allowed days like that once every few years to keep my hopes up so I can survive the majority of the time looking like a meth addict with a hamburger addiction. Tomorrow my hair will be flyaway, my skin patchy and my belly like a pregnant woman's. The bags under my eyes will be purple and I'll choose completely the wrong outfit for the weather so I'll either sweat or go an unattractive goose-pimpled puce. I know this. Which is why it is so important to relish these few days I get of feeling like a sexy mama!

I think this is probably how most people feel to be honest. Although I have to wonder if Eva Green (my idol) has nothing BUT attractive days. I hope she's a bit more like me and has days where she worries about going out, because her knees just look too chunky and she's concerned someone might point out the bump in her nose.

To bed now, so tomorrow's dark circles don't turn black