I am meant to be writing a blog post of at least 800 words every day, but today I have failed. I have sat down to write it and realized I just don’t have the energy, mental or physical. My fingers wish to hibernate and my brain wishes to be sneezed from skull and passed on to someone who might use it better.
I had plenty of ideas of what I would write about. I haven’t seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, but I have just seen an Alsatian on a ferry do a big poo. I moved for fear that the wind on the upper deck might pick up the mound and hurl it in my direction. I have a thing about propelled excrement, probably some innate fear from imagining the worst that could happen when playing rugby clubs or if a stag do gets out of control after a collective of loss of muscular control caused by over consumption of pitchers of blue drinks. But I wouldn’t have written about the ferry incident anyway, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
I did read a newspaper today, or rather sighed and tutted at one while turning pages with a damp finger. I had thought I might write something about why we are more interested in people who pretend to do things than people who actually do thing. If an actor is playing a geologist in a sexy adventure romp set in a quarry, we see interviews about she approached the role of geologist, meanwhile the geologists themselves are rarely bothered for an interview. How much more interesting to read about how someone pretends to use a trowel or chisel, than what people who really question the landscape do. Occasionally, we might see an interview with a geologist, archeologist or pothole explorer, but that is usually because they are about to be on television so are just near enough to the world of pretend that we can taka an interest in them. I am not against actors, they do a jolly good job. Many of them manage all manner of accents, pretend to be sexualities they’re not, wear hats from across the ages with dapper aplomb, shout at people they are not really cross at with or pretend to be soldiers and people enjoy that sort of thing. Watching them gives us something to do when we can’t be bothered to imagine things ourselves.
But looking at the newspapers today, the amount of coverage for that one profession seemed excessive. In one newspaper there were four different lengthy interviews with four different people pretending to be things in films released this week or TV dramas that are coming soon, Some of them were playing real people and that’s our favourite sort of pretending as we can watch and say, “he’s awfully good, he’s got the voice just right, and the eyebrows, you’d almost think he was Clement Attlee”.
I am not trying to declare that I am above this. When I go to the BBC news website, after a scan of the major headlines, I move down to the categories where Science and Entertainment are side by side. I know I should click on Science first, after all, someone might have discovered a new owl or element, but I always click on entertainment first, just in case someone famous from my childhood has died.
Actors are also better at modeling clothes, and as many of the features must include a few photos where “Ross Kemp is wearing cravat and matching jodhpurs by Le Chic of Telford”, it might be a greater risk to focus too much on people whose work is not primarily making a show of themselves.
Interviewers also like to constantly display their psychoanalytical observational prowess, which may be easier with a performer than a cosmologist, continental philosopher or social geographer. They want to ask, “what’s it like kissing Brad Pitt?” not “do you remember the first time you embraced a Marxist socio-economic rationale?” I have never understood the question to actors, “what was it like kissing (name here)?” Don’t you understand, they weren’t really kissing them, they were pretending, it was not a kiss of romance but an illusion. I saw an interview with Julianne Moore (one of my favourite actors, I must watch Magnolia tonight, or maybe End of the Affair), and the journalist was asking about her sex scenes and the fact that she really looked like she was enjoying them. Yes, she is an actor, she is pretending, she is playing the part of someone enjoying having some sex. What do you expect, the occasional gurn straight into the camera?
So I like people who pretend on stage, TV and film. I did some pretending myself once, but I wasn’t very good at it, I can barely act natural in day to day existence. So I don’t mind reading interviews with them, I’ll even read about their favourite treehouse and what they keep in their fridge – “who would have thought Charles Dance would own so much piccalilli?” – but I want to see more professions, more achievers, more discoverers and questioners scrutinized. Is it only real if it exists on television?
Anyway, I was going to explain why I haven’t written a blog post today, but I seem to have run out of words. Sorry, I’ll explain why there was no post today tomorrow.
Darwin/Feynman/Blobfish tour continues in Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester, Havant, Newtown and many more. Off to Stratford Circus with Grace Petrie, Josie Long and Darren Hayman, and new Christmas shows with Brian Cox and plenty more. Details HERE
Happiness Through Science DVD (also incl Brian Cox) HERE