Category Archives: Acting

Long Time No Type…

Typing myself happy...

Typing myself happy…

Hello lonely blog,

Well it’s a been a fucking age. I apologise. Life’s got between me and the urge to scribble sardonic lamentations on the state of being. It’s been either too good or too shitty for me to want to put finger to keypad for  – well over a year now – but there was something deliciously non-moving and grey about this particularly rainy october afternoon that made me remember my virtual brain scribblings decorating this particular corner of the hyper web.

So what’s gone down?! I’ll give you the high and low down:

HIGH points:

1) I’ve worked – worked as an actual actor person – the job I’ve put life off for for more years than I should… Had a great theatre job in London at the end of last year and then have spent most of this living out of a suitcase on a national tour.

2) I’ve loved – or at least heavily liked – or loved (I’m in the slightly schizophrenic denier stage of not wanting to examine how deep my feelings might run) – and – CRUCIALLY – I’ve been loved/heavily liked back.

3) I’ve got fit – well fitter – I started running earlier this year shirking off the haunting memories of Mrs Fitzpatrick my facist secondary school PE teacher calling me a fat useless lemon (insulting despite the fact I could never figure out the link between obesity and citrus fruit) – and embracing a new idea of myself as Maggie the super athlete. Super might be going a bit far – but I can run for half an hour without asphyxiating now – no mean feat.

LOW points:

1) Working regularly as a professional actress hasn’t quite been living the long anticipated dream that i expected it to be. The reality of poorly envisioned commercially driven theatre, small parts, bad reviews, and living in crevices of the UK that time and taste have forgotten have rather taken their toll!

2) Said liker/lover has recently decided that as much as he liked/loved me – he loved his ex-girlfriend more. Cue embittered heartbreak… more on that later.

3) Haven’t spoken to Dan in over a year – but recently found out he’d got engaged. Can’t quite believe it and I’m not sure if I’m sadder about the fact he’s marrying someone that’s not me – or that we’re now so decidedly out of each others lives that I wouldn’t hear the news directly from him.

Aaaaah – life giveth then it kicks you in the goolies as it hastily snatcheth it back…

But don’t get me wrong – I’m ok – and generally a lot more on the up than down – which doesn’t mean the big old black dog doesn’t come and trample on my mood every now and again. Today’s not a good day and I’m feeling lonelier than I should which is maybe why I’m blowing the virtual dust of this creaky old blog. It feels good to be typing it out so I’ll be back. I need to have a good old moan about my recently fractured heart if nothing else.

Till then,

Maggie xx

Back from the dead

nggggggueuuaarrrrrgh

nggggggueuuaarrrrrgh

Dear God where have I been?!

Hello fellow blogospherers.

I am full of that insipid foisty guilt you feel when you discover a half filled journal at the bottom of your knicker drawer, and realise the keen ruminative diarist you imagined yourself being on January second has becoming yet another unfulfilled pipe dream in life’s smug chalkboard of disappointments.

Bad Maggie.

I’m not sure how or why I’ve been absent for the past six months – this blog was something that I’d become rather addicted too – and I certainly think it was helping me work through the mess of shite that poses as my life. I think all of that shite just rather got in the way and I fell out of the habit.

But here I am. I’m back. Hurrah.

Gosh – I’m close to deafened by the rapture of your silent applause. I hope some of you are still around – it was nice knowing my thought haemorrhaging was answerable to an invisible audience. I think it helped me be more objective about all the self pitying crap I inevitably at times resort to!

So what’s gone on in the past six months I hear you cry  – well the potted version:

Number of birthdays celebrated: 1

Number of years accrued that are now to be mourned: 29

Number of risable fringe productions playing a part I should have run a mile from: 1

Number of times I had to get my bottom out to London audiences: 36

Number of profitable adverts selling my soul and face in the promotion of slightly dubious products: 1

Number of months tormented by the a) piss taking of friends thanks to said dubious product touting, and b) being recognised in the street/bar/workplace as being the girl off ‘that’ ad: 3

Number of night courses taken: 1

Number of short lived jobs I’d rather not have taken: 15

Number of friends I’ve pissed off: 2

Number of soul mates I’ve not had contact with: 1

Number of shags*: 3 (and a half **)

Number of meaningful relationships: 0

[*for the sake of clarity by number of shags I mean number of men with whom I have engaged in the act of sexual intercourse, NOT how many acts of sexual intercourse have taken place. I am very happy to report that this amounts to far more than the said number.

** This shall be explained at a later date – but in this case I am referring to the sexual act as a fraction rather than the man. I did not shag a halfling. I’m tall – so this would be alarming and neck crunchingly awkward. And as much as a self professed geek as I am I would not take my love of Tolkein this far.]

Aaaaah so much to catch up on – and I shall – inevitably. But right now it just feels good to put fingers to keypad once more.

Laters potatoes

M xxxxx

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The Plan

self help

Greetings Fellow Bloggers

Now the ash has settled on the explosive disappointment of the non-weekend in Edinburgh, I’ve had time to formulate some killer moves in my road to a better, healthier Dan love-free future.

The genius plan is as follows:

1 – Cut off all contact with the ubiquitous Dan Burke (see below footnote)

2 – Invest in some stellar self help books that will help me get to know and understand the squalling mess that is Magdeline Adams a little better. I’ve always poo poo-ed self books as silly didactic rubbish – but they have to be up on the best seller lists for some reason haven’t they? I’m starting with ‘Power of Now’ – look’s interesting and Oprah liked it – how wrong could it be?!

3 – Treat myself a little more. The struggle to earn and eat and pretend that I’ve still got an acting career buried under a rock somewhere leaves very little time for me to actually do stuff I want to do. This comes the ambition to take myself out for a date every week. Who needs men anyway.

4 – Who needs men indeed – but maybe the pursuit of a new one would help me forget the old? Hence comes plan sub section 5 – open myself out to prospect that one day, somehow, I might actually allow myself to love someone who is not Dan Burke. The first step of this is to try out internet dating. I’ve always balked at it in the past – but new me, new rules.

5 – Find some way to be creative. Call me crazy but I think that in part my obsession with Dan, and consequently with my love life or lack of it  – is due in part to the fact that most days what I do is pretty mundane. I’m an actress for feck’s sake – I love drama – and if I don’t get it I create it. Not an attractive attribute i know – but at least I admit it. Whenever I’ve done something that truly engages me – mostly when I’m in a play, my need to be loved and desired by someone else rapidly disintegrates and I feel much more content with being just purely, simply, wholly me. I respect myself more so it doesn’t matter as much that I don’t have someone standing next to me stroking my ego for me. So – a simple solution – get that creative verve back and suck up that self respect. This blog helps – but isn’t quite enough… I’m thinking of doing a course – maybe painting or writing… plus I’ve got a great idea for a play…

So there we have it – a fabulous five step plan.

No excuse me whilst I go and read up on a bit of pseudo buddhism and buy a new notebook (is there anything more exciting than a new notebook?)

Wish me luck!

M xx

* Footnote to Step 1

I’m aware that cutting Dan out of my life isn’t the friendliest move. I’m one of his closest friends and I plan to remove myself without explanation. It’s not his fault I feel the way he doesn’t after all.

So here – where he will never read it – is an apology. Who knows – maybe one day I’ll tell him about this blog and he’ll sift through all the pseudonyms and read the story I was always too scared to tell him.

I’m sorry Dan – I’m sorry for needing to be selfish and sacrificing our friendship to move me past this point in my life. I’ve got stuck here – and that in no way is your fault – apart from you having the audacity to be as gorgeous as you are of course. I wish things were different – I wish you loved me like I love you, or I wish I could look into your eyes and see only the fantastic friend you are instead of all the things you are not. I hope one day I’ll become unstuck and we can be friends again. I’m doing this now, because I need to but also because you’re happy and I’m hoping you won’t need me for a while. If you do ever need me I hope I’ll be strong enough to offer what you need, and if I’m not and I have to pull away then too – well then I’m sorry for that as well.

I hope we have more and more years of friendship together, I hope this isn’t the end, I hope I’ll be back before you’ve even noticed I’d gone away – a better securer wholer person who’s ready to accept you for what you are

My best friend.

Till then compadre,

Mags x

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A tall tale

50ft

I’m afraid positive Maggie is on a temporary leave of absence. All normal services will be resumed shortly, but for now dark angry Maggie the grump is featuring in a special guest blog spot.

Reasons I hate being tall:

1 – Whilst other little girls (emphasis on little) could get away for numerous extra years with being cute, my precociously long limbs made every surrounding adult think I was always a lot older than I was. As a result I was allowed to get away with a lot less.

2 – When I was a teenager and outrageously skinny and probably at my lifetime closest to resembling the unhealthy physiques of  those models plastered all over magazines, my poor stretched body was riddled in stretch marks through the perils of shooting up ten inches, TEN INCHES my friend, in one year.

3 – Andy Scott, the love of my life during the summer I was fourteen, told me that he suppose he wouldn’t mind kissing me, but the fact that I was taller than him put him right off.

4 – Generally, until my late teens, every single boy my age seemed to be significantly smaller than me. Therefore if and when I did get any action I looked like a heffalump devouring some unsuspecting prey. Not the feminine elegant picture of romance you get in the movies.

5 – It’s nigh on impossible to get trousers that are long enough, presently I often unwillingly don that attractive dweeby look of having an unattractive sliver of pale ankle… or worse – a whole reservoir of sock.

6 – Tallness has led to insanely large feet. This means that that favourite woman’s past time of shoe hoarding has always eluded me. I’ve taught myself to not fall in love with impossibly heavenly architectured footwear, as they never, ever do them in my size. Instead I content my myself with grotesquities that resemble huge sensible boats strapped to my feet.

7 – Most men I seem to like always go for tiny pixie like demure whips of girliness (Dan, alas, included). Don’t get me wrong I’m sure all those towering supermodels are getting some, but in general the fantasy that men like a tall leggy woman isn’t all that accurate. A lot of blokes are intimidated if you look like you’d put up a good fight in an arm wrestle.

8 – When I got into drama school one of the things I was most looking forward to were the dance classes… Imagine that – earning a qualification by putting some moves in on a Monday afternoon. This enthusiasm soon died when I realised all the men were clambering over the small girls as dance partners. They didn’t fancy throwing someone taller than they were in to the air, or through their legs in a lindy hop move when there was a strong likelihood that  i wouldn’t fit and there would be an unfortunate meeting of hard skull and groin. (this actually did happen once – sorry Tim…) Thus the lessons turned into some awful selection procedure where, like the shit girl at rounders, I was always left to last – staring at the scuff marks on my dance shoes and desperately trying to pretend that I didn’t mind.

9 – Again at drama school, because I was taller than most of my male compadres – I was never cast as the love interest – but always the mother or the eccentric. Not so fun. The one boy who was taller than me – and who therefore I got partnered with for most classes – had severe halitosis.

10 – Launched into the real world as a non so little fledging actress I realised that the same prejudices lay outside the drama school gates. For some, to me inexplicable, reason – small actors rule supreme. I’ve lost count of the number of jobs I haven’t got because of my height…

Which brings me to the reason for my rant.

Today was my hotly anticipated, life changing, palpitation giving audition. I’ve devoted the last week of my life in priming myself for the all important ten minutes in the audition room. I read the play three times, and prepared all the sections that they might possibly ask me to read. I learnt two new monologues which I inflicted on my poor housemates for two hours last night. I prepared a song – as they asked – and spent £60 of my non existent riches in paying for a singing lesson to make sure it was as good as it could be (admittedly I’m not much of a singer – but I do okay). None of this made me any less nervous of course. I woke up at stupid o’clock this morning with my heart doing some seriously acrobatic somersaults and my mind racing like it was in a world qualifying sprint. I quelled the nervous energy enough to don my best outfit and apply some sturdy make up and headed out to my own personal judgement day.

I arrived at the venue way too early which meant an achingly long sit-in with the other girls going for the same part. We all sat there smiling sweetly whilst obviously tearing each others’ chances apart in our heads:

she’s far too blonde, she’s wearing too much make up, she just looks like she’d be a little bit shit

Then, of course, you have the one that looks totally perfect for the part. She sits there, a picture of calm and collection – oozing confidence and high self esteem. You hear her asking if it would be possible to slot in a little earlier as she has two other auditions to get to this morning and a matinee of a show she’s doing at the Royal Court this afternoon.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

You desperately try and blank her out and try and build up the house of cards that is your own confidence again before your name is called…

‘Maggie Adams’

Damn it – my thumb fisted attempt to re-assemble my morale was only a job half done. Fuck it. Never mind. I am a model of cool and preparation. And Breathe….

I steeled myself and went into the room.

On the far side of the room, in front of a huge dance mirror was a desk with five people stacked behind. Five. Dear God. I recognised the director and the casting director and I assumed the others must have been the musical director and a couple of assistants. It was a peculiarly large space which meant I had a good ten metres to cover before reaching the sanctuary of their desk with its lonely sole chair perched on the other side of the eagle eyed panel.

‘Hello’ I said brightly with a huge grin painted on my face.

“Hi’ – came the cold clipped voice of the director. The others all remained silent – just numerous pairs of eyes staring at me, examining me.

I am a model of cool and preparation, I am a…. I walked across the space whilst desperately trying to not examine and judge my own walk reflected in the unforgiving mirror that loomed in front of me. As I walked the director scowled unattractively and leant into mutter something into the casting directors ear.

Shit – why are you scowling? What did you just whisper? You hate me. You hate me already. What have i done?

Despite the fact my soul was experiencing a car pile up inside, the smile was still plastered on on the outside by the time I reached the table and fell into the chair. The director was still muttering into the CD’s ear and I strained to hear what he was saying but he was somehow, magically totally inaudible to my stretched ear. I swear I don’t know how directors do this – but it’s a phenomenon I’ve come across more than one. Maybe at director school they’re taught how to speak at a resonance that actors can’t detect like the lowly dogs we are.

I sat there feeling terrifically awkward and praying for the earth to open up and greedily swallow me down.

When he finished his indiscernible monologue he turned and stared at the stack of papers in front of him without bothering to lift his heavy eyeballs to deign to make eye contact with me.

‘Hi Maggie’

It was the casting director – a skeletal woman in her fifties with a mass of brown frizz for hair and a voice that would cut glass

‘I’m afraid that you’re just too tall for this part. We’ve already cast the man you’d be playing opposite and I’m afraid it just wouldn’t work. Thank you so much for coming in – maybe next time’

It was all I could do to stay sitting upright and not instantly crumple into a quivering wreck.

What??!??!?!? They weren’t even going to let me read? They weren’t going to let me perform the speeches that I’d spent hours picking to ensure they were the right match and spent days painstakingly preparing? I’ve gone without solid food this week so I could afford a singing lesson and you aren’t even going to let me open my mouth?

I breathed in deeply. Goddamn it – I was going to try one last jab of pushiness – maybe if they saw me act they’d instantly sack the short arse they’d hired and look for a taller boy rather than a smaller girl. Or just give him some stilts for fucks sake. Or cut me off at the knees, I’m not proud…

‘Would you mind if I gave you one of my speeches anyway?’, my words were slow and steady and forcibly bright as I concentrated very hard to dispel any quiver of emotion from my voice. It wasn’t easy – I could feel a wave of despair crashing up from my stomach and pulling in the walls of my throat

The CD looked at the director who, eyes still fixed on the desk, gave the slightest shake of his head.

‘Sorry Maggie – not today – we’re running late as it is.’

‘Okay. Well thank you for calling me in’

Why are you thanking them? The bastards – it says how tall you are on your CV – can they not read? They’ve just wasted a week of your life and – worse – dashed a dream that you could easily have done without the pain of having. They won’t even give you a couple of minutes to perform a crappy bloody monologue, and you THANK them?!

God I hated myself in that moment.

Needless to say I got out of there as quickly as I physically could and darted through the waiting room with my eyes firmly drilled to the floor. I could almost feel the wave of glee that went up from the awaiting auditionees at the girl who’d been in the room for just two minutes. At least their audition was unlikely to go that badly.

When I got to the safety of the street outside the tears blurted out.

I just felt so stupid. And, ironically, so very, very small.

I’m off now to find an incredibly TALL bottle of wine to lose my troubles in.

I’ll look out for positive Maggie and tell her to drop you a line next time she’s around…

Till then,

M xx

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There’s no business like no showbusiness

Angry Maggie. This is how I feel today.

Beware invisible readers – I feel a rant coming on.

In our beauteous household of three there are two miserable self loathing unemployed actors and one smugly luvvied-up ‘in work’-er. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t begrudge him the job (which is an enviably good one in the West End) – he’s a talented glorious man who I love dearly and honestly wish all the success in the world to. What I do begrudge is his flagrant tactlessness when it comes to his two sad, poor, artless housemates. There was a particular heinous transgression this morning that has left me gently reeling and full of the urge to kick something small and fluffy. This I may regret so I thought I’d vent here instead.

Employment tactlessness is a common trait amongst us odious actors. The fact is you have to trample down seemingly unlimited amounts of envy and bitterness when those around you are cast in productions that you would give an important limb just to be seen for – fuck that – just to have the casting director breathe on your CV. Therefore – when you become one of the unreachable enviable few that actually have a job you exact revenge by surreptitiously gloating to all who surround you. Full circle baby – you become one of those very people you have bitched about and despised.

Facebook is scary territory to luck around when you’re an actor who feels especially down about their career path. Just a wee scroll down the news feed of friends (heavily populated by the actor breed) makes you want to sink into the duvet of no-return. A few examples:

‘Excellent audition today at the Nash (smug actory slang for the National theatre) – fingers crossed people!’

No – no fingers crossed – fingers darting quickly towards your eyes, or heavily engaged in trying to extract your head from your self important arsehole

‘Eeeeeeek so excited about my first night tonight’

Thank you, thank you person I’ve not seen for three years and never much cared for in the first place, thank you for announcing to your 947 facebook friends, most of whom I’m sure don’t much care for you either, that you are successful and working. It’s been delightful witnessing you roll about happy in your own shit – I’d rather not smell it though if it’s all the same to you…

‘OMG – sooooo many lines to learn, I’m literally drowning!’

(apply heavily sarcastic tone…) Gosh – not only are you in work, not only do you seemingly have a lead role, but – poor you – here you are trying to solicit sympathy from your 564 unemployed facebook friends about the huge misfortune of this situation. AND – by the by – you are not LITERALLY drowning, figuratively perhaps. If you’re going to be smug at least be accurate in your hideousness.

I know, I know – I sound like a bitter shrivelled up old bitch. Let’s face it that’s probably exactly what I am. To all the non-actors out there (or the perpetually employed ones) this small selection of statuses that send my mouse flying towards the ‘Block from News Feed’ link (a genius invention) – probably don’t seem that bad.

But the thing is I’m only too aware of that slightly vindictive vainglorious urge to self publicise when you (for once) join the chosen few. You know it will hurt other people, you know that you’ll hate yourself the next day – but you can’t resist. It’s sweet revenge for all those statuses you’ve had to endure.

To put in context for those out with the sense to have a real job – imagine that your facebook was dominated by those in your chosen vocation. Imagine that you and most of your vocation orientated crew had gone through some almighty profession cull. No-one is working. You feel lousy, unimportant, your self confidence and self esteem are at an all time low. As if this wasn’t enough you’re poor, hideously poor, been surviving on rehydrated bovril all week poor. You spend far too much time at home on the computer in an attempt to live life vicariously and cheaply. And then – a couple of your friends in said vocation – who have experienced your pain and your poverty themselves – have the luck and opportunity to get said jobs back. Are they sympathetic to the tens, nay hundreds of people who are still in the situation they have just escaped? No – of course not. Instead they continually post about just how amazing their jobs are. They post pictures of themselves in their new workplace, laughing with their new colleagues. They post pictures of all the riotous nights out they’re now enjoying with said new employees (not you anymore – poor unemployed hasbeen friend) bought with their bulging new pay packets. They do this with the full awareness that many of their ‘friends’ will read of their success and feel just that little bit shitter about their own lives.

I know, I know. I’m moaning. Whiny posts – don’t you just love them. It’s just a particular bug bear of mine – and I’m feeling a touch on the low side of down today – so indulge me!

I’ll be more positive tomorrow I promise!

Tell me to buck up – I think I need some harsh words of encouragement.

M x

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A bad case of the pajama blues

Wonder Woman thought she might just stay in bed today

So here I am – unemployed, on the wrong side of my 20s, and slouched in my ‘seen a better day’ PJs.  The guffaws and roars of schoolkids going home outside my window shock me into the dawning realisation that another day might be slipping on past without any great advancement in the life of Maggie Adams. Thus forms my grand resolution to open the laptop – set up a blog and start writing because if my life really is slipping down the pan I might as well document its apocalyptic decline!

I’m the perfect poster girl of our glorious Y generation (with the emphasis on the ‘why’). Brought up by the uproarious baby boomers with their thatcherite greed, multiple houses and enormous sense of ease and entitlement – to be shunted into a world crippled by an almighty recession stuffed full of ridiculous dreams that I’m starting to discover might not be all that attainable!

I remember confidently laying out my life plans to my mum as I blew out the candles on my tenth birthday cake. By the age of twenty four, I declared, I would be a tremendously successful actress with a beautiful house in London (four bedrooms would do – if it had a nice garden) and a magnificent husband to match with whom I would quickly start farming out equally magnificent offspring. It’s not gone entirely to plan. At the grand old age of 28 I’m four years late and living in a poky flatshare with two gay men in Tooting, have a less than illustrious acting career (for which read nonentity of an acting career) and am monumentally single.

But it’s not all bad (the mantra I must repeat on days like this) I have great friends and I live in a great city and I’m not shackled to some godawful job that forces me to exist purely for the weekend. Part of growing up has seemed to have been the grim acceptance that life isn’t as simple as a child’s led to believe; you don’t get all the answers by joining up the dots, or colouring the sky blue and the grass green – existence is far more gloriously muddy and complex  – which can be a total shitter but it can also be a huge adventure.

I was always a very good girl. I worked hard at school, handed my homework in on time, excelled in all my exams, studied English at a good university – ticking all the right boxes until I realised that I had to choose what box came next and I really didn’t have a clue. I juggled lots of fantasies – Maybe I could take myself away to art college and invest in a myriad of berets before becoming a fine artist locked in a basement producing masterpieces that pretentious peers would coo over; or perhaps I could be a painfully cool graphic designer occupying some loft in Shoreditch, or maybe a pioneering journalist risking life and limb to uncover injustice, or maybe just maybe I could be that renowned actress the ten year old had dreamed of – gracing the stage at the National Theatre and being in (only really good you understand) BBC costume dramas where I got to wear REALLY pretty dresses. There was no competition really – the prospect of potential pretty dresses won through and I took myself off to drama school where I emerged with a much competed for piece of paper that said I could act – and by god wasn’t the world just my oyster….

Which brings me back to my flatshare in Tooting, writing in my pajamas at 4pm on a murky November afternoon with a few pennies left in my overdraft and the dull warblings of Dolly Parton pulsating through the walls from the gay flatmate’s bedroom. Four years and a career development loan later I’m not exactly living the dream – more dreaming of what that life could be – and trying to work out where the hell I go about finding it.

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