Friday, 21 March 2014

Finding a TV gem

I watched the first of a new series on Sky Arts last night, Michael Parkinson's Masterclass. He interviewed the comedian/actor/epic marathon runner (and future candidate for Mayor of London!) Eddie Izzard. I love Eddie's surreal humour and relaxed ability to just go with the flow when performing stand-up but I'm equally impressed with his proficient acting ability, e.g. a serial killer in Hannibal.

By the end of the interview I'd found a new respect for Eddie's work ethic - doing what he wanted to do as opposed to what was expected of him, persistence in the face of adversity, consistent attention to detail and constantly facing his fears. I am sure all performers have to keep reminding themselves of these ethics but they equally apply to writers too.

Eddie also pointed out that he had years of epic failures as a street performer and stand-up comedian before he began to use what he learnt from those failures. Again, a similarity to writers. In this instant-gratification society it was good to hear that being true to ones own self still means something. He was keen to point out that success can disappear overnight and that is where the attention to detail comes in.

What struck me most was how he couldn't explain a deep-rooted thought that if he achieved enough then somehow it would bring his mother back. She died of cancer when he was 6. He was sure that all people who lost a parent early or had a dysfunctional or unloving parent, must have a profound sense of loss in their lives and that is why they strive so much.

Good TV promotes good conversation and after the interview I was able to discuss it with family. Afterwards, I continued to think about Eddie's unexplainable thought and asked myself who did I write for? There is a point during the writing process when it is difficult to re-emerge from its characters and plot. Writing suddenly takes a firm hold and when deep in its clutches there must be that subconscious voice speaking through the words. Is it speaking to a definite someone or is it speaking to an inner lost person or who could have travelled a very different path if given no boundaries?

I reckon its like peeling an onion and after many years of deep and meaningful conversations I formed the general opinion that it isn't necessary to know every single thing about ourselves, what makes us tick or why we do things. People have made fortunes within these fields and perhaps we are missing the point somehow.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and will look forward to the next - Dynamo the magician, a contemporary master of illusion from a humble background. Who can forget him walking across the Thames? I'm pleased to have found a gem on TV.
My personal favourites are Darth Vader at the Battlestar Canteen & the banana/monkey sign language!!