British weather is bonkers. Not many days ago I was huddled up to my radiator thinking I’m really fed up with being cold. Then, in what seems a few hours, I’m sweating at my desk surrounded by a battery of fans and moaning that I hate being hot. Is there a body-temperature country to where I could emigrate I wonder?
The hottest I have ever been was when I took part in a television special from a Dutch science fiction festival. They had hired a striptease artist and as she disrobed I was meant to come on and do a potted two minute representation of the film 2001 to the sound of the Zarathustra theme. It was meant to be ironic I think.
To illustrate the film’s plot I wore a fully-hooded silver asbestos fireman’s suit, representing an astronaut. Under this I sported a gorilla costume and under that an elaborate brocade 18th century outfit as seen in the closing moments of the movie.
Needless to say, the event was taking place in a stifling unventilated theatre space in the middle of a heat wave. Plus the addition of banks of television lights, just to make it really unbearable.
Seconds before the cameras rolled, the stripper got all upset because she thought her art was being compromised. While she was being comforted, yours truly got hotter and hotter. I could feel my silver boots filling with sweat.
I could hardly hear under the hood and the gorilla mask, so there were several false starts. And the stripper kept bursting into tears. Nearly an hour passed. I thought I was going to die on camera! There are Equity rules about this sort of thing, but it’s difficult to down tools with an entire film crew looking on.
But in the end I cracked. Blow this for a game of soldiers I heard myself say inside my furry prison. I ripped the whole lot off, layer by layer and flung it all to the ground in an enormous fit of pique.
What I hadn’t heard was the director finally calling ‘Action!’ and the music starting. You were marvellous darling he cried, and I exited to a round of applause.
Just call me one-take Ralph!