Concordia - page 11

as they in turn smile, speak and stumble
their way into theworld. But there are career
firsts too that I’ll never forget: debutingat the
National Theatre andonBroadway; rehearsing
for the first timewith a playwright I’d studied
at school (TomStoppard) in the actual bloody
room; myfirst professional audition, the nerves
raisingmy voice twooctaves; first time in front
of a camera pretending I knewexactlywhat
a “mark”was; sitting ina squat inSheffield at
5.30amhaving just shavedmyheadbefore
the first take onFour Lions; and standing in
anogre-sizedbook on stage atDruryLane,
dressed ingreen fatsuit andprosthetic, waiting
for the orchestra tohit the note that would
propelme into song in front of PrinceCharles
and anaudience of three thousandon the
PressNight of Shrek theMusical.
All these firsts have two things in common:
they scared the bejesus out ofme and I would
never take themback. Your “firsts” will not be
the same asmine, nor would youwant them
to be, but whatever they are andwhenever
they approach, don’t be daunted: embrace and
enjoy them. I hope toGod it’s a longway off,
but by the time you start thinking “this is the
first time I’ve poppedmy clogs” all youwill
have is your experiences. So now, especially
nowand for the next fewyears when it doesn’t
matter, stick your hand up and dare to declare
who you are andwhat turns you on. Sooner
than you think you’ll be paying the rent,
mortgage, alimony and anything else the
bastards can think of. Remember you’re not
the only one to feel daunted...I think it was
Jack Lemmonwho said that he chose parts
on the basis of howmuch they terrified him–
the scarier the better.
I leave youwith a truism(as Jock Steane
shakes his head atme fromthe clouds): life is
not a rehearsal…although at times we all wish
we could have another go.
On set of
Best of Men
, filmed for BBC last year, with George Mackay, Rob Brydon and Eddie Marsan
Taylors’ almost invincible 1st XV rugby team of 1979-80
my dubious charmthinly and broadly like
Gentleman’s Relish onwhite bread toast,
seeking out the company of the planet-sized
brains for pseudo-intellectual chitchat before
helping the less intellectually gifted throw the
class “Benny” headfirst through awaist-high
window into theHeadMaster’sGarden, an
event he professed to enjoy. This eclecticmix
of friends and the fact that I loved sport, and
managed to sneak via the back door into
probably the best rugby and athletics teams
the school ever had, may have rose-tintedmy
view, butmy abidingmemory of Taylors’ in
the late seventies is walking along the Long
Drive, or later picking up theHeadBoy (so
I could park in his private space) in “Derek”
the FordAnglia, and
looking forward
to the
day ahead. Nevermind league tables, that’s
the sort ofmemory I wantmy daughters to
conjure upwhen they think back on their
To any of the current cropof Taylors’ boys
still reading, three cheers for your stamina
and letme endwhere I began, with “firsts”.
Prepare yourselves, for theynever go away.
Just whenyou think you’re old enoughnot to
care, another one sneaks up andbites youon
the bum. Forme, by far themost important are
familyfirsts: gettingmarried, havingkids (or
the other way round inour case), andwatching
Four Lions
Four Lions (outtake)
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