The defeatist attitude of an (ex) artist

This will be a melancholic post with a dressing of reminiscence of the past. Usually, I adhere to the philosophy that whatever lies in the past cannot have any effect on the future whatsoever and I generally refrain from indulging in ‘good ole days’thoughts. However, now more than ever the past is coming back on a worldwide scale. Reasons behind Trump’s election and Brexit referendum success are witness to this. Why is that?

Historically speaking, the past often offers a glimpse into a ‘golden age’. At any time in the last 3 millennia, lots of authors have looked back and thought “well it was awesome back then, wasn’t it”, with many scholars even re-elaborating whole periods of history to fit their contemporary thinking and their bias. In some cases, some golden ages have included mass genocides, famine, Black Death, never mind that a few centuries later we found a way to justify or gloss over these little, inconvenient details.

It’s the same with us, in our little inconsequential lives… we look back and romanticise some events. And here I’ve fallen victim to the same trend.
There is a part of me I never fully accepted and that is why the past often came back to haunt me or to be seen as ‘golden’ in some regards. First of all, I was born in a Tuscan village in 1972; local mentality only allowed us girls a couple of things: 1) getting married and breed (I use this verb fully knowing the connotations!); 2) until (or if) number 1 was available, it was necessary to find a job, no matter if it was something we liked, any will do if it provided ‘cash’ (nobody was ever bothered about pay slips and such bureaucracy in those days, we kept count of our worked hours on a paper sheet hung in the factory).

‘Little me’ started working in such capacity at 12. Perfect (right?), I was on schedule! Apart from being illegal, never mind again… But then, everybody knows that teenage years wreck havoc in our lives and that is what exactly happened to me too. Around the age of 16, I fancied to get a higher education, I wanted to learn languages because travelling for work was my dream. Heresy! ‘Girls don’t need an education!!!‘, my father yelled. He yelled so loudly I can still remember it. It was not just ‘heretic’ to get an education though; the worst part was that instead of using my savings to prepare for my wedding, *gasp* I was using them to put myself in the condition of finding a job that required me to stay out of the house! In the end, I did get married but I was 40 already, needless to say my savings would have not lasted that long!

At 17, a far worse event happened, total total heresy! I wanted to use more of my savings to attend a drama school. My mum was an ex opera singer, whose aspirations and ambition had been shattered by ‘real life’. Or so she recounts the whole thing nowadays. But not all lives need to end up the same way, right? Her father, still alive at the time, supported the idea. My father was yelling all the time as you can imagine, even threatening to kick me out of the house, which didn’t happen… although I wasn’t actually allowed to rent a piano until I was 18 (damn father!). I was enrolled in a proper music school, learnt to play piano/singing/read music; unfortunately, I did not attend any drama course but found a way to appear in a movie anyway (I hope it got burnt, it was a weird indie thing!).

As you can imagine, given that you have never heard of me, nothing came to fruition. Since I stopped studying in 1995, I did many jobs until I definitely left Italy 8 years ago. I also found a way to migrate nearly everywhere since I was 24 but… the artistic thing never took off. As I am reminiscing about it these days, I wonder if my chronic defeatist attitude played a part in it and to what degree. I have the same attitude to my studies, “oh no, I’m not going to make it, I will get a fail, etc etc.”. As of today, I’ve only had a C in my degree course and it was in Level 1, so it’s not going to count for my final mark.

So, would my artistic career have taken off if I wasn’t so down-beaten by my own attitude to it? Possibly. I even scored auditions I never went to, auditions I was ill-prepared to face but sabotaged them on purpose (God knows why!), and even offers for one of my scripts that I never bothered to pay attention to!!
At this point you would think I am an idiot…. Why would anyone be threatened by success to the point that once you get the chance you don’t go through with it? Well, here I am, call me idiot if you like, but I was overwhelmed by the idea. Every. Single. Time.

You would also think I regretted that. Actually, I do but surely my number 1 reason is not what you are thinking about. I never really cared about being famous, having fans or making a crapload of money. Many of these chances might have not led to any of the above anyway. However, it led to something I have regretted: I gave up on the opportunity of doing a job I would have liked. The mindset of my upbringing “do any job because you need money”, drilled into me since a young age, has kept ruining my life over and over again, even when I didn’t actually need any money. It still does because I’m getting a degree in archaeology and history but if you asked me which job I will likely do after I graduate, I wouldn’t probably answer “archaeologist or historian”. I would fall on the old mindset ‘I need a job, whatever that is’.

And this brings a lot of dissatisfaction, a sense of ‘impossible achievement’ as regards anything I ever endeavoured to study or pursue. And given that in two days I will be 45, these thoughts heavily weigh on me. The ‘artist-that-will-never-be’ sounds now ominous and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth any time my mind wanders there.

Merlin, The Big Loser

P.S.: Silver lining: Considering the entertainment field’s obsession with youth and artists who are required to botox themselves to death, at least I’m not paraded around in retarded selfies like the one below where I need to keep my mouth open all the time (“I’m too sexy for this selfie, too sexy for this selfie” ahahaha)

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The Cumberbatch Overload

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I think this pic already summarises it all… Does any of you know who Benedict Cumberbatch is? Well, he is a tv/theatre/movie actor. Nothing strange in that.

However…. recently he has started to be EVERYWHERE (see the tweet above) and he became overexposed before being actually ‘famous’. In a few words, without being in anything incredibly successful (except Sherlock or Star Trek Into Darkness), he started to be in tv events, commercials, several apparitions at awards, even Richard III’s reburial ceremony!!! (that stinks, because I’m an Archaeology/History student at Leicester and I’d have preferred.. someone else!! Colin Firth, for example? Hmm..).

And then you wonder.. people like him, Miley Cyrus or the Kardashian women.. what have they done so relevant to be there in the first place? Is the modern world obsessing over celebrities who are ‘famous’ for no reason at all? Although Cumberbatch actually seems talented (he’s not that good-looking, so he must have something special elsewhere…), but I guess many others are too? :-/

I liked all the series of BBC’s Sherlock, even though the third one was quite full of plot holes and absurd scenes. My husband and I started to watch a rerun of the second series; the actor in ‘The Hobbit’ (Martin Freeman) was in it and my husband also had heard several good reviews about it. We also thought ‘oh well, you know the guy who plays Sherlock is quite good too’ and thought that we could check/watch some of his work in the future… I guess we’ll never get the chance though, because Mr. Cumberbatch has been shoveled in our faces every day for the last 6 months. I would even have thought that it was past him to play the ‘private life’ charade in front of the cameras in order to stay relevant. Ugh, that didn’t happen unfortunately. Now I even know his wife’s name, not that I was missing that LOL

So the conclusion of my brief post would be: overexposure, in any case, is bad. I’m aware that ‘bad publicity is always publicity’, but I lost the count of how many people were turned off Mr. Cumberbatch from autumn last year until today, therefore ‘not all publicity is good’, quite the opposite. Surely, the hard-core fans didn’t stop following him, the more the better for them. However, probably ‘normal’ fans don’t count anymore and nowadays actors only pander to their fanbases to sell tickets and make a living.

This crazy cat-lady is clearly too old-fashioned to get it 😉

Merlin x

Tom Hiddleston…. I see you? You don’t…

Is anyone here remembering the song “I see you” by Mika?

I used to listen to it a lot a few years ago (2009), maybe because it mirrored the way I felt at that time…

“I’m sitting across from you
And dreaming of the things I do
I don’t speak, you don’t know me at all

For fear of what you might do
I say nothing but stare at you
And I’m dreaming
I’m tripping over you”

Strangely enough, it never mirrored any ‘feelings’ I had for… Someone famous? Actually, how can you even have feelings for someone you never met in real life (here the use of the verb ‘to meet’ could mean ‘to see’)? Well, it might come as a surprise to you, but some people have.

Although it is not news to me, it never fails to surprise me. I can be honest here… I NEVER got the meaning of ‘fandom’ in the same way that some of those people do. I don’t know why I could never be star-struck by anyone’s fame. Of course, at some point in my life I was, too, one of those ladies pining away for some actor/singer, the flavour of the month or the year. Nevertheless, I was never obsessed to the point of going to their concerts, movie premieres and so on. Well, let alone about having a faint idea who they date or where they live. I saw Matt Damon once and… That’s it. It was not instagrammed, pinterested, facebooked, tweeted and so on…

Life changes and can become hectic all of a sudden, movie actors crushes don’t stand the test of time, they tend to fade away. I thought that nowadays, in this technological and consumeristic era, everything is ‘used’ in a split second and thrown away and only a few things keep us interested for longer. Well, I was not deluded enough to believe that movie fandom hadn’t changed from the 1950s, when my mum was young and she innocently cut Tony Curtis pics off from magasines. However, the change in 60 years was greater than I could have ever imagined…. Once movie stars lived in Hollywood and they lived another life. You couldn’t invest much of yourself in that, they were no more or less than Martians. Now PR teams delude legion of fans into believing that these ‘aliens’ are actually down-to-earth… Hey audiences, Martians landed and they are friendly. With the heck, nope… They have millions, they drive cars you would need to sell your house to buy one, they walk on red carpets whilst the only carpet I walk on all time is everything but red lol

About 6 months ago I started to be interested in the movie world again, just out of curiosity and.. maybe business. I started to polish my old scripts, I am studying for my BA in Archeology and Ancient History and I am at home most of the day….. so I just browse the internet when I am bored. God knows how, I came across one of those gossip sites (that are highly addictive) where you can comment on a topic/news and I started posting there.
I always was part of forums/boards of any kind for the last decade, yet I was not aware that the online world had expanded into another ‘dimension’.
One of these new dimensions is actually the blogging universe and tumblr. But I will speak about it later.

First thread I stumbled into was a topic about one of the “Thor – The Dark World” premieres (I forgot which one). What really shocked me whilst I was reading the comments was the degree of involvement that some people had for the characters of the movie and who play the roles. It seemed like some people actually were even curious to know what kind of shoe size Chris Hemsworth-Thor wears (I don’t even know my hubby’s shoe size and I need to check if I want to buy shoes as a pressie!). The thirst for curiosity and sordid details even skyrocketed to the moon concerning Hiddleston-Loki though. Whilst Hemsworth has been married for a few years now and his female fans are a bit more restrained than Hiddleston’s in their fantasies, if you read anything about the latter… You might sue someone because you want to bleach your mind from what you read about him and you can’t delete it (although Gerard Butler and Michael Fassbender’s fans are equally rabid and derailed).

Btw, for people who don’t know who Hiddleston is, he is the guy on the left in the picture (From Coriolanus rehearsals at Donmar theatre – London):

I got to the point I would have liked to slap the commenters and then ask them how they got to be so detached from reality. Is it really our online culture that produces such an outcome? An endless fantasising about people who are real but at the same time they are not real because they don’t know we exist? That is why this morning I was reminded of the song I posted above, “I see you…” Hell but ‘they’ don’t…. It feels like the line between reality and screen/online reality got blurred somehow and somewhere, but it is not clear anymore who is in what…

Concerning the blogging universe, the worst of the worst about Hiddleston was/is on Tumblr. I felt dirty just at the thought I am blogging on tumblr too, although my little rants only support the main domain (where you can’t comment, thank God, thank God!) and my posts are usually and mainly about anything that irritates me at any given moment. I am a very opinionated bitch and if I don’t want to spend my time online arguing with everyone, well… Better to have a blog and let the steam go off there 😉
In fact… If by mistake I was going to post this on a Hiddleston online thread, anywhere on the planet, I was probably going to be crucified for it. Yes, his fans are ‘that’ involved. You can’t express your mild opinion about him in front of his online fans, the punishment would be worse than William Wallace’s (who was quartered and spread all over Scotland.. That is nothing William! You never saw this age, you lucky guy!). Personally, I think he is great as an actor… As Kenneth Branagh, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and many others are…. Many would be even better, they are just not famous yet or maybe they will never be. Fame is not ‘recognition’, it is also luck. A great deal of luck. And I even spat in the face of it, many years ago… When a talent scout asked me if I wanted to act and I said “No, thank you”. If I had said yes, would I have probably been discussed and my life scrutinised one million times on Tumblr by now? Imagine lots of people discussing if my boobies are sagging or if I had plastic surgery or if I am having a lesbian relationship with my best friend….

Jesus, so glad I said no to the opportunity.

I dearly hope Tom Hiddleston enjoys fame and his fans, because in case he doesn’t… he would be the unhappiest person of the planet….

Whilst Merlin lives… Happily ever after in her ‘invisible’ Camelot 🙂

by Merlin