Recently, I got an email out of the blue from a friend I haven’t spoken to in years. I literally had no idea where he was or what he was doing. He told me that a film that he made that I was in was finally ready to be shown to the public, and that it was being shown in a cinema in Islington, London and asked if I'd like to come and watch it. It took me a while to even recall the film he was talking about because it had been so long ago. It transpired that he has been living on the streets of London for over four years but thanks to homeless charity C4WS had been given access to computers, Wi-Fi, everything he needed to complete his project. Vice Media UK heard about his story and decided to make a documentary about Dave's journey, topping it off with the red carpet London premiere of Mystic Demon Killer.
It was an emotional experience to hear what had happened to Dave, but the fact that he had finished his project made me overjoyed and I was determined to go and offer my support. The night was spectacular, the beautiful cinema packed to the rafters. Catching up with good friends, reminiscing about old times, mocking my laughable performance on camera, and marveling at Dave’s determination at finishing a film over 12 years in the making. It filled me with admiration and respect for his positivity throughout it all, when it would have been so easy to give up on his dreams. The overwhelming joy on his face said it all.
It has reminded me to keep at it, no matter how hard it gets. Being creative can be difficult. You may come up with ideas easily but persevering is no mean feat. It also reminded me to say yes more often. Had I not said yes to giving up my time to star in a film for nothing, I wouldn’t have got to be part of such a beautiful story.
I’ve always said yes to things. If something sounds interesting and I truly have no valid reason to say no I’ll do it. It’s easy to create reasons to say no- I have to watch this TV program before I see spoilers, I’m preparing for a holiday in three months time, I’m boiling a big egg etc, but they are just excuses. When you say yes to things, even things that you’re unsure of, you’ll get something out of it, even if it’s only a story to tell your friends in the pub. Thanks to me saying yes I have had so many unique experiences, each offering a perspective that I may not have had had I said no. I’ve been an undertaker, I’ve been Father Christmas, I’ve been a Mountie in a programme about serial killers, I’ve performed at the Apollo, had a Chinese meal with Eddie Izzard, Alistair Darling and JK Rowling, and done countless TV and radio appearances. On the downside, I’ve slept on park benches, been threatened, died on my backside more times than I can remember, been unable to pay the rent on time and many more things that made me think I should give this up and get a 9-5. And I don’t regret a single thing, because each and every one of those experiences has given me a story to tell, either on stage or on paper.
So I will continue to say yes to things if I can, and I will finish things that I start. If it doesn’t work out, then meet me in the pub and I’ll tell you one hell of a story about it.
And I've already said yes to Mystic Demon Killer 2.
The c4ws homeless project are available here http://c4wshomelessproject.org/
Vice Media UK are here https://www.vice.com/en_uk
Mystic Demon Killer can be bought or hired here, with all proceeds going to help David off the streets https://vimeo.com/ondemand/mysticdemonkiller