It’s been a quiet year outside of trips to the US and luckily things started to pick up by October. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t ever get a job again. Prior to the good news I went a bit mad – I discovered that my year-long slog trying to raise funds for my children’s theatre piece Captain Pancake had to be postponed due to lack of funding and now it seemed all doors were (for the moment at least) closed. That plus a lack of paid work and I found myself pacing my apartment with a big beard, dwindling funds and dwindling self-confidence.
So rejoice! I got a job and flew to Zurich to put my bearded self to good use in a series of ads for Swisscom. First up was learning 3 language scripts, as they shoot all ads in French, Swiss-German and Italian (who knew?!) and I found myself in a room with a language coach and my co-star, sporting exquisite facial hair. There was something very familiar about this guy, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
It turns out that this man ACTUALLY spends his whole life as St. Nicholas and when not being the big man himself, he teaches other men to be the ruddy-faced gent. Ironically this ‘Method Santa’ was from Los Angeles – one of the sunniest places on the planet. I found myself wondering at what point does a Californian sun-kissed man make that decision to embrace Babbo Natale? Do you have a particular long period without work, grow a beard and then have a unfortunate accident with some bleach? Or is it more of a calling, like a festive Moses, where instead of burning bush there was a frozen dinner that spoke to him? “The beard maketh the man!” it whistled, as it defrosted in the microwave. Whatever it was, I stared at him reciting lines in a medley of languages clearly riddled with beard envy.
The work hasn’t stopped there and more things to announce shortly, including the purchase of some new razor blades. I’m going back to a clean look before I get sucked into a beard-off.