THE FIRST THING I DID WITH MY 2:1 IN DRAMA FROM BRISTOL UNIVERSITY…

… was, apparently, write time-wasting letters to the National Theatre. I recently found copies, which I leave here for the crows who feast on youthful hubris.

19th December 1995

The Chairman,

Royal National Theatre,

South Bank,

London,

SE1 9PX

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you to apply for the position of Richard Eyre advertised in The Guardian, Monday 18th December. As a recent graduate with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Drama, I have a wide range of experience in all types of theatre, including front of house work. My current job of working in the Cash Office and on the Information Desk of a busy high street chemist has provided me with the administrative and problem-solving skills necessary to be Richard Eyre. I work well under pressure.

I have visited the Royal National Theatre several times, most recently to see ‘An Inspector Calls’ which was quite good, and this has provided me with a good working knowledge of what the job of Richard Eyre would entail. The current Richard Eyre is, I understand, quite old, but I feel a more youthful approach may bring a new slant to the position and I am younger than Sam Mendes. I also own a light cotton safari suit.

In my spare time I enjoy fencing, watching television and socialising. I have good communication skills and I work well both on my own and as part of a team. I was a prefect in my secondary school and was secretary of the University of Bristol Drama Society.

I am required to give my present employers, Boots the Chemists Ltd, one month’s notice but after that time I am available to work every day except Saturday. If I am accepted in the position of the new Richard Eyre I am willing to relocate to London so there will be no need for me to commute.

As I am aware that the Royal National Theatre funds are limited, I have enclosed an SSAE.

Yours faithfully,

Daniel Tetsell, BA(Hons) 

Fair play, they did send me a polite letter, including an application pack. Having nothing better to do than avoid moving back in with my parents, I replied.

29th January 1996

Dear Sir,

APPLICATION FOR APPOINTMENT AS SUCCESSOR TO RICHARD EYRE, DIRECTOR, ROYAL NATIONAL THEATRE

Following your letter of 4th January, I thought I should address each of the points outlined in the ‘Qualifications and Qualities’ section of your infobooklet in order.

1. A commitment to artistic excellence.

Yes, I have a commitment to artistic excellence.

2. A track record of success, preferably at first hand as a director, in the production of British and international drama.

I have first hand experience at directing British drama and have been in a play in Edinburgh written by an American.

3. A clear and distinctive vision of the National as a national theatre.

It is clear to my vision that the National should be distinctly national as indicated by the name. If it catered purely for a minority of London-based artists and critics it would not be held in such high regard by people in Hull or other such places.

4. The gift of communicating that vision, effectively and persuasively, to the staff of the National at every level and to the public.

Learning from my experience at Boots The Chemists Ltd, I would hold weekly ‘team meetings’ every Tuesday morning. This would necessitate opening later, probably about 9.30am but I would communicate the need for this effectively and persuasively to the general public who would be sure to be accommodating.

 5. The ability to be an effective team builder.

 I am an effective team builder.

6. The ability to motivate and to inspire.

I believe the appointment of a relatively inexperienced successor to Richard Eyre, Director, Royal National Theatre, would motivate and inspire the staff to achieve better things.

7. Experience, or understanding, of strategic management, including the management of financial resources (particularly at a time of constrained budgets), as well as project and staff management.

Once again my experience will stand me in good stead in meeting the requirement of this slightly longer paragraph. I am an unemployed Drama graduate and thus have ample experience in the management of financial resources (particularly at a time of constrained budgets).

8. An awareness of the major issues facing the National, British theatre and other major Arts companies.

I know, I know. Just do not talk to me about it. I blame the government. I have recently written an angry and pompous letter to The Guardian about it, which I got 39 of my friends to sign.

9. Practical experience of running a theatre would be highly desirable.

I have built and sold tickets from the Box Office of a busy Edinburgh Fringe venue.

I hope these points will clarify my application and make your choice a bit easier. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Daniel Tetsell, BA(Hons)

I didn’t get the job. Which is lucky as I would probably have passed on Warhorse.

LOW BUDGET INDIE FILM TITLES: A PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY

So, you want to make a low budget indie film.

You’ve booked Laura Linney and/or Mark Ruffalo; you’ve location scouted some really moody wheat fields; you found a Moldy Peaches CD in a bargain bin so the soundtrack’s sorted; you’ve arranged a screening at Sundance and Raindance and Riverdance and are mentally prepared for all the months of adulation and years of disappointment a indie film festival hit can bring. There’s just one problem – your low budget indie film doesn’t have a suitably low budget indie film title. Well, do what I do; take a walk down the street and steal one off a sign. Any street will do. Take for instance Dawes Road, Fulham. After just a ten-minute stroll I had enough low budget indie film titles to fill that snooty independent DVD rental place where all the film studies postgrads work.

How about…?

The Fish Bowl

THE FISH BOWL: Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo excel in this intense drama about the breakdown of a marriage seen through the eyes of the people who live opposite.

Heritage Ltd

HERITAGE LTD: Mark Ruffalo uncovers corruption in the corridors of the National Trust.

Same Day

SAME DAY: Laura Linney stars as a jaded socialite, trapped in a loveless marriage. Across town her cleaner Rosario (a stunning Mark Ruffalo) tries to catch a bus.

The Fulham Dentist

THE FULHAM DENTIST: Chris O’Dowd, Chewitel Ejiofor, Catherine Tate, Bill Paterson and Gillian Anderson star alongside Laura Linney in Jez Butterworth’s darkly comic thriller.

Single File Traffic

SINGLE FILE TRAFFIC: Sally Hawkins gives an award-nominated performance as a traumatised Territorial Army quartermaster getting back on the dating scene in Bristol. (Dir: Mark Ruffalo)

Curtains and Duvets

CURTAINS & DUVETS: From Annie Griffin, director of ‘Festival’, this new ‘comedy’ takes place over one day in the stock room of a John Lewis. Stars Mark Wooton, Gillian Anderson and Jessica Stevenson Spaced Hynes. “Finally, a comedy for people who don’t like comedy” Time Out

Any of these

Yeah, any of these would make a perfectly servicable indie film title. If NO LOADING was on at the Curzon they’d eat it up.

Homestead Road

HOMESTEAD ROAD: In 1970s Arizona, dying farmer Ed Harris awaits the return of his estranged, gay, Vietnam veteran adopted son (Laura Linney). Contains scenes of mild family secret unearthing.

Tea with Jesus

TEA WITH JESUS: Every  week for twenty years four black women meet at their church to talk about life, love, children and being a black woman. Stars Mark Ruffalo, Chris O’Dowd, Eddie Marsan and Gillian Anderson. “Deceptively racist” Time Out

Sitting Pretty

SITTING PRETTY: Blah blah Mike Leigh blah blah heart-warming comedy blah blah stupid Cockney voice blah blah shocking rape scene blah blah Palm D’or.

Lannoy Point

LANNOY POINT: Twenty years after her daughter drowned on a family holiday, Laura Linney returns to Lannoy Point to confront her ghosts. Not real ghosts, unfortunately. Co-stars Tim Lovejoy in his first film role.

See you in Aspen!

Oh do fuck off…

There’s a cafe near me. They have boards outside. I presume they’re there to lure the people of Hammersmith inside with their wit and quirky charm. In fact they’re just a terribly middle class version of the ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here…’ signs of yesteryear. Come on in, they seem to say, we’re funky, fun-loving and cool a nest of utter fucking twats.

Exhibit A.

Board 1

Every time I walk past they have a new one…

Board 2

And every one is worse than the last…

Board 3

Are they copying them out of a shitty book?

Board 4

Or is there some cut-price Purple Ronnie working behind the state-of-the-art espresso/yummy mummy bilking machine?

Board 5

Exclamation! Marks! Now you know! It’s funny!

So, listen up, Lola & Simon (yes, this is the blog that names names), if you insist on putting these boards out then I’m going to keep taking photos of them and putting them on the internet and mocking them and, and… I think this is what a breakdown feels like.