No business like show business! By Roman Harris
I hope you’re all well and welcome back to another blog. This week I found myself wondering whether I should start a podcast, many people are doing them these days, however, there’s something about sitting and writing/typing that I find rather therapeutic as opposed to talking. I think when writing you can sit with your thoughts a little more, you can also be a lot more measured and precise. Maybe one day I’ll start a podcast but for now let me continue to be consistent with this blog and then see what the future holds. Plus…(warning…mini rant coming) If I’m going to do a podcast then it has to be quality. I’ve heard too many bad podcasts. If you’re going to make a podcast at least make an attempt to do it well. Like, for starters, get a decent microphone and record it in a space that’s built well for recording sound and If you’re going to have 4 or 5 of your friends on the podcast at the same time, make sure everyone has a microphone close enough to capture their voice…that’s just basics man! What’s the point of a podcast if you can’t hear what everyone is saying. Ok, rant over. Now on to the good stuff.
Remember in my last blog I told you that I had been working on a project, well. It’s time to tell all. Back in July I decided to quit my part time job working for UBER and focus more on my creativity (I retired with a 5* rating I might add).
Music is my main passion but I am also a huge fan of stand-up comedy and so I threw myself into this world, performing my first gig on the 4th July at a comedy night in Brixton called ‘Get Laughs Or Die Trying’ a night created by Sotonye Ogan who is a very talented comedian. Following the success of this gig I continued to find other places to perform and my third gig was for a comedy company called Nice n’ Spikey. After I performed at this gig I was approached by a casting director for ITV who was in the audience that evening. He asked whether I would be interested appearing in the revamp of a TV gameshow. This gameshow turned out to be ‘Supermarket Sweep’ and I would play a recurring role as a cashier. It was an offer I could not refuse and so, over a 10 day period we filmed 20 episodes, of which I appeared in 14 of them. The show is hosted by Rylan Clark-Neal of ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and debuts on ITV 2, tonight, the 9th September at 8pm. I’m so excited!
Working on this show was really great fun, not only did it give me a chance to showcase my acting and developing comedic skills but it also opened up a few doors for my music, hopefully the clips of me singing make the final edit. On one occasion I even had the opportunity to perform my single ‘Get Me Got Me’ to a live studio audience. It was surreal. One thing that stood out to me the most during my time filming at Maidstone Studios was just how much everyone seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. The days were long, filming wasn’t always easy and not everything went to plan, but through it all there was a feeling that people were where they wanted to be and that was so refreshing to be around and made me want to chase a life in entertainment now more than ever.
Recently, whilst travelling in to work I caught myself looking at my watch and noticed the seconds ticking away. As I stood there on a packed district line train I had the sobering thought that these are the seconds of my life ticking away. These are the seconds of all of our lives ticking away, so why not do the things that we genuinely want to do. I take some comfort in knowing that I am doing my best to chase my dreams and getting a spot on this show through the strength of my comedy was proof that I am moving in the right direction. I hope you all enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.
Another date for your diaries is Friday 13th September. This is a date that you surely cannot forget, I mean come on…It’s Friday 13th. This is the day that my next single ‘Upon a Lifetime’ will go on pre-sale. I know we live in an age where purchasing music is not something we all do regularly, myself included, but it would mean the world to me if you spread the word to your friends and family about this song and buy it. I remember the day that I sat at my keyboard and this song just poured out of me, when I say that this song is my heart I truly mean it. It was written at a time when I was in such pain and sadness but there’s also a lot of love in this track and I feel like these emotions can be felt when you listen to this song. I just know you’ll be moved by it.
In other news, I was pleasantly surprised this week with an invitation to see the play ‘Hamilton’ at the Victoria Theatre. A good friend of mine had VIP tickets, and when I say VIP I’m talking, stalls, 3rd row, smack bang in the middle, complementary wine at the interval (which I had too much of) free programmes and access backstage after the show to meet the cast. It was a great night and I thank you brother for the invite. Sitting so close to the stage was a great experience, however, I’m not sure I’d like to do it again. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to be close to the action but at times I found myself eyeing up the women on stage a bit too much, I’d say at least 30% of the time...ok…maybe more. They were so sexy and of course talented. You know what dancers are like...right? No? Just me? Hmmmm, they’re soooooo flexible! I was so distracted that at times it was bloody hard to follow the storyline. I think the play was about this guy who went to New York to be a battle rapper or something...but yo! The women though! I kid, I kid. The show was amazing, though I think I’ll stick to the dress circle next time.
As I write this section of my weekly blog I am on a flight to Rome. I know you must be thinking that my life is a movie but trust me, not every week is packed with this much excitement and activity. So, why am I heading to Rome? Good question...it’s because I missed my flight to Perugia! That’s why! So embarrassing! (And if you don’t know where Perugia is, don’t worry, because I sure didn’t either, but Perugia is a city in the Italian region of Umbria, see, this blog is entertaining and educational) Remember when I said I drank too much wine at ‘Hamilton’ Well...I was due to catch an early morning flight the next day and by the time I got home I was pretty tipsy. I decided I’d try to stay awake through the night, I only had to kill a few hours before my coach for the airport, so I set my alarm (just in case I fell asleep) and started watching episodes of ‘The Office’ the next thing I know I’m waking up on my sofa to the sound of birds and the sun in the sky. At first I had no clue why I was on my sofa, then I slowly started to remember the night before, “ahh, yeah, Hamilton! That was great!...hmmm the women” Then I started to feel like there was somewhere I was meant be, then........”FUCK!!!!!!!!” There was nothing I could do, my flight would leave in one hour, there was no way I’d make it to Stansted in time!
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that I’m “Mr Reliable” but every now and then I honestly surprise myself. Now, what I haven’t told you is the reason I was going to Perugia, it was for a wedding, a wedding that I had been asked to perform at. (yes, I know that I’m shooting myself in the foot when it comes to being booked for future gigs but this story is rather entertaining so I’ll take the chance) I could not let the Bride and Groom down, so I did what any noble man would do and started to work on the perfect lie to cover up this enormous screw up! Just kidding! I grabbed my credit card, accepted that I was about to put myself into a sea of debt and worked out a way to get there! The best route seemed to be London to Rome then a train from Rome to Perugia, and so, here I sit, about 1 hour into my flight with another hour to go, followed by a 45 minute journey to the railway station then a 2 hour train ride to Perugia and finally another 45 minute drive to the hotel. The VIP ‘Hamilton’ tickets were free, but I’m paying for them now!
I arrived in Perugia past midnight, everything was fine until I got to Rome Termini which is the central railway station in Rome. My train was delayed, then eventually cancelled. The next train was then delayed and when we finally departed what was meant to be a 2 hour trip took 3.5 hours. It was honestly the trip from hell but it was all my fault. Got to take this one on the chin! I’m not a fan of arriving in to new places at night, all I could see was darkness, but as the sun rose I was greeted with spectacular views. This region of Italy is absolutely amazing. I mean, of course there may be more amazing regions. as this is the first I’ve seen but it’s truly spectacular here, what a treasure. The venue for this wedding is amazing too and I had the pleasure of playing some songs at the pre-wedding party, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve always been a fan of weddings, there’s so much love and positivity and everyone’s in high spirits. However, when the pre-wedding party finished I checked my phone and came to find a few messages shared in a WhatsApp group that I’m a part of and the messages weren’t positive. You see, I play football with a great bunch of guys every Saturday and one of them has been battling Cancer for a while now. Sadly he lost his battle and messages of condolences flooded the group. Upon hearing of a death there’s a range of emotions that you are overcome by and helplessness is one of them. That’s how I felt. Here I am in Italy about to see a friend of mine get married and start a new journey in his life and on the other hand another friend has come to the end of his road. Life can be so unfair. I sat alone under the stars and shed tears, I called a few people close to me and sent a few text messages and would like to thank those of you that provided the support I needed at the time. It means a lot! Bless you brother. You were truly a gentleman and a kind soul, you faced your illness with bravery, a true fighter! I liked you even though you were a Chelsea fan and I’ll will miss you mate, we all will! Rest in peace Ian.
Upon waking up the next day, as well as being ridiculously hung over (I swear...I don’t have a drinking problem despite all the evidence against me) I was ever so thankful for life and took a moment to contact a few people to let them know just how much they meant to me. The day ahead would be a big one and was the the reason I flew to Italy. My manager was getting married. I was touched to get an invite to the wedding, especially as I’ve only known him for 6 months, but come on...who wouldn’t want me at their wedding? I kid! I’m not that conceited. You see, I was promoted back in March and upon moving to my new fire station (Yes...I’m a Firefighter) and finding out that my manager was getting married I had a chat with him and told him not to feel any pressure to invite me to his wedding. You see I understand that these things take a lot of planning and preparation and so I wouldn’t have been offended if an invite didn’t come my way. But alas, he did invite me and the wedding was amazing. The ceremony was short...just the way I like wedding ceremonies but it was also very moving. There were a few showers earlier in the day and even during the ceremony the rain threatened to fall but it held off and later on the sun came out to create the perfect setting. It was such a beautiful day. Later in the evening we sat for dinner and speeches. The venue was immaculate and on our tables were individual handwritten notes from the bride and groom. Words mean so much to me and the words that were written in my note gave me goosebumps. We go through life not always knowing how others feel about us, or the impact we have on them so to receive a card with words that express such things meant a lot. After events of the last few days I think it’s important to let people know how you feel. If you love someone, let them know, for all we have is this life, so make the moments count.
As I come to the end of this week’s blog I am sat here in Perugia airport, yes! That’s right! I’m not missing this flight! I’m drinking a black coffee and seriously considering giving up alcohol. I’ve done so before for 3 months and the benefits were plentiful. The next wedding I’ll be attending is in mid-October so I think I’ll take a break until then. I’ll let you know how I get on in next week’s blog!
Just before I go I’ll leave you with these reminders:
. Tune in to ITV2 tonight at 8pm to catch the first episode of Supermarket Sweep!
. Remember ‘Upon a Lifetime’ goes on pre-sale on the 13th September.
. Don’t get drunk the night before a flight or any form of travel for that matter. Even if you have VIP tickets to see ‘Hamilton’
. DON’T MISS A FLIGHT!!!!
. Finally, share your feelings with those that matter to you and remember to do something for yourself with the time you have.
Thanks for reading, be well and I’ll catch you next week.