I'm the sort of person to walk past Amy Winehouse in the street and feel the same level of excitement about her as the little old lady walking a dog behind her. I know because it actually happened a while back, when both women were still alive and well, although, to be fair I don't actually know about the little old lady: she may well outlive us all. Although I recognised the incredible singer-songwriter (and fragile looking human being) standing next to me I, unlike most people nearby, carried on as normal. Don't get me wrong, I have always admired Amy Winehouse's work and hope I can make music even a tenth as good as hers some day, but famous people, however clever and talented, just don't excite me. This may be because when people go left I tend to go right, and that when they become hysterical I tend to remain calm, a kind of equilibrium I feel honourbound to maintain. But more than that I think it's because I genuinely believe that people are equal, so unless I would jump up and down screaming if I got an appointment with my favourite GP or feel giddy because the friendly guy with the beautiful smile is working on the tills today in Tescos, I can't bring myself to go crazy about someone on TV.
That being said, when a performer does something that changes me in some way I feel I should acknowledge it, just like I should probably tell the guy at Tescos that he has a great smile or my GP that she's my favourite. Because it's good to hear that you made a difference and that the work you do has meaning to someone else. Acting, or singing for that matter, is rarely seen as a noble profession. It's entertainment and not humanitarian aid relief or life-saving surgery after all, and for for years I know I struggled to tell people that my sister was a doctor whilst I was a singer. That was until I realised that performing is not just about a performer scratching an itch, fulfilling a desire to be seen and admired, it's about the audience watching the performance, who should and I believe do get something in return for their time, attention and in some cases money. I think it is possible to write and sing a song that connects with a person so that they feel understood, less lonely and even occasionally empowered, and that TV can do that too. In fact good TV can be therapy in lots of ways...
When my mum had terminal cancer and I had a couple of weeks off from my day-job to help care for her, it was the Once Upon a Time season 1 boxset, lent to me by a friend, that got me through. It was the escape that I desperately needed when I was too tired and too sad to face my newfound reality. Many times since then, I have watched an episode of my favourite TV programme and found it held a mirror up to my soul, exposing the cracks and wounds within, showing me why I needed to find a therapist as soon as possible and what I should talk to him or her about when I did. Sometimes TV is the wake-up call you never knew you needed.
I must admit I only started watching The Last Kingdom as a filler until Game of Thrones came back on, but season 2 was really great TV and made something inside me come alive that I thought was gone for good. For many months love stories were utterly repellent to me. Warriors beating each other senseless and Queens riding dragons were fine, but a couple in love? Not so much. People would talk about passion, romance and desire, whether in real-life or in fiction, and I would roll my eyes or scrunch up my nose as if to say 'yuk', like a 5 year old boy being asked what he thinks of girls. I even did some research into asexuality to see if maybe it was the key to my recent disinterest and disgust. Watching a particular episiode about Erik and Aethelfled's forbidden romance did something to my scrunched up nose though, it softened it. I began to realise that the part of me inside which used to appreciate and yearn for romance wasn't dead after all. It had just been having a nap, and so, to the writers, actors and director of that particular episode I am especially grateful. If nothing else I can start writing love songs again.