Low Lights, Big City

Between 1967-1970 I travelled extensively throughout Northern Ireland, Norway and South America, culminating in a short stop over in New York. It was there that I first got the acting bug it was my ‘period of self-indulgence ‘, attending jazz and poetry classes, digesting Kerouac and Kesey, Miles Davies and Chet Baker. By that time I was playing small jazz clubs and bars, it was on one of those gigs that I met actor John Cassavetes, I was a great fan, so when he asked if he could sit in on my kit I readily obliged. He had a very interesting approach to drumming, the technique was raw and unschooled, more style than content, when I told him this he was delighted, I was gobsmacked when I was later told that he had never played drums before.
I later attended some of his acting classes, at one point I asked him how I should deliver my lines, he said.”Think of the biggest, most outrageously comically large meal on the English menu”. I recalled the Desperate Dan character of the Beano comics. “Cow Pie”I said. He looked puzzled.”And the smallest?” I thought.”Jam butty,” I replied. After a rather pregnant pause, he said. “Right, to the power of ten we have Cow Pie, to the power of one we have a Jam Butty, right? He added. “Now consider all the meals of increasing volume from one to ten, lets say, Jam butty, pancakes, bacon and fries, club sandwich, beef and potatoes all the way up to Cow Pie, yeah?” I nod. “Right, now, deliver your lines….give me bacon and fries”. So, there you have it, Method acting chalked up on a blackboard in a greasy spoon near you.

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2 Responses to “Low Lights, Big City”

  1. Hey Barney – just saw you on TV in “how the Brits took America” ../quite a cool documentary.

  2. You were amazing in Sebastiane!!!! :)

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