Dinner Jacket or Morning Coat? You Choose!

The Importance of Profile Pics for Casting Agencies

With an exciting new string to my bow—I have signed up as a supporting artist (formerly known as a (lowly) extra)—I need to post photos on my casting agency profile page that will get me noticed.

How does it work?

The production company forwards a brief to the casting agency for, let’s say twenty extras, three of which must be 50-70 years old (check), well dressed (keep reading), and average looking (check) – as supporting artists must blend into the background, not draw the eye away from the leading actors. The casting agency then selects maybe 100 suitable candidates from their books, from which the producer makes his/her 20 choices.

So my profile photos need to include business, casual, sporty, and for today, formal choices—to make sure I get put forward for the greatest range of roles. My formal wear consists of a dinner jacket (aka black tie or tuxedo) and my morning dress (no, it’s not a dress).

Dinner Jacket Jaunts

This has served me well since my university days, when I seemed to clamber into it every few weeks for one event or another: the college dining club, a charity fund-raiser, someone’s twenty-first, the celebration after a wedding. The tie itself is what we call a single-ender: far easier to tie than the double-ender (which proved useful when a playful young woman decided to give it a midnight tug).

This faithful dinner jacket is beginning to show its age (cigarette burn on arm, missing cuff button) but it has rubbed shoulders with royal princes and princesses, billionaires, international sportsmen, politicians…and far more impressively, many dear lifetime friends.

Back in the day, it was an essential prop in a wicked hangover or two (never say yes to a second glass of port). Now its outings are less frequent but at least it still fits!

Morning Dress Mayhem

With my own wedding approaching in my youth, I needed formal morning dress—the traditional attire associated with the greatest day/mistake (delete as appropriate) of one’s life on this side of the Atlantic.

The morning dress comprises uncomfortably thick, coarsely striped trousers, a beige (or grey) waistcoat and black tailcoat. A white or cream shirt and sober(ish) tie. Lace-up shoes polished to within an inch of their lives.

I’ve only worn my morning dress to weddings as the Queen is yet to invite me to Buckingham Palace for a Knighthood after breakfast. Each outing is preceded with a cautious inspection: has the pheromone trap hung on the closet door prevented the clothes moths from masticating my tails?

I need your help!

Please help me choose which of these formal photos you like best. My new career depends on it!

   

Winter Ben-isms

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Aiming for the goal – everyone’s gotta have a dream!

#4,377 in Ben’s occasional series “Culinary Recommendation of the Day”: grind 4 nutmegs into 1/3rd pint of (fake) low fat double cream. Blend. Pour over freshly steamed Brussel sprouts. Eat. Smile.

2 hours in the gym, 475 calories burned. 2 minutes in Starbucks, 475 calories consumed (choc chip frappuccino). Well, my yoga teacher did say I needed to achieve balance in my life…

I NEED YOUR HELP!! Forget the presidential election. Brexit. David Bowie’s passing and global warming. My life has been ambushed by a far more sadistic, insidious and determined interloper. How do I deal with the frustration of an unopened pistachio?

I have men-flu. (It’s like man-flu but at least twice as bad).

What should today’s rhetorical question be?

Provisional title of my weight loss book: I’m Gonna Need a Smaller Parachute.

I’m informed that 45 of my Facebook friends have birthdays today. 4960/365 = 13.6. 3.3 times as many birthdays as the expected average? Anyone else notice the same thing? Or has Putin hacked Facebook and is playing with the numbers?

With 2016 drawing to a close, I’m naturally devastated to not be included in the New Years Honours List. Looks like I won’t be a Knight of the Realm. It being New Year’s, I shall drown my sorrows in the realm of the night.

Proud to see my cooking still fails the smoke alarm test.

(1) Estimate odds that utility company will screw things up. (2) Phone them to tell them they’ve mis-spelt my name and could they please send out a corrected bill. Make them repeat correct spelling. Twice. (3) Suppress astonishment that it will take 10 working days. (4) On thirteenth working day receive bill with name uncorrected. (5) Review (1) above and smile. There aren’t many dead certainties in life.

My phone suffers from phantom vibrate syndrome.

Following an unexpected explosion – a partial meltdown – a shock that made me jump – last night, my life was cast into darkness. Total, unrelenting darkness. Logic dictates that the eerie silence, the chill wind that accompanied it were coincidental; that the drop in temperature was a trick of body over mind. Alarmed observers might whisper, “Oh no, Ben – it could be a case of OW Syndrome (Open Window Syndrome)” …Time, I think, for a new lightbulb…

Tip of the Day: bored of that monotonous landline “bring-bring” ringtone? Looking for a constant ringing to make you feel wanted and keep the neighbours awake, even when no one is phoning you? Simply pour water down your phone socket.

 

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More Ben-isms

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I TORE UP the gym this morning. Time for a brief recuperative horizontalisation.

White spirit removes oil-based paint from your hands but white rum doesn’t—although it’s both white and a spirit. Explanations on a postcard, please.

Today I failed to change the world. Some things never change.

Dear US Intelligence Services – you want to extract information from someone? Waterboarding is SO last year. Simply have the target wait ALL DAY (in a house with no furniture), for IKEA to deliver, who don’t bother to ring to explain why they are running hours late, and then have the screws not fit and throw in an incorrect diagram or two for fun! Maybe deliver the wrong thing and miss out something too – that’ll be really funny! Or deliver something damaged. The target will crack much sooner and you won’t have breached the Geneva Convention. Probably.

I am proud to announce I am launching a beginners’ class in IKEA YOGA. Enjoy the double benefit of contorting your body in unbelievable shapes while building furniture! First session free but bring unassembled MALM bedside table. After four weeks, move on to my ADVANCED class (HEMNES day bed) and experience palm haematoma and trigger irreversible wrist arthritis! Stay-calm breathing exercises and how to swear in Swedish available as optional extras in 50% of classes (depending on whether parts have been correctly drilled, drawings make sense, etc.). IMPORTANT: don’t miss your class! We start promptly some time between 10am and 4pm but I reserve the right to start at 7.30pm, without notice…and to blame it on the traffic. Inbox me for full details.

I AM BLESSED. To a very few people, it happens every several years. To others, every other year. To some, as regularly as once a year! But the heavens are treating me differently this year. I have been singled out. Chosen. And I don’t even know what I did to deserve it but…(drum roll please)…I have my third cold!

Forgot to add the garlic croutons to my salad 😦
But there’s a heatwave forecast for tomorrow 🙂
Life is indeed a minestrone :-/
Pass the parmesan cheese 😉

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September Ben-isms

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So who hid a tub of Haagen-Dazs triple Belgium chocolate macadamia nut and Icelandic toffee brittle cappuccino Cornish cream with special reserve 1814 Napoleon brandy and smoked goat snot sprinkles ice cream in my freezer? And why is it looking at me like that???

There is a bike on the roof of the house opposite. Can only mean one thing: ET is staying there.

Sprained fingers? Torn nails? Bloody knuckles? .44 magnum. Sherman Tank. Nuclear weapon. How far would YOU go to open that recalcitrant pistachio?

As our favourite Vulcan might have said, “It is summer. It is cold. Therefore I have a summer cold. Entirely logical, Captain.”

Theory of the Day – older people are always complaining that time passes quicker as you get older but here’s my MATHEMATICAL PROOF they are wrong: if you become a father when you are 24, when you are 25, your son/daughter is 1 and 1/25th of your age (or 4%). If you live to 100, your son/daughter is 75 and now 75% your age. That means the young are constantly catching up so time must be passing faster for them. 😉

MY SOLUTION TO THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CRISIS: the Mexicans build a wall around the Donald (I think they’ll be happy to pay for it).

My Tesco “Baby Plum Tomatoes” taste of absolutely nothing. Is that three breaches of the Trade Descriptions Act?

I was sitting in a park in Soho last night, and David “Haymaker” Haye – former World Cruiserweight and Heavyweight Boxing Champion walked right past. I looked at him. He didn’t look at me. I stared. No eye contact in return. Nothing. He must have been scared… No other explanation possible.

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Summertime Ben-isms

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Just completed my first yoga session in 20 years—the second in my life. Everything hurts. Even my hair.

I had a hell of a shock this afternoon – something flashed past me at 60,000 miles an hour. What could it be? A UFO? A meteor? Donald Trump’s hair? Then I realized it was the British summer.

I put a lot of effort into putting no effort into everything I do.

I am not impressed by my new memory foam shoe inserts. I still got lost walking home last night.

My new short story is finally beginning to take shape. A Truncatedicosahedron springs to mind.

Ben’s Triumph of the Day: as per the manufacturer’s instructions, to prevent my reliable clothes washer from ever leaking, I cleaned all of its filters, removed limescale, uncogged pipes and ducts, tightened this and checked that. Then ran it. And it leaked.

June 3rd! Summer! London! That can mean only one thing. Time to turn the heating on.

I applied for a job as a submarine commander. I didn’t get it. They said I’d be out of my depth.

 

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More Ben-isms…

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A flashy plugin?

More Ben-isms

Tried to watch a demo video on OMGYes.com recommended by Emma Watson but my flash plugin failed.

I need to find someone with the Surname “Best”, who lives abroad and owns a bookshop. When they sell a copy of my book, I’ll be able to write “International Bestseller” on the cover.

Only by diving deep…can you surface.

Impressive-sounding-word-of-the-day (to casually insert into a conversation with a literary agent or publisher): heterodiegetic. (Don’t worry – I’ve forgotten what it means and they won’t know either.)

Dear manufacturers of kitchen smoke alarms…that’s just the way I cook.

Wow! 629 people have added “Something in the Water” to their to-read lists. There must be something in the air…

The only affirmation you will need: I affirm that affirmations are good for you.

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Romance at bath time?

Bath SITW