21 August, France – ‘All Over The Place – Europe, Part 2’
Everyone loves a bit of Van Gogh (well, apart from our cameraman Geraint, who thinks he’s over rated. And Paul Gaugin, who found him so irritating to live with that he moved out after 9 weeks). So I was quite excited to be hitting the road this morning and heading to Arles, the town where Van Gogh lived out his final productive years drinking too much, shouting at people and chopping his ear off (actually, it was only his ear lobe, but that sounds less impressive doesn’t it?).
Once we’d arrived in the centre of town you could see why it might appeal to artistic types. Lots of picturesque nineteenth century cafes and gas lanterns, winding streets and sunlight (the quality of the light was one of the reasons Van Gogh moved here). We scoffed down lunch in a delightful street-side bistro (you can never fully appreciate these things when you have a filming schedule hanging over you) and then Ben and I gritted our teeth and changed out of our summer shorts and short sleeved shirts and into some typically unforgiving Victorian clobber, along with wigs and beards and VOILA – Paul Gaugin and Vincent Van Gogh.
Being dressed as Van Gogh I thought I would be mobbed by tourists, but hardly any of them paid me any attention at all while we sang a song based on the theme tune to ‘Friends’, prancing about various locations in the town that Van Gogh had painted. My beard and Ben’s moustache kept falling off due to how much we were sweating and our props/AFM/shouty man Gary did sterling work constantly re-applying toupee tape to get us through each take.
When it was all over and we’d checked into our hotel we made our way back to the restaurant where we’d had lunch and actually got to enjoy it properly. At this point you may be feeling jealous that we’re getting to relax in the South of France after work and you’re not, so let me just remind you that I spent 6 hours like one of those Covent Garden living statues in the hot sun and it might make you feel better…