We’ve been enjoying the episodes of Richard Ayoade’s show Travel Man that CBC has been playing. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is this: Richard and another British celebrity travel to a touristy destination for a holiday weekend, take in the sights, do the tours, and make merry. The humour is high-brow, rapid-fire, and often more than a little meta. (eg: in this past week’s episode, Ayoade points out that “this show’s lack of success is predicated on editing based on slights” (trust me, in context, that’s hilarious)).
This week’s episode saw R. A. joined in Dubrovnik by one Stephen Merchant. They enjoyed oysters on the seashore, went on a tour that crossed mud-bogging in a dune buggy with possible death by landmine (“We’re not sure,” the tour guide explained, as they explored a WWII-era fortification, “that all the mines have been removed”), and took another tour of the locations where Game of Thrones filmed.
It transpired that neither comedian has actually seen an episode of Game of Thrones, but that didn’t seem to slow the guide down at all. Stephen Merchant pointed out that he enjoys seeing film locations, even if he hasn’t seen the film.
I laughed. Then I thought, That’d be an interesting character quirk for one of my characters; specifically, one of the wizards in “The Slow Apocalypse”. Ha ha, I thought, that could be a cute throwaway line. You’d rather see the locations where they filmed Laurence of Arabia that actually watch Laurence of Arabia.
But then I thought about it a bit more, and… I think it might actually be a perfect insight into his character. He’s got a talent for cutting straight to the hidden truth of things. A preference for reality over artifice would slot very nicely into that personality.
In fact, on my way to the grocery store, I envisioned a new scene, a flashback: he’s dating the woman who will later be his wife. They go to a movie about King Arthur. He’s so very irritated by the falsehoods, the blatant misrepresentations, that he has to leave the theatre for a while. (He’s immortal, or nearly so; he was there, in England, at the time, and most of what he’s seeing is bullshit. Some other city—Prague, Dubrovnik—standing in for the London of the day. And it’s so early in the relationship that he can’t tell her the truth, the why, of his reaction. Maybe it’s their first actual fight—I’m still mulling the scene. Workshopping it here, in fact, so if you’ve got comments on it, let me know.)