Inspiration is where you find it

fountain pen on notepad

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.)