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An Actor's Life: Relaxing, until I turned the radio back on

A resident here since 1990, Ian Burns is the artistic director at That Theatre Company and very possibly Copenhagen's best known English language actor thanks to roles as diverse as Casanova, Shakespeare and Tony Hancock.

Happiness and harmony with Tom Hanks and a hammock built for two (Photo: Colourbox)

August 23, 2014

by Ian Burns

I hope that you’ve also had the chance to get away from it all and do things that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to – just like I have.

It’s important. I’ve only been home in Copenhagen for a week and already it feels like the summer was a long time ago and is becoming a distant memory.

Like eating at Bubba Gump

Did I really go swimming two to three times a day in warm, turquoise waters surrounded by curious fish? Did I really share a celebratory plastic cup of fish soup with Tom Hanks? (You shameless name-dropper, Ian!) Did I meet friendly people from all over the world as I meandered through the narrow streets of small market towns? Or spend most of each day thinking about what to buy to cook for our evening meal?

I made a decision not to read a newspaper or to listen to the oracle (Radio 4) for the duration of my holiday. Instead I listened to lots of music, singing along most of the time in a state of bliss. It wasn’t my intention to force my musical choices on my family, but hey, Dad’s on holiday too y’all. If music be the food of love, play on indeed.

The same old record

So, home again, I turned the radio back on. Wow! The stuff that was happening before I left is still going on! And it’s got even worse. The daily diet of children suffering terrible lives is powerfully disturbing and difficult to understand whatever the cause.

Most sane people recognise this fact, but if that’s the case, then why do we continue to allow it to happen? Warzones and the disease and drought-ridden parts of the planet are fed to us every day as we chant in unison: “Corruption and greed over hunger and need!” Yes, I was almost a hippy!

But I already wonder if anything positive will happen over the course of the next eleven months before I selfishly bury my head in the sand again? Gimme some good news people! I can’t take this bombardment of bad news.

A land forgets its heroes

As we mark the 100-year anniversary of the start of the war that was supposed to end all wars, we are still sending young people to their deaths to be forever traumatised and then largely ignored by ungrateful nations on their return.

The question is whether they are being deployed in the name of morality and freedom, or (whispering) for money and influence? My gut instinct sadly points to the latter. Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a truth drug that politicians had to take before saying anything to the public?

“Okay, listen up, here is the news and I swear to whatever God you like, that it’s true: We’re just after the heroin, control of the water and that rare mineral that mobiles and laptops need. Been trying to fool y’all. Sorry for all the carnage and those kids we blew up with our precision bombing, but let’s see if we can do something to redeem ourselves and pull a few thousand people who are starving and dying of thirst off that mountain, okay? ”

Welcome back Ian.

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