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Heed you, heed you: Tom Sainsbury

20 Aug 2019
With more than 50k Facebook fans, the self-appointed alter ego of Simon Bridges & Paula Bennett, otherwise known as the brilliant Tom Sainsbury, scribbles us 10 lessons.

Hello, my sweet 22-year-old self. Oh, how you think you’re overweight and ugly, but you’ve got NO IDEA how bad it’ll get. Winky face emoji. 

Do you even know what a winky face emoji is? No, you don’t. But hopefully, the rest of this will make sense.

I have scribbled down ten pieces of advice for you. Please take heed. 

1. My first piece of advice/knowledge/wisdom I would like to impart is that good things take time. There’s that saying being bandied about along the lines of: ‘it’ll take 10,000 hours to get good at something’. And it really does. You’re not going to be great at something straight away. Or even after a year. Or even after ten years. After fifteen years, you’ll still be trying to get it right. But, you’ll be getting it ‘righter’. You’ll be getting better at what you love doing. So have patience, dear one.

2. My next pearler is to be true to yourself. And I don’t mean that in a wanky sense. I mean that in the sense that you’ll spend hours/weeks/months/years agonising over situations and projects because you don’t want to disappoint people. You’ll say yes to projects that, deep in the recesses of your heart, you know you don’t really want to do. And you won’t end up doing them. You’ll procrastinate like a mofo. And everyone will be angry with you. But you could have avoided all that heartache by just saying ‘thank you for thinking of me but I’m too busy to be involved/I hate your project’. Maybe not that harsh, but just extricate yourself as soon as possible.

Tom Sainsbury - photo by Amanda Billing


3. Making your own work is definitely the way to go. So keep doing it. You’ll have creative control and feel satisfied. All the work coming up, initiated by other people, that you’ll take may impart a few rules of craftsmanship, but you’ll ultimately find them dissatisfying. So keep pursuing your own shit, dude. And you’ll learn infinitely more if you’re in charge and when the buck stops with you. Shit, you’re about to learn a lot. 


4. Slow and steady wins the race. In the years to come, you’ll try and do everything the night before. But this will cause you so much heartache. Honestly, just doing ten minutes on a project a day, leading up to a deadline, will be a revelation psychologically. 


5. Meet more people. The kookier and the more eccentric, the better. You’ll make so much of your work inspired by these people. And the more you can squirrel away into your wank bank of great characters, the better. 


6. There is no definite line to success. You may see the artistic institutions and think you have to get good with them and work up through the systems they’ve organised. But in time they’ll come crumbling down, and you’ll be able to find a unique path to where you want to go.


Tom Sainsbury - photo by Amanda Billing


7. People forget. You may feel you’ve majorly fucked up with something and berate yourself daily, or do a project that is completely hated, but in a few months, everyone will have forgotten it slash not care.


8. Eventually criticism and people saying nasty things will be water off a duck’s back. So your sensitivity now will soon give way to resilience. A leathery tough exterior in your case. 


9. When you are editing a script, always cut out a quarter of it. It’s amazing how much waffle you can cut out and people will still get the gist of it. Just please be more brief with your plays. Please, please, please. Otherwise, you’ll experience audiences tiring and getting bored and there’s nothing worse. 


10. And finally, have more sex. And don’t worry about what you look like. You’re so much hotter than you realise. 

Tom Sainsbury is one of the incredible rotating guest performers that will make an appearance in Silo Theatre’s The Blind Date Project, on 29 August – 21 September.