The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius

"To Be Or Not To Be": Actor Robert Hands' Extraordinary Tale of Triumph Over Addiction, 10 Years on after his 3 Year 'Descent into the Abyss' after Self-Injecting with Cystal-Meth

February 07, 2024 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian
The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius
"To Be Or Not To Be": Actor Robert Hands' Extraordinary Tale of Triumph Over Addiction, 10 Years on after his 3 Year 'Descent into the Abyss' after Self-Injecting with Cystal-Meth
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine sitting down to a tale that's every bit as gripping as the highest stakes drama on stage, yet deeply personal and resoundingly human. That's what awaits you as we're joined by the Olivier Award-nominated Actor Robert Hands, whose life reads like a script filled with both critical acclaim and harrowing personal demons. The spotlight falls on his transformative battle with addiction and the pursuit of peace through spirituality, yoga, and meditation, offering an unflinching look at the resilience needed to rebuild from the ground up.

10 years ago to the day of our recording, Robert surfaced from a 3 year abyss, having taken the extraordinarily self-destructive decision to self-inject with Crystal-Meth,  to finally become clean to salvage and reclaim his life once more.

This episode isn't just a chronicle of one man's journey; it's an exploration of the universal themes that shape our lives. We dig into the profound influences that forge our identities, from the trials of overcoming addiction to the quest for self-acceptance amidst the complexities of sexuality. The narrative weaves through Robert's experiences, pulling back the curtain on the loneliness of personal struggles and the liberating epiphany that can emerge from the depths of despair. With Robert's candid anecdotes serving as a backdrop, we're reminded that storytelling isn't just an art—it's a lifeline.

Join us for a conversation that's as enriching as it is entertaining, traversing from the enchantment of theatre to the everyday alchemy found in movie posters and autobiographies. We'll indulge in a slice of life's metaphorical cake, sampling everything from the lighthearted to the profound while sharing inspirational quotes that might just change your perspective. As we pass the baton of wisdom and experience to you, our listeners, we hope to light the path for anyone navigating the rocky terrain of life's adversities.

You can also Watch/Listen to Robert Hands' extraordinary interview here:
https://vimeo.com/chrisgrimes/roberthands 

Tune in next week for more stories of 'Distinction & Genius' from The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'. If you would like to be my Guest too then you can find out HOW via the different 'series strands' at 'The Good Listening To Show' website.

Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW wherever you get your Podcasts :)

Thanks for listening!

Chris Grimes:

Welcome to another episode of the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes, the storytelling show that features the clearing, where all good questions come to get asked and all good stories come to be told, and where all my guests have two things in common they're all creative individuals and all with an interesting story to tell. There are some lovely storytelling metaphors a clearing, a tree, a juicy storytelling exercise called 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, some alchemy, some gold, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare and a cake. So it's all to play for. So, yes, welcome to the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes, are you sitting comfortably here? Then we shall begin. Get quite literally in. Welcome to a Facebook Live and welcome, welcome thrice. Welcome to a gorgeous, lovely man, mr Robert Hans, who is a gorgeous actor, and this is our blurbed of happy smirk at you. Shortly We've got history. I'll get into that, but don't forget you're listening to the Good Listening To Show, where I invite movers, makers, shakers, mavericks, influencers and also personal heroes You'll see where Rob fits right in in all of those along to the clearing or serious happy place of their choosing, to all share with us their stories of distinction and genius, and it's my great pleasure to invite you into the clearing, rob, we have history. We go way back when we actually graduated in the same year together at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, not to ages both, but circa many, many, many years ago, and I have the most brilliant, abiding memory of your graduating. By the way, two things In our final year you played puck in Midsummer Night's Dream, beautifully, and I was blown away by you, not just being nice to you, it's the truth. And then there's an apocryphal story, which I think you've since denied, where you were taken on by Scott Marshall. And then the story was that somebody, either Scott Marshall themselves or a representative, was cycling across London with your CV in their lady basket. As they rode across London in order to furnish Michael Pennington from the English Shakespeare Company with your CV Marvelous. So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Robert Hans, thank you. Thank you for having me, thank you for asking that's what you're welcome. So that was a little bit of happy smoke at you. I know you know who you are, but you are an Olivier Award nominated actor. You've had a very, very illustrious career. So, very interestingly as well, there's a sort of dark side to what I know we're going to be talking about as well, but you're. It's so, so profound and wonderful, and I'm so happy to see you the right way up. Lovely man. So much, thank you. How's morale? Watch your story of the day. First of all, robert Hansen.

Robert Hands:

Well, I've got a really stinking cold. I'll tell you that really. It's actually since. I've been looking at your face. It's sort of dried up a bit, but it was streaming in a sort of comical way. People in the tube just now were sort of moving away from me because they thought I was some sort of lunatic crying or something. But I don't know.

Chris Grimes:

They thought the next zombie apocalypse was starting opposite them or next to them.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, the red rimmed eyes, the pale face. I had a little lie down just then and I felt the benefit of that.

Chris Grimes:

A pleasure for lying down before you speak to me and, as I said just a few moments ago, before we pressed record, it's like we're twins, because I too have a cold and, as two men sharing the tribulations of man flu, we know how bad it is. Yeah, that, yes, poor you, and poor you right back at you. So, yes, and apart from that, it's extremely welcome. Sorry, you're extremely welcome. That wasn't English, that bit there. So it's going to be my great joy and delight to curate you through a clearing a tree. There's a lovely juicy storytelling exercise called 54321, bless you, there'll be some alchemy, some gold, a couple of random squirrels, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare, a golden baton and a cake, so it's all to play for. So, as you know, there's going to be an invitation and an invocation to go as deep as you like, when you like, where you like, and just to finally position. It could be described as sort of the wilderness years that all actors experience, but very, very profoundly, and I know that well. I watched a really extraordinary film which you very bravely made, which is called the School of Rock Bottom, a podcast, and the title of which, rather profoundly, is from Injecting Crystal Meth to the Olivier Awards, which is an extraordinary title, and I was very struck by that. But I know we'll be talking about some of that, but that's not the main reason. I want to just blow some very happy smoke at you and what we talk about. Thank you, yes.

Robert Hands:

I'll definitely be touching on that, because that's so much part of who I am today. So, yes, we will definitely go into that. In fact, it will be my first thing that shaped me will be getting clean and how that happened.

Chris Grimes:

So let's get you on the open road. So, first of all, then the clearing. Welcome to the clearing, where all good questions come to get asked and all good stories come to get told. So it's a serious happy place if you're choosing, and thank you for preparing and thinking about this. And obviously I don't know till you tell me, but where does Robert Hans, a gorgeous actor, go to get clutter?

Robert Hands:

very inspirational and able to think Well when I first thought about it, I just thought of it as a sort of straightforward what places do I like? And I love nature. Nature is very important to me and it's very restorative to me, to my mental health and self. But, truthfully, the place where I am clear minded and receptive and present is when I'm meditating, which I do every day. And as I never thought I'd be that guy, I never thought I'd be that guy People used to talk about meditation. I'll please. I don't know if you remember at drama school we used to have the voice teacher used to say I've been down and then do a sort of relaxation thing and everyone's saying, oh, I love it, let's get on the cloud. It couldn't wait to get off the cloud. It was not the first one at all.

Chris Grimes:

I think that's somebody called Lynette or Francis Thomas. From memory it was.

Robert Hands:

Francis, thomas, yes, and everyone loves it so much. I felt like an alien because I didn't like it at all. It was the longest hour of my life that we spent on that cloud. You know, my head hurt, my legs hurt everything. I wanted to twitch, I couldn't do it, but anyway, now I do it, I guess religiously, and I guess it's changed me, it's changed the way I am, so yes, I would like to meet you in my meditative state.

Chris Grimes:

That's all right, Thank you, and yes, please. And is it a post? I know we're going to go there, but is it a sort of newer practice post-recovery or is it part of your recovery?

Robert Hands:

It's part, it's hand in hand, of what keeps me going.

Chris Grimes:

Yes, yes, so in your meditative state I know you said get me off the cloud. I'm assuming we're not in a sort of wafty-wafty cloudy scape with your meditative state.

Robert Hands:

No, no, we're not really. No, we're not in a physical place at all. I think I'm just present with my breath. I think that's it, when my eyes close and present, focusing on that. That's all I do. It's nothing very technical or complicated about it, it's as simple as that. Who would have thought that that simple act sort of changed my life really. Yeah, it's changed the man I am, definitely, and my ability to deal with things, and just gets me through. And it's such a simple thing. And it's free. That's the other thing. It doesn't even cost anything. You can do it anywhere, and I think that was why I had trouble with it, because, in a way, there's so little to it that the benefits are immense.

Chris Grimes:

It's an extraordinary testament to you know how the older we get, the better actors we become, because actually we truly appreciate presence more. You're a phenomenally gifted actor, that's a given. But I don't doubt you're an even even better actor now because of your having found that meditative state place.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, that'd be nice, I don't know. I hope so.

Chris Grimes:

So, if I may, then I'm going to arrive then a bit waiting for Godo Esk existentially with a tree in your meditative state clearing and, by the way, you're the first guest in nearly 200 episodes that just said, it is the meditative state and I'm really happy about that. Good, that's nice, and it's present with your breath, which I'm compelled by repeating because I think that's just a lovely thing to have said. So I'm going to shake your tree now to see which storytelling apples fall out. And then how do you like these apples? It's five minutes to have thought about four things that have shaped you, three things that inspire you, two things that never fail to grab your attention and borrow from the film up, as listeners will know, having listened to many episodes Now, that's all squirrels you know what never fails to grab your attention, irrespective of anything else that might be going on for you in your hectic life, even though I've got you meditating now and then. The one is a quirky, unusual fact about your actor, robert Tans. We couldn't possibly know about you until you tell us so over to you and I'll guide you through it. It's not a memory test, so interpret the shaking of your canopy as you see fit.

Robert Hands:

Right, and the first thing that has shaped my life is that 10 years ago today, Chris, I got clean. So it's funny that we've bumped this along for various reasons. I wasn't going to make it then you couldn't make it, and it's happened all today. And today was the day. 10 years ago today I got clean, in that I stopped taking my daltring drugs of any sort. It was the last time I did. It was 10 years ago today. It might have been 10 years ago yesterday. Perhaps today is my first day clean. I, 10 years ago today, I had no hope. I had no love. I had. I certainly couldn't see any of those things, but I had them, or I hadn't. I had lost my career, I hadn't worked for two years. I had. I was living in a flat that I'd sort of demolished in a, in a sort of mania of a universal method of addiction of. I don't quite know what I thought I was doing, but I thought, you know, I've got, I've got to have, you know, wanted everything perfect, but I didn't have any, any skills to put it right or it or any funds to put it right, and it was the end of the road. There was no way out and I'd back myself into a corner and I don't know really how it happened. I I was using with someone who said I'm going to stop this. This is going to last time. I do it because when you inject drugs into your veins, the likelihood of getting a stroke increases excuse me, increases as you near 50. And I was 49 at the time and I don't know, I don't know, through the haze of what I was doing, I sort of felt like I was throwing down the gauntlet and and I thought, well, I'm going to stop as well then. And I don't quite know where that thought came from, Because up until then I'd felt a slight pity for the rest of the world that I was in this parallel universe and I was the cool guy and all these poor saps, you know, having to, you know, live their lives and get to work and money and all those things, that they were somehow the losers. And it's very interesting that from that day to this, I never once heard from the people I used to take drugs with, not once did anyone ever get into asking, hey, how's it going? Because it wasn't about that. It wasn't about love, it wasn't about friendship, it was your connection or any of those things. It was just about sort of self-serving, self-seeking what you can get out of the situation. You know, hey, this guy's got a derelict flat. We'll go around there. And I didn't know what to do with myself, having made this decision, one of the. I never imagined I'd take crystal meth and I never imagined I would inject it. There were things that other people did. I'm rather a good boy. I sort of always have been and I but both those things ended up happening. I remember the first time I heard about it, someone saying, oh, there's this stuff on the streets and it's the most addictive thing you can get hold of. You know, it's ruined my life. And I remember thinking, well, that's not something I'm going to be doing. And in the event, when someone offered me some, I just said, yeah, all right. And then when someone said that he thought that we should inject it, I thought, well, we'll do it. Well, another time, I said, and then he talked me around.

Chris Grimes:

Within seconds, within a minute, I had a needle in my arm and I mean that's the most extraordinary, extraordinary line to cross, the idea of suddenly deciding, I mean, just the two words crack cocaine and then inject crack cocaine. It's just so sub-next level despair into the depths of hell one would imagine.

Robert Hands:

It's actually crystal meth, not crack cocaine. It's crystal meth not crack cocaine.

Chris Grimes:

Oh sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry sorry.

Robert Hands:

Yes, even as I relate it, I don't quite know why I didn't go. Yeah, I'm on your bike, mate. No thanks, you can do it, but I'm not doing it. I don't know why I didn't but, I did.

Chris Grimes:

I mean with hindsight. Do you know why I mean, by the way, this is so profound. Thank you so much for being so honest about it. You should go as deep as you like. Well, we're kicking off with deep, yes, and I'm right there, absolutely, but why?

Robert Hands:

not, it was 10 years ago today and we're talking about a lot. Congratulations, by the way.

Chris Grimes:

That's the really extraordinary thing, and I was blown away by the anniversary. When you said it's today, I thought crikey, that's it.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't know. I don't to this day. I don't know why I was that suggestible and why I was so willing to please someone else when they didn't give a damn about my life. But it was almost like that. It was like oh well, he says it's a good idea, well, that's all right. With enough conviction I'll go another one, and I suppose my journey since then has been to learn who I am and what I will and won't do nowadays, and I think now I have a hold on that. But yes, I did that and the descent was very rapid and I sort of lost everything of any value very, very quickly and I ended up in this tiny, tiny flat. I bought it because I had some money from the breakup of a relationship and we sold our flat. And I bought this flat really because I kind of thought I could flag down a D-life. I could, you know, I'd open a window because it was in Camden. It was really, it was a studio flat, really. That was genuinely my thinking behind it. But then there I was, having made this decision to stop it and nowhere.

Chris Grimes:

I mean as a rationale now, as we can both admire that sort of from a distance, now that sort of as a logic, that's a bit unhinged, isn't it?

Robert Hands:

Yeah, yeah, the whole thing was unhinged. I mean it was nonsense. I mean I don't know how it got to be that person. I don't know how it happened. It was happened quite quickly. I didn't do it for years and years and years. I did it for perhaps two years, if that.

Chris Grimes:

I mean it's a real surprise as well, because I never perceived you as being somebody so impressionable. You know, you were much more of a sort of golden boy with a great career coming up. So there was so much positivity and vibrancy and life to you and I didn't there was no. I mean, everybody can have a sort of sinkhole of despair given the circumstances, but it's fascinating how you went. You know, you were at that edge to tip into that sinkhole.

Robert Hands:

Yes, yes, I guess addiction doesn't. You know, it doesn't mind whether you're a that glamorous person described that don't particularly recognise. They don't mind whether you're that or you come from a you know, really from a life of far less privilege. It doesn't sort of make any distinction between those things. It doesn't continue, it's in you.

Chris Grimes:

Sort of relatively but tangentially. In the world of comedy improvisation, there's an adage which is your first idea is from God, your second idea is from the devil. So the yin yang moment of you tipping into the bowl of despair, it's almost like that. Obviously, you know, wasn't from God, that was from the devil. And you went all right then like a binary choice yes, no.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, I mean I'd always struggle. I'd always struggle with a slightly compulsive and addictive personality. I'd always I'd really issues with food. I was always putting on weight and taking it off and real kind of compulsion around that. And then I discovered alcohol and that became a big thing, right, and that I had to knock that on the head when I was 28, because it was, it was certainly was messing with my head of this obsession with when am I going to have the next one. So I'd always had it about me and what it's worth. It had been in my family as well. My father was alcoholic and he died of it actually, and some of my brothers have had sort of issues as well, and it seems to be something that pops up in my family quite a lot.

Chris Grimes:

By the way, I'm struck with how you're the seven ages of man, which we're coming on to later, but how I, when I first reconnected with you just before Christmas, I know you've also had your mum die as well. So it's so wonderful that you're the right way up, as I keep saying, and it's lovely. And again, congratulations for the 10 years of being dry, and presumably that means you're dry. Dry, dry meaning alcohol as well. Is that right?

Robert Hands:

Yes, that no mind altering substance passes my lips or nose or veins or wherever it may be, and it was a real, you know. You say the question is, what shaped you? Getting clean was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Chris Grimes:

I mentioned that 28, when the alcohol was given up in the timeline. When was the 10 years ago? Obviously you had 20 years to then stop.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, I mean I didn't take up the crystal myth until the last two years, so that's when I was, I suppose, 12 years ago.

Chris Grimes:

I guess I took it up, breaking bad territory as well. That is, that's the substance in breaking bad, that everyone else and the final.

Robert Hands:

I remember watching that, actually when I was doing it and thinking well, it's not like that. You know, all these people seem to lead perfectly normal lives. You can't lead all. I couldn't lead a normal life. When I was doing it. I couldn't function, I couldn't concentrate, I couldn't hold down a job or keep a room tidy or all those things. The minute I was on it was a mess. I couldn't function at all. There's that expression of functioning alcoholic. Well, to me it was quite, and I did not guess functions in alcoholic, but I certainly didn't function as a crystal meth user.

Chris Grimes:

And it's so. You obviously got your career back. So I know you had a three year impasse where everything stopped for the reasons you're explaining, but you yes brilliant that you got your career back. Hence the crystal meth to the Olivier award.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, I had to get this. I had to get a job because the minute the stuff started leaving my system, I could see all the more clearly that, oh my God, I was in complete trouble and I've had a very charmed career. I've never really done anything else. And the thing is I'd lost my self confidence through what had happened with the drugs. I thought, well, I can't act anymore. I'm not sure I want to, but then who am I if I'm not an actor, because it's all I've ever wanted to do really. So anyway, I got this job through meeting someone who knew someone who knew someone in an office in Croydon, and I got a job through a trade magazine called the Water Surigen Waste magazine.

Chris Grimes:

And they were my home. It's one of my subscriptions.

Robert Hands:

Well, it must be. But they were my home for two years and they I think I told the boss about it finally, and she sort of said I'll look after you, don't worry. Don't worry. And so I worked there, not very much money, but I had somewhere to go. I needed some sort of structure to my life and it took, you know, a while for the flat to get put back in order and to be habitable. And then, eventually, I got an audition for a little play at the Hamster Theatre and I got it. And looking back, yes, it was just the right time. I was ready to start doing it. And then I went straight back to the office, the Water, Syriza and Waste magazine. And then I got another little play at the Trafalgar Studios, I remember. And then I got a few episodes of a TV thing and then all of a sudden I got a Western musical and then I had to go. Oh my god.

Chris Grimes:

I'm an actor again. Was that come from away at that point, or am I got the timeline wrong?

Robert Hands:

No, no, no no, no. It was called Mrs Henderson Presents and all of a sudden I earned enough money in that time that it was not very long, but just enough to keep me out of the Water, syriza and Waste magazine and to start becoming a jobbing actor again.

Chris Grimes:

And things got better and better and as I gathered momentum and confidence, and by the trajectory from crystal meth to water and sewage doesn't sound that big a distance to say.

Robert Hands:

That's more of a pit stop.

Chris Grimes:

Yes, that one.

Robert Hands:

And then what happened? And then I became really busy and really happily so?

Chris Grimes:

And did your agent stick by you throughout those sort of exchange days? Yeah, I told him. I told him what had happened.

Robert Hands:

Yes, he was extraordinarily kind and supportive and still is actually.

Chris Grimes:

Is it Scott Marshall?

Robert Hands:

Still. No, it's not actually. No, it's not For various reasons I won't go into, but there have been a couple of long ways and not least one of them had to go because I was hard at my drug addiction and obviously that wasn't the best thing on your CV at the time.

Chris Grimes:

No Shall we say marvelous.

Robert Hands:

But eventually, yes, I started, you know, I started to pick up again and then you mentioned come from way and that was a lovely musical that come over from Broadway and had been a big hit there and it was about a community that had taken on 38 planes during 9-11 that had been re-rooted there. Yeah, and we're obliged to look after them and it's a very theatrical telling of that story. There are only 12 people in the show and we played in the resident Canadian community as well as the people on the planes and we yes. And I had a really lovely storyline through that.

Chris Grimes:

And this is your Olivier nomination. Yes, and then I was yes, and one of your wonderful career moments that I remember seeing many years after I left you at the Old Vic Theatre School was when you played the original Sir Robin in the original cast of Spamalot, and I came to see you in there. Yes, and you know, monty Python is my thing and Michael Pailin is my all-time comic hero, so it was just absolutely wonderful that I saw that and I came to see, and I can't remember how many years that was post 1988. It was about 2006. So I came to see Brave. Sir Robin ran away. I came to see you in Spamalot, which was lovely yeah in 2006,.

Robert Hands:

I think that was yes.

Chris Grimes:

And, by the way, that was the most profound number one shape. I mean absolutely proud. Is there anything else you'd like to say about that shape?

Robert Hands:

No, I'm extreme. No, he says and then says something. I'm very grateful for it that it happened to me and I feel very humbled by it because I don't know how it happened.

Chris Grimes:

Yes, and it wasn't because your marriage was failing or anything like that, was it? It wasn't as linear as that it was. And in the documentary I watched as well, you said there was just a sort of impasse or a period in your life when you suddenly realized there was just no love around. You said and it was no love for my, just no love. No love for work, just some. Some mojo had just been dented and I wondered whether that was because you were using. But actually it wasn't. That's just when you presumably became more perceptible to it, susceptible to it rather.

Robert Hands:

No, the no love and the no hope was because I was using Right and with you, the linear, I started using those things can't cohabit with drug it. Well, it couldn't for me anyway. Okay.

Chris Grimes:

So now, in the structure of it, it's the second thing that has shaped you Right. Well, I'm afraid it's another rather heavy thing. No, please, that's fine, this is so good, by the way.

Robert Hands:

So the second thing is growing up gay and I really struggled with it. It was not something that was like water of a duct back to me at all. I didn't know what it was. I'd never heard of such a thing. I knew I wasn't quite like everyone else, but I didn't have the imagination to think I will. And I was too young to know what was going on, particularly, and I remember staying with I was 10 and we were saying with some family friends and I would. I bought up in Holland and the only English that I heard until I was 10 was either my brothers who were at boarding school in England I wasn't, I went to school in Holland or my mother's English. My mother had sort of other posh 1950s English. And so we were saying with these family friends and there was a boy that lived there, was the same age as me and he we talked about something and I said well, that's very queer. And I can remember his lip curling and him saying you know what that is, don't you? And I said, yes, it means strange or odd or unusual. He went, it means two men doing it, he said I knew instantly that this was not a good thing to be that I was it and I didn't want to be it. I can remember the moment it was. I remember I can remember the room. I haven't been there since, but I can remember the whole thing about it was like the lighting changed. I knew instantly all those things and there I was. And this is this, I think, an experience that a lot of gay people share is you're alone. You're completely alone. You've got nowhere to go with it, you cannot have a conversation about it. This is before the Internet. It's before. You know. We live in far more enlightened times now. It's the ultimate insult in the school yard. It's the only representations of gay people, as far as I was aware, were. Larry Grayson on the generation game was a sort of a joke, a laughing stock. You know, you loved at them as much as with them, or that's how I perceived it. And and there I was fighting these quite natural urges but just wanting them to go away. And as I got older I became half bits of information with trickle down and I'd heard that, oh, it's a phase, you grow out of it. I thought I'd pass as a phase and then I'd be re on that. Well, how long does the phase last? As I got to be older and older, older, and it didn't seem to be going away and it's a kind of torturous thing of trying to being so self aware, of trying to throw people off the scent and by being a bit of a sort of Romeo. You know lots of girlfriends and being because I'm very good at talking to girls I don't have any. I don't feel self conscious because I don't want anything in that way out of them. I'm very comfortable towards the women but and the loneliness. I feel such affection for that little boy now, but I didn't for the longest time and, of course, really open to being bullied because I didn't want to stand out in any way. But children, children are pretty tough on each other. They smell difference. I'll go for it and they're not going to go. You know, hey, yeah, rob's a little bit different.

Chris Grimes:

You know such a great expression, by the way, very powerful if they smell different. That's a really lovely way to put it.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, and of course, the only I didn't. I didn't really have any problem with the things that people said and did to me. I think my whole life has been about forgiving myself for allowing those things to happen, but I had no one to talk to. I had no support.

Chris Grimes:

And there's no contact with this boyhood friend, presumably that's. He's just someone that's disappeared.

Robert Hands:

Well, he wasn't actually a friend he was. He was my mother's friend's son. Okay, so we didn't live in the same place. They lived in in the Midlands and we would just stay with them for a summer. So I mean, I know of him and I know he's still right.

Chris Grimes:

Did he have just intrigued to ask, did he end up K as well?

Robert Hands:

Because there's an irony sometimes, oh yeah, no, no, not all of us Maybe. But I know he's married with children, so I wouldn't marry a woman with children. Yeah, I feel I've great compassion for that thing of just not just having to work it all out yourself. There was a book by M Forster called Morris, which and I was doing Howard's End for at school, and so I knew about this other book that he'd written. That was famously about a gay love affair and I remember going to the bookshop and buying it and coming home with it and hiding it under my pillow so no one saw it and reading it in an afternoon and the feeling of it was the only moment. I mean how ridiculous. The only identification I could have was with a book written in 1925 or whenever it was written, which was published posthumously. It wasn't published until he died because it was illegal to talk about such things. So yeah, it really shaped me that loneliness of being unable to share with anyone and there wasn't any weight behind it. But there was casual homophobia from both my parents. They didn't have to be in their bonnet about it, they weren't sort of table thumping, but they'd let the old things slip about. My father used to say well, I'm going to be queer as a coot, things like that, and I'd feel this when you say things like that, so am I. Maybe it'll go away and they won't ever find out. I don't know why I so badly didn't want to be it. I don't know why so badly, because other people really didn't hold onto it for as long as I did, but I held onto it right through my 20s. I still kept sort of kind of hoping it would go away. Wow.

Chris Grimes:

The hope is they were accepting. Your dad was accepting. I know your mum's not with us anymore. Is your father still with us? No, he's not.

Robert Hands:

But actually no, when I finally got round to telling them and I wish I'd done it so much sooner than I did I mean, there was a few tiny hiccups, there was a little bit of awkwardness, but essentially it was fine. Yes, it's not like they were done the gay pride parade blowing a whistle. They weren't those sorts of people, but at the same time they yeah, we got to a place of complete ease about the whole thing.

Chris Grimes:

Wonderful. These are such profound shapers, by the way. Thank you. Do you want to go to Shapage Number Three now please? Which is? It'd be Number Three? Cashier Number Three, so Shapage Number Three please.

Robert Hands:

It's quite difficult to talk about, but it is my spirituality and before I got clean I would never have imagined I'd become the guy I am. And my spirituality isn't centered on any religion. There's no religious faith at all that I have, but it is a sort of I don't know. It lies in meditation, it lies in stillness and it lies in yoga. Yeah, I am that guy. I am the yoga meditating guy, and it provides me with a perspective of my place in the world and, in the best way, how unimportant I am in the scheme of things, and it helps tremendously with anything that happens in my life. I've become very kind of accepting of things which you know I might not have and I would have. I wish I'd found it so much sooner. It sustained me through my recovery from drug addiction as well. It's something else to call on. I guess I'm less likely now to look for approval from people or from work or from whatever it may be. Excuse me, then I would have been before and I would have been before. Then I would have been before.

Chris Grimes:

So there's sort of an I met peace now is what I'm hearing.

Robert Hands:

I mean it's contingent on me doing the stuff really.

Chris Grimes:

It's contingent, it's a practice, a practice to be peaceful.

Robert Hands:

Exactly, and to do yoga and to I write a gratitude list. I write a list of 10 things I'm grateful for every day. Yes, to keep me in a place of, even when things are bad and of course things are bad. It's not like Now. I've discovered meditation and yoga. Everything is fine, of course it's not. Life happens, yes, but it somehow gives me a. I don't have to fill up myself with food or drugs or sex. I don't need to do those things anymore.

Chris Grimes:

I'm sort of hearing you don't seek, you don't need to seek validation anymore, you just are and at peace with that practice.

Robert Hands:

I think that's the journey, chris. I don't think I've arrived, I don't think there's someone. I want to arrive, but I can see I'm on that path. There's a quest towards that. Yes, and I can see that now. And it's not to say that I don't have ambition and drive. I absolutely have those in space. But at the same time, I find with auditions I can give them 100% yes, but then I can walk out of the room and I more or less let them go. Yes, because I never thought I'd be an actor again. I never thought at my own property, I never thought any of these things were going to happen to me and they happened. And they happened in their own time and I have lots of experiences like that in COVID. I didn't work at all during COVID and then all of a sudden it all came back and it came back in a sort of avalanche of work and indeed money came my way. Yes, I said I guess I don't know. I don't know what's next in store and I'm quite comfortable being in that place.

Chris Grimes:

Lovely, and the final shape itch of the four shape itch. Well, the final shape itch which?

Robert Hands:

could have been the first shape itch really, which was my love of theatre, and when I was 10, we moved from Holland to England and my aunt took me to the pentamite and the winds did.

Chris Grimes:

She did Sorry, stupid joke. I said oh yes, she did.

Robert Hands:

And it was the winds did draw a panto and I just remember being bewitched by it. I just remember sitting there thinking and there were children on stage as well, people like me running around acting really badly, I have to say as well and thinking why are they doing it like that? But I became, I straight away became obsessed with it and I didn't go to the theatre for a whole other year, to the panto again the next year, and I remember my aunt buying me a programme and I read it forwards, backwards, sideways. I was obsessed with it from that moment. I love that and I guessed, you know, when I talked about the loneliness of being a gay boy growing up in London, I guess that was my only outlet and it was the only thing. I didn't really care what people thought about that, it was my thing and it sustained me. So it was my friend. It really was. And I was quite chunky because I mentioned the kind of food issue and I started saving my dinner money. And in those days you could do that. You could save your dinner money and then you could go into London from where we lived and go and see a play and you'd sit four miles from the stage but you could see the play for three pounds. And I did it every Friday and my parents used to get the Times newspaper and I used to rush downstairs. It was quite a quirky, geeky child really, but I guess I was yeah, I guess I was very alone To read the theatre reviews and I used to read them avidly. I couldn't wait to get downstairs to read. I'd never read a newspaper really, but I'd go straight for the theatre reviews and I became this geeky expert on directors and writers and playwrights and through that I went to see the most extraordinary things. I'd go to see, you know, plays in pub theatres and seeing lots of things at the RSC and musicals. And I remember reading. I always bought a theatre programme and I used to read those, like people read books. I loved knowing about actors and where they came from and what they'd done excuse me, what they'd done and particularly where they'd trained actually that was the real thing what drama schools they'd gone to. It was completely solitary activity that wasn't in any way encouraged or supported by anyone else. It came from within. Yes, it came from within. It was my happy place. I suppose I loved it.

Chris Grimes:

That's so brilliant about this episode, because when you're interviewing an actor, you think, ok, watch your series, have plays, oh darling, it's the stage, and then we go from then on. But this has been so extraordinary that the fourth shape, which is obviously theatre, and it's yours from within. So, with your permission, I'd like to get on to three things that inspire you. Now to Robert. Hansen.

Robert Hands:

So, as you mentioned and forgive me if I get a little tearful my mother died on November, the 11th 2023. So that's kind of three months ago, and she died on her 96th birthday and she had had dementia and hadn't really been herself for about six years and I had really been filling in the gaps all that time and I wanted to, obviously, but actually it sort of was her time and when she died I did look at her and I kind of think I've never seen anyone look so old or so dead and I know it's sort of slightly funny and it sort of was funny really. She would just she'd come to the end of the road and I do feel sad and I feel my eyes pricking over and above the cold about it. But actually it was okay. But she was a great inspiration to me. Without any formal education, she became a journalist in Fleet Street and at a time when women didn't have careers and women weren't expected to have careers, there was a whole thing of you know, you get a job until you marry. But she actually had a career and no one helped her with it. She just had talent, but she had a gift with words. She was a very, very good writer and she never went to university and she had this slight I don't know if it was a chip on her shoulder, but it was something that she felt needed addressing. Everyone that she worked with, particularly as time went on, had degrees and as she got older, younger women were coming in to do what she did, who all had been to university, and my mother really, really envied it. She actually trained as an actress. My mother went to Central School for a year and then didn't really pursue it. She didn't really get anywhere with it and then ended up in this strange publication in Fleet Street, but she ended up, you know, working at all the kind of major women you know the editor of the sewage and waterworks. Oh, the bucket. That's how I got the job. No, the bit of nepotism for the old sewage works.

Chris Grimes:

I was kidding.

Robert Hands:

The bullet's straight there for me. But then in her 70s she went to university. Wow yeah in her 70s. She went to the bus and she went to university and did an English degree, which is what she'd always wanted to do, and at the time, you know, I kind of took it as normal. But you know, she was in her 70s and she was sitting in a classroom full of 18, 19 year olds and she had a really difficult life. My father was an alcoholic and was, and I had three brothers and she was sort of the major breadwinner and she never had much interest in domesticity. That wasn't really her thing. But God, she did what she could. You know there was always food on the table. We were never dressed particularly elegantly or well, but and the house was a bit of a mess really, she just couldn't see the point. She could not see the point in cleaning.

Chris Grimes:

We could all relate to that. It's called wilding your front room nowadays.

Robert Hands:

But God, get her on a subject of a book or something that she'd read and she'd be so inspiring and engaging and interested. She was interested in everything. So, yes, she's a huge inspiration to me In which she followed her heart. That's what she did.

Chris Grimes:

I'm sorry to hear that obviously dementia took the final hold. And how long was her path in that Six?

Robert Hands:

years, when she was 90, she fell over and that that speeded up the process of assuming that's a thing that a trauma can bring it on or speed it up or something. And she was never quite the same after that, Although physically she sort of you know, she sort of had to walk about a bit and she lived alone until the last actually. But she certainly wasn't herself anymore and it was heartbreaking watching her. If I said something like I've got a job, you know, I could see a flash across her eyes. What do you mean? You had a job? Does that mean you don't normally have a job? What's the job? What is it you do? Well, I know this. Had me had a conversation about it, you could see it. So instead of asking any questions like, oh, what's the job, She'd go, Hmm, and it was sad really because it meant, you know, we could never, no longer really communicate.

Chris Grimes:

It became really hard and by the way, our connection times have quite profound In the fact it's 10 years to this day that you are dry or in recovery, and when I first reconnected with you, you were literally traveling in the car to go and see your mum and then a week later she died, and then, since that point we've been getting to this point, which is obviously November, to now. So it's an extraordinary, extraordinary series of connections that brings us to the presence of now.

Robert Hands:

Yes, I agree. Yeah, it is nice, yeah, Anyway, then I sort of I've lumped a few together things that inspire me. Please do yes. So this is a second, inspiring. I was thinking about people who have overcome hardship, and last year I read three autobiographies and there were people who faced far greater difficulties than I ever did and they, they didn't just transcend them, they triumphed. One was a book called educated by T'Hara Westover, and she was brought up. Who T'Hara?

Chris Grimes:

sorry T'Hara did you say T'Hara Westover? T'hara sorry yeah.

Robert Hands:

She was brought up in a very strict Mormon family in Utah, I believe, and her father didn't believe in medicine or education and they run a sort of sort of breakers yard, I think. And it was pretty crazy and it transpired later, I think, that her dad was bipolar and he'd have these episodes that they all suffered by and she had no education whatsoever and by she hadn't been to school until she was 16. She had a home educated, but mostly on the Bible there was not a great deal of, and her mom sort of on the choir educated and she managed to get into college. It was a Mormon college but it was frowned upon by her father and there was all sorts of physical abuse and stuff and it was an extremely difficult life. And a teacher there is this often the way a teacher spotted her sort of brilliance, the long and short of it. She ended up in Cambridge. In Cambridge, this girl from with no education she said like when she went to college she didn't know that she had to brush her teeth or have a shower every day. They were that sort of removed from society. She ended up in Cambridge and then she then went to Harvard. So these great sort of establishments of education from this extraordinary humble beginnings. Not just humble, but they didn't want her to get on. That was not what they felt that she was there for.

Chris Grimes:

As a Mormon woman, that was not expected, anyway such a combination is it being sort of home educated on the Bible in a breakers yard, so presumably she could rail about religion and also crush a car at short notice.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, there's all sorts of hilarious anecdotes of her doing just that, yes, of crushing glass and stuff, and all the terrifying disregard for health and safety 11 year old girl wandering over the chainsaw and stuff. All sorts of injuries went up.

Chris Grimes:

She's still with us, by the way, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, she's out there. She's at Harvard, hasn't she?

Robert Hands:

Yeah, she's, I mean she was, I mean she's still a very young woman. She's, I mean she's been to Harvard in Cambridge and then she's written this book.

Chris Grimes:

Maybe you're going to pass the golden baton to her. I've no idea. I've loved it.

Robert Hands:

She's amazing. I mean, if you get older, first she's.

Chris Grimes:

I've followed her on, you know, seen interviews with her on YouTube and she's extraordinary, she's really so just say her name again it's Tara Westover, thank you, so she'll do brilliantly as an inspiration. And then the third one of those Well, there's actually, I've got another two.

Robert Hands:

So one was Elliot Page's book Page Boy, and Elliot, who's a trans man, grew up in the wrong body but in the full glare of Hollywood and was nominated for Best Actress, for an Oscar for Juno when he was still a girl and reading his challenges from really early memories just this feeling of being in the wrong body and no one listening to it and doing in the full glare of the publicity of his life it's, I found it inspiring, just so inspiring that I guess, like like me growing up a gay boy in the 80s, there was no one to talk to, there was no one to see the way that he handled that and excruciating pain that he suffered. It was very moving. And then seeing him triumph as he has and kind of brilliantly just playing male roles now, it's wonderful. And the third was Biola Davis's memoir Finding Me, which again I mean the way she describes her childhood to end up where she is now, as one of Hollywood's finest and best known and respected actresses, is what inspires me. I kind of think, you know, I had a few things up but I never had to confront those things To completely change, to leave my family behind me and to find a way in it in an industry steeped in prejudice and yet keeping on going, and I just have the utmost respect for it and I'm just a huge fan of her acting anyway. So that's. I mean, even if she hadn't been, it's still a remarkable feat, but she's also, incidentally, I think, one of the finest actresses on screen at the moment. I think that's really something. Yeah, so those are my three there.

Chris Grimes:

Wonderful, three inspirations, fantastic, yes, and, by the way, there's a slight comic tangent. As you were a gay boy growing up in Holland, I was growing up similarly in Uganda. Not as a gay boy living in Uganda, but my only stereotypical knowledge of Holland was a first school assembly where we just knew the story of the person that had to put their finger on the body. So that's just a comedy tangent of you know all sort of fnafna sticking your finger in a dike and all that sort of things. Anyway, that's a comedy tangent which is wholly irrelevant. That's a rabbit hole. That's a rabbit hole.

Robert Hands:

Yes, thank you.

Chris Grimes:

Thank you. So we're on to two squirrels now. What never fell to grab your attention? Well, your monsters of distraction, irrespective of anything else that's going on for you in your life, Robert Hanson.

Robert Hands:

Well, I think movie posters I love them. I don't just love the information that they have, I just think they're beautiful artworks. I know a little bit about it that there are whole departments in Hollywood, there are teams of people that create movie posters that decide you know, it's not just, I will just snap it. You know from the action, there's a lot of thought goes behind it and that's why some of them are so arresting, do you?

Chris Grimes:

collect them. By the way, I have a half of them.

Robert Hands:

I don't I wish I did.

Chris Grimes:

I think I might start, because I think you should. In fact, now you've said that, I was thinking, gosh, why doesn't he have them plastered all over the walls behind him? Oh, why do I Exactly? And what's that poster behind you, by the way? Because that is that a to what?

Robert Hands:

That picture there. Yeah, no, it's a sort of it's by a Bauhaus. Is that 1930s, 1920s?

Chris Grimes:

art. Sorry, I mean that was. That was a squirrel of itself for me because I got distracted. I'm terribly sorry. So back to you and your, your Hollywood posters.

Robert Hands:

Well, I'm a person. But any old cinema poster actually, I chew, I gravitate towards them always and read who's in them, who's directed it, who's. You know who's written it, who's? I always do and I, I love it, and I love them as works of art as well. So, you're right, why don't I?

Chris Grimes:

I'm going to get some, Chris get some, and you've just, for some reason, the Betty Blue poster flashed into my mind as you said that that was one that was very sort of iconic and memorable. That's not a very good example. There are many, many more brilliant ones, but that's one I remember.

Robert Hands:

If you've seen poor things, but the post is so eye catching I find myself going through it the whole time and I suppose I still have that passion for who's in it.

Chris Grimes:

What are they done From your programs? Yes, absolutely. My program days Reading the Times, a theater section.

Robert Hands:

Yes.

Chris Grimes:

Yes, I think it probably is. Yes, okay, so that's your squirrels. I think just in the structure I need another squirrel.

Robert Hands:

Yes, you have another squirrel. It was what Any form of autobiography or biography Catch in my attention. It doesn't mean if, it doesn't matter if it's a book or whether it's. I think in the Metro there's a thing called 60 Seconds and then they have a sort of snap interview with someone. Always gets my attention. I always read them. I love knowing. I suppose to say I don't love knowing what makes people tick is maybe. Yeah, I guess I do. I love knowing the nitty gritty about why they do things and and, I guess, the differences in how people perceive things, anything like that. Yes, again, I think my mother used to get the Sunday Times and they always used to be, I think, on the back of the day in the life. Yes, I still do. I would always pick it up and read it.

Chris Grimes:

Yes.

Robert Hands:

Lovely yes, so those are my squirrels.

Chris Grimes:

I'd say and now a quicker unusual fact about you. This is the one that we couldn't possibly know about you until you tell us, and you're not allowed to say I injected crystal meth ones, because we know that now I don't think it's very interesting.

Robert Hands:

But I don't eat sugar, by which mean I mean cakes, biscuits, chocolates, sweets for 11 months of the year, in December.

Chris Grimes:

I can't In the minute You're captain Stalin all the way through December. That's exactly it. Yes, I love that you just have a sort of complete feast of binge of cake in December.

Robert Hands:

Yes, I can't do it like normal people do. Who might say, oh, it'd be nice to have a bar of chocolate. Now I can't. The minute I do that, I'm having family packs of fruit and nuts. You know, I don't know Mark's and Spencer's used to these fantastic tea cakes, which aren't cakes at all, they're marshmallows with chocolate on. I think they came in boxes of 36 and I just said all of them.

Chris Grimes:

It's sort of like your tonic snowball, but in a packet of 36.

Robert Hands:

The M&S version I can't do it in any way reasonably. I go and not every any addiction I've ever had. Actually, I just sit there thinking about when am I gonna have the next one, where am I gonna get the next one, what will the next one be? And it's easier for me, although it requires quite a lot of willpower Just not to do it, just don't.

Chris Grimes:

I love the fact that December you just think you go full feral and turn into fatty arbuckle because you can just go mental for a month. I mean I couldn't.

Robert Hands:

I mean never to have him inspire again.

Chris Grimes:

I couldn't, I couldn't not Great fact. I love that.

Robert Hands:

I don't know if it's, but I listened to your interview with Fadir McDermott and he was so brilliant because his fact, it sort of incorporated his whole career. His whole reason for being was because of that fact that no one would know about, and that's, in a way, what drove him to become the man that he is, and I thought that was brilliant. So, you know, the one that I don't need to show isn't quite as interesting.

Chris Grimes:

But that's the day you are, that's it. Now yours is up there. This whole path and this trajectory of you, the story behind the story of Robert Hansen, is just extraordinary, so far. This is gold in them, the hills right there. We have shaken your tree and thank you for the mention of the lovely, brilliant Fadir McDermott in that as well and now we've shaken your tree. So now we're going to stay in the clearing, move away from the tree. And, by the way, the really good news is I think I'm going to milk about two whole episodes out of you, because this is going on a really beautiful amount of time, which is great. So, as we were. So now we're moving away from the tree and next we're talking about alchemy and gold. When you're at purpose, robert Hansen Echter, what are you absolutely happiest doing in what you're here to reveal to the world?

Robert Hands:

It's never changed since I was auditioning for drama school. I'm at my happiest working on the script and listening and feeling unjudged. The ability to play, to try things out, to think about it, to search, to Try and find clues of the character that I'll be playing. It's my happy place and I can do it for hours and hours and hours and I don't feel any less. It's always meditative because I don't think of anything else when I'm doing it. I don't feel any less fond of all of that than I did all those years ago, lovely.

Chris Grimes:

And one of the other things I remember reading about you in the research towards your sort of darker time when your life imploded, was you said there was a moment when you said I hadn't worked for two years and I wonder whether it was the gap of not being able to go to that alchemic place that made you more susceptible to, ultimately, the sinkhole of addiction you went into. But I don't know if the two of those are related to.

Robert Hands:

No, I didn't work because I was taking drugs. I'm with you Sorry. Yes, I love the fact.

Chris Grimes:

Sorry, that's my fault. I love the fact that it's all about. That is your happy place, out at your most, alchemic. You're working on a script how lovely, yeah. And now it's not December, but I'm going to award you with a. Well, it's going to have to be a metaphorical cake, because you're not allowed even to snaffle anything. You're not going to save it up, chris. So what type of cake would you like? Imagine it's now December, the first. What do we nom, nom, nom, nom. Beyond?

Robert Hands:

Here's the thing, I think, because I don't eat cake the rest of the year and it is my passion. I would like, if that's OK, yes. You know it's poshium hotels where they have afternoon tea. I do it can be the selection of little cakes, don't you? Yes?

Chris Grimes:

Some little fences.

Robert Hands:

Yes, and what I thought I'd have was that I'd have a little slice of lemon drizzle Well, I'd have a little slice of vanilla, a Victoria sponge, and then I'd have a coffee and walnut, and then I might have a little slice of fruitcake as well.

Chris Grimes:

How quaint, essentially gorgeous. I love that you can have all those things on a little delicate sort of tower of plates.

Robert Hands:

It might add up to lightly more than one chunky slice, but only just Essentially, it'd be like?

Chris Grimes:

And what's that tower of different sized plates called? When you they call it, it's not called.

Robert Hands:

a not called a lazy Susan, it's no.

Chris Grimes:

You see it, or a carousel, a lazy Susan, I don't know what they call it. We have to get people to write in about that.

Robert Hands:

There's sandwiches on the bottom, don't you? Yes, On the top you've got a little bit of cake.

Chris Grimes:

Yes. So if anyone said oh look, it's one of those plates, I wonder what it's called, do you think it's a lazy Susan, do you? I don't think it is.

Robert Hands:

Carousel. I think a lazy Susan is a thing that spins in the middle of the table. So if you're sitting at a big table, you can turn it around. So if you want to get the sprouts or whatever, and they're the ones on the other side of the thing, you can turn. I think that's a lazy Susan. Rather than having to pass, then you can just turn the.

Chris Grimes:

I remember being at a Chinese restaurant when the table rotated and you could spin the bits round. But that wouldn't be a lazy Susan in a Chinese restaurant. I'm sure I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be, I'm sure it's not that. Anyway, I'm sorry. Cashier number 400, the world's pleased. So, yes, so it's a plate. You can have that lovely potpourri of cakes. I love that. You've got a quintessential English collection of cakeery, which is lovely. Ok, now you get to put the cherry on the cakes that you have, and this is stuff like what's a favourite inspirational quote, robert, that's always given you sucker and pulled you towards your future.

Robert Hands:

Oh, I think. I mean I've had many that I thought might do, but one that makes me smile was two. Can I have two? Yes, one is from the film Flashdance, and it's Take your passion and make it happen. And I love it for two reasons One, because I like the sentiment I could it's essentially go for it. But also the fact it doesn't really rhyme Passion doesn't rhyme with happen. But I like the fact that it's quite shameless the way they've done that, but the thought behind it which is, yeah, go for it, don't you take your passion and make it happen. I like that. But I think the other one Quite low-brow, my quotations. It's Ru Paul's famous line, which is if you can't love yourself, how the hell do you expect anyone else? How do you expect to love anyone yourself? And I like the fact that that's not about what can you get, but what can you give. How can you give anyone anything unless you love yourself? Yes, and I think that's that's. That's a nice one.

Chris Grimes:

And I don't think that's low-brow at all, I think that's absolutely gorgeous. Now this next question I'm particularly enamoured with because you said a little bit of while ago. You said I do feel actually a little bit in love or affectionate towards that little boy. You said it back yourself. So my next question is what notes help or advice now, with the extraordinary cathartic path you've had with the gift of hindsight? What notes, help or advice would you profit to a younger, 10-year-old version of a Robert Hans?

Robert Hands:

I think I'd say trust your instincts, don't diminish yourself by what you think other people want you to be. I think is what I'd say, which is quite complicated, to a small boy, but I think he'd understand. Actually, I think the notion that someone is going to thank me on my deathbed for not living my best life is quite sobering. I kind of think, oh, who am I doing this for? So much of my life has been, I mean, much like the blokes here. I have some crystal meth and I said yes why did I do that? I kind of did it because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I don't know why I did it. Yes, people do Rather than trust my instincts.

Chris Grimes:

It's the most dangerous type of people pleasing known to man. Probably it's really exceptional.

Robert Hands:

Yes, it's an Olympic level of people pleasing us, isn't it? Yes?

Chris Grimes:

And that's a very interesting segue into this next question, which is I know you've been given some crap advice. Obviously, we've just covered that, but what's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Robert Hands:

What is the best piece of advice I've ever been given? I tell you, the most helpful thing someone has ever said to me was Because I really struggled and I think bullet children do struggle with this blame you blame yourself. And I've been in a few Western music schools and so part of that was I had singing lessons and I had some vocal issues and one of the problems I had a sort of real problem, my mouth was closing up a lot and seemingly it was about that sort of territory, it was about the carrying the burden of having been bullied and stuff. And he just said you know, it's not your fault and it was like I was let off the hook with that and that's one of the most memorable things anyone's ever said to me. And it landed. Sometimes people can say things and you go oh yeah, that's nice, thank you. But it really landed because it never occurred to me, it wasn't my fault and it allowed me to let go of it a little bit and to forgive myself a little bit. Lovely, it's gone heavy again. No, it's great. This is just Lighten the cake and now we are on back again. No, lovely.

Chris Grimes:

Because I'm a little bit of a person who's been so lovely, because now where we're going is we're ramping up to Shakespeare in a moment to talk about legacy. Just before we get there. This is the past. The golden baton moment, please. So, having experienced this from within, who would you most like to pass the golden baton along to? To someone in your life or network, in order to keep the golden thread of the storytelling going?

Robert Hands:

I'd like to pass it on to my friend, mickey Cohen. Mickey Cohen, he is a, a jewellery designer and maker, and he has helped me more than anyone else in the world. He's helped me with my journey to spirituality. He's helped me through his tireless selflessness. He's always there for me. He's a family and children, but he's always there for me and he's a. I'm very lucky to have him in my life because he's he inspires me. He could have been on the inspiration list, actually, if he should have been on the inspiration list, because, no matter what his difficulties may be, he's a man all about service. He does service to mankind all the time and without any, without any expectation of any gain or anything. He does it because it helps him and it makes the world a better place. It's a selfless. Even when it's inconvenient, he still does it. Inconvenient to him, he still is there and in my darkest hours, when I was struggling with trying to stay off the drugs, he was, he was, he was, he was, he was. He was always there and he threw open the doors to his house to me and invited me to come on family holidays. And he's a. He's a very Kind and inspiring man, a very special human being and without in any way being Limited by any actual religion, he's just. To me he's a spiritual giant and I think he's very special. And he's a creative man. He makes beautiful jewelry, so he might be someone up your street, I don't know.

Chris Grimes:

It's up to you. He sounds like a privilege and I can't resist saying, because he's a jeweler, he's obviously a bit of a gem. So, yes, he sounds really extraordinary actually and, thank you, he sounds like a very great gift of a golden baton pass.

Robert Hands:

I saw him in many different guys' and I wouldn't have thought that Mickey wouldn't, you wouldn't immediately think.

Chris Grimes:

I know there goes a spiritual guru, but so your mission, should you just accept it, is to furnish me with a warm introduction to Mickey Cohen. Thank you very much. And now, inspired by Shakespeare and all the World's A Stage and, by the way you may be interested to know, this is the actual, not first failure, but this is the actual complete works that I bought to go to the Bristol Ovid Theatre School where I met you. And this says Chris Grimes, 16986. So this is the one that I used when we were chuntering on together in the Bristol Olympic Theatre School, calding over the Downs doing King Henry Henry V. Do you ever do that? Yes, so for a Muse of Fire and all that she blag Lovely, yes, and of course, we can riff on about that another time as well. The people that we were there with and all that stuff Marvelous. So now, inspired by Shakespeare then, and inspired by Jake Wies's speech, and, as you like it, all the world's digit, all the bed. You don't have to do any Shakespeare, this is just legacy. Now, robert Hans, how, when all is said and done, it's a lot of kerfuffle and a big prop just for one question, isn't it? But it's how would you most like to be remembered?

Robert Hands:

I think I'd like I suppose you know I've struggled and I've come out the other end and I suppose, yes, if it likes to be remembered, maybe someone that maybe gave hope to someone who was struggling and didn't know there was there was a way out of it, I'd love that. I mean, you said, how would you hope to be so? I don't know will I ever be, but that would be a wonderful legacy to think that if it was just one person.

Chris Grimes:

It's not hope, it's how do you most like. So this is your gift to give, so it's how would you most like to be remembered. So I'm not being pedantic, I'm just saying that it needn't be a hope, because actually you are an inspiration, because you have survived it and you've survived.

Robert Hands:

Yeah, well, I'd like to be remembered then, someone that overcame some difficulties and came out the other end.

Chris Grimes:

I've done, found it for the first time. Now I'm leaving a little bit of silence there. Marvelous, no, no, that's fine, great. So where can we find out all about Robert Hands? On the old interweb, please? Probably Instagram robhands Lovely, thank you, as this has been your moment in the sunshine, in the Good, listening to show Stories of Distinction of Genius Robert Hands. Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Robert Hands:

No, but thank you, chris, for asking me. It's lovely to see you. You don't look any different, well, nor do you.

Chris Grimes:

And yes, it's one, it's. Thank you for that. I shall take that as a compliment. And it's so, so wonderful to see you again. I'm so happy we have reconnected and in the last few months I've reconnected with Brenda Nohey, with you and others that are there in the mix of the wonderful squad that we were part of back in the day. So it's been a real, real delight and, as I said at the beginning, I'm so profoundly happy that you have come through it and you are the right way up and wiser for it. But, my gosh, you went there, you were sucked under and it's great that you have surfaced and emerged triumphant, but with still work to be done, because it ain't over yet. As we know life. Thank you Wonderful. So, ladies and gentlemen, you've been listening to the delightful Robert Hands and, yes, I've been Chris Grimes. Thegoodlisteningtoshowcom is the website. Tune in next time for more stories from the Clearing. Thank you very much indeed and good night. You've been listening to the Good Listening To Show here on UK Health Radio with me, chris Grimes. Oh, it's my son. If you've enjoyed the show, then please do tune in next week to listen to more stories from the Clearing. If you'd like to connect with me on LinkedIn, then please do so. There's also a dedicated Facebook group for the show too. You can contact me about the programme or, if you'd be interested in experiencing some personal impact coaching with me, carry my level up your impact programme. That's chrisatsecondcurveuk On Twitter and Instagram. It's At that, chris Grimes. So until next time for me, chris Grimes, from UK Health Radio. I'm from Stan. To your Good Health and goodbye, oh Ektah, robert Hands, you've just been given a damn good listening to. Can I just ask for your immediate feedback on what that was like for you being curated through this structure and this story scape? It?

Robert Hands:

was very nice. It's quite nice talking about yourself. I was a bit worried about it before because I thought, oh dear, this is all a bit grim and dark. Do I really want to talk about this? I'm glad I did. You gently led me through it and it just feels quite auspicious being my 10-year anniversary and talking to you about it, and I guess it was very nice and I wasn't feeling very well when I started, but I feel much better now and thank you for not postponing being as you weren't well, because we've had a really interesting path.

Chris Grimes:

It is profound that it's 10 years to this day, even though we've tried four times to get to this point, and and that you know it's wonderful that it was today and thank you sincerely. It's lovely that we're both here with our man Gold's, 10 years to the day of your recovery, but it's just really it's the right time. You know what's meant, for you won't pass you by, and here we are and it's been lovely. Oh, thank you, chris, and thank you for watching on Facebook too. If you have been. Do get in touch with Rob if you'd like to do that, and it's been a joy and I hope to see you again. I very much look forward to giving you a hug when I next see you. That'd be nice. Yeah, me too.

Meditation and Recovery in Acting
Life-Changing Moment
Overcoming Addiction and Rebuilding a Career
The Profound Shapers of Identity
Spirituality, Yoga, and Finding Peace
Triumphing Over Hardship
Movie Posters, Autobiographies, and Alchemy
Cake Selection and Inspirational Quotes
Passing the Golden Baton