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A is for Aardvark

October 19, 2011

Aartwork - Brad Tuttle

dev·il’s advocate (dᵉv’ᵊlz) n. One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.

devilsaardvark   (a:d’va:k’) n. As devil’s advocate, only with a much larger nose.

A is for Aardvark. Let’s start at the beginning shall we? I am currently in the process of setting up my own freelance business, selling some of the skills I have acquired over the (nearly) 20 years since I graduated from drama school. I have been an actor/company stage manager, a radio presenter, a journalist (briefly) and most recently, an English teacher. I have also spent some time ‘resting’ in call centres, warehouses and sandwich shops. I have delivered cars, administrated for civil engineers and hacked down the odd piece of overgrown shrubbery by the side of the road. I’d love to be able to say it’s been a laugh a minute. It hasn’t, but neither has it been a one-way trip to depressionville either. Ups and downs, just like everyone else. As someone once said, “Life has bookmakers’ odds of 6-4 against,” and I agree wholeheartedly with the Kanye West philosophy of “That that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger.” – Obviously not the whole quote, as I took the liberty of omitting a couple of ‘thats’ from the beginning.

So why devilsaardvark? Doesn’t that imply that I’m argumentative? Well yes, to a certain extent I am, but I think that ‘provocative’, ‘challenging’ and ‘questioning’ are not only more positive as words, but also more accurate as a description of my nature. Or am I without scruples? Au contraire, for indeed I can stand astride the moral high ground, chest puffed out and head held as high as anyone. I chose devilsaardvark, for both it’s pun value (and yes, I have to confess to being a fan of puns – or pundit if you prefer) and its intimation. In a world of infinite variables and possibilities, I struggle with the notion that anything other than the fundamental laws of physics can be either black or white and I reserve the right to question anything I happen to be uncomfortable with. I also reserve the right for those questions to be challenging and provocative.

And please don’t be fooled into thinking it’s about lying. We are all less than truthful from time to time, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but rather a necessary trait we all possess in order to help us survive. If I choose to assume the role of devilsaardvark, I do so in order to enhance and augment my understanding of a subject. Simply by taking for granted or blithely following a concept or preconception without thought or questioning, one becomes shackled by all of its facets, be they good or bad. If something is entirely good or purely evil, it is only by the process of understanding its antithesis that we can come to honestly make that reference. And even then, we have to make allowances for the points-of-view of others. Can you imagine a world in which politicians were able to see both sides of a debate?

Speaking of parasites, I once had the misfortune of working with a headteacher who was so terminally dull, that the most interesting thing about him was the unremarkable beige suit he used to wear. He probably still does. He certainly never struck anyone as being adventurous or progressive! Anyway, he had made the foolish mistake of suggesting that, as an actor I was not to be trusted because, “Actors are trained liars.” It’s little wonder that our education system is in the shambolic mess it is when there are ignorant, dull-witted, simpletons like him running our schools.

Acting, dear boy, is about telling the truth!

I also love the word ‘aardvark’, pure and simple. Always have, ever since I was a teenager growing up in Plymouth and going to a Sunday afternoon theatre workshop called, surprisingly enough, Aardvarks.

So that’s my first ramble done. Please feel free to take whatever I say with a large pinch of salt. As devilsaardvark, I thoroughly recommend that you do, not just on these pages, but throughout life in general. Next time, in what is likely to be called ‘B is for Business’, I will be going into more detail about the trials and trilobites of starting up a freelance business as a vocal coach for public speakers, English home tutor for GCSE students and purveyor of fine Theatre-in-Education packages.

But for now,

Good effort, thanks for popping in, cheers then, bye!

And do feel free to drop me line…


(Please note the website is in its infancy. So much so in fact that it hasn’t actually been born yet. But if you don’t mind the sight of blood and can bear the screaming and shouts of ‘Push! Push!’, pop in and have a look. I might even let you cut the cord!

  1. sue permalink

    Gr8…so far! Made me laugh…! Happy ‘birth’ day!

  2. Neil Bromley permalink

    You old devil (‘s aardvark) you. A beautifully written introduction to your new adventure and may I sincerely wish you well with it my friend.
    I took the liberty of forwarding both it and your mobile number to Sir Iain of Gonoude, as I know he’ll be as impressed as I am with it and he’s very keen to be back in touch with you.
    I once had the misfortune to be working with a headmaster who told me, at a conference for headteachers on antisocial behaviour & bullying, that there were no racists at his school because there weren’t any black people. Brilliant.

  3. Neil Bromley permalink


  4. Rebecca Papp permalink

    “Work it, make it, do it,
    Makes us harder, better, faster, stronger” (West, K. 2007) – discuss

    • Actually, with my P is for Pedant hat on, I think that should be [“…”] (Bangalter, T.,
      de Homem-Christo, G-M. 2001)

  5. “we have to make allowances for the points-of-view of others”?

    that could be construed as:
    on the one hand there are people who actually like killing people but on the other hand there are those who don’t. the evidence, however, would appear to suggest that killing people can be fun. therefore, this essay is going to show why it is fun, it is then going to give you some examples of people who really enjoyed killing people and finally, it is going to give you a plan to go out and kill yourself.

    the point i am trying to make is that sometimes “the other side” don’t really have an argument or at least not one that is morally sustainable and “apropos” “morals”; while some of us might want to thank nietzsche (who you actually reference in your post) for killing god, we can also be pleased that he is no longer around.

    enjoyed reading your post though and thank you for the “like” for mine at

  6. Nice blog. I am looking forward to reading more.

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