SOS meets funnyman Mark Watson

What were your first thoughts when you were approached to do a stand-up gig in a stream?

I had to read the email several times before I accepted that they definitely did mean I’d be standing IN the stream. Once I was convinced of that, I started to wonder what the weather was going to be like. After all, it would be just like the British weather to save one of the biggest deluges in recent years for the precise afternoon I was going to wade into a stream and chat to people about water conservation. But that wasn’t going to happen… was it?

How did it feel working with a live audience for the first time in over a year?

Well, in normal circumstances it would have been a very weird place to try and establish an atmosphere – a muddy bank on what was quite a chilly evening – but it had been so long since any of us were properly out of the house, it almost felt appropriate somehow that live comedy was restarting in such a mad setting. It was a bit like a halfway house between a comedy gig and a strange dream.

What water wasting habits were you guilty of before getting involved with SOS: Save our Streams?

Quite a lot, if I’m being honest. I’m a lover of baths and, left to my own devices, the sort of person who would happily spend the day in one, topping it up again and again. I also leave taps running much more than I should, boil the kettle much fuller than I need to, all this sort of thing. None of it is intentional negligence, but they’re just habits you can easily fall into if you take things for granted.

Have you made any changes to your daily routine as a result of what you’ve learned?

I’ve rationed my bathing a lot more, for a start. And just been conscious of not starting the shower and then going off to do something else, for example. As with a lot of healthy changes, they’re a matter of just taking ten seconds to be mindful of what you’re doing – getting into mental patterns that are a bit more aware.

Did you realise quite how precious our chalk streams were before you worked with Affinity Water?

No, I’d not given it much thought at all. I definitely wasn’t aware that such a high percentage of the world’s chalk streams were in this country; let alone that they were endangered. It’s not that easy to make a connection between a natural feature, like a stream, and your own water use at home. That’s why I’m pleased to be part of this campaign.

What advice would you give to people who want to make a simple, easy change to their routine to help waste less water?

Just make a mental note of every time you’re leaving a tap running for longer than it needs to be. ‘Any time a tap is running with nothing underneath it, that’s a waste of water’. That was something I said to camera on the day, and it has really stayed with me. You start noticing that it’s happening quite a lot, and that it’s very easy to address it.

Final question…do you know which button to flush when you use the toilet?

Helen Arney’s song about this, at the gig, touched on one of the great human anxieties of our age. Luckily, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Australia and over there, EVERY toilet has the two-button system. So, I like to think I’m pretty sharp. But I’m not cocky. I continue to concentrate hard in the bathroom.

So what are you waiting for?

It’s super easy to help your local environment and Save Our Streams – it’ll only take you three minutes.
And if helping the environment wasn’t enough, you’ll also save money too.