Saturday, 20 December 2008

pale and peaky

TFI Christmas. In full grip of the flu, and I'm getting high on the mild amphetamines in Day Nurse. All good. I even turned down the free bar at the work Xmas do last night, so I know I'm poorly. (Went for an hour or so and drank green tea - you've never seen someone so shocked as the barperson at a free bar being asked for green tea). 

So, this is the to-do list for the next two weeks I've got off work:

1. The usual Christmas feasting, flu permitting. Because it's just not the festive season without gout-enducing amounts of port and stilton. 

2. Family stuff: wherein the deeply-troubled emotional dynamics of family relationships are played out in an argument over who cooks the sprouts and how. Etc.

3. Filing all the things I haven't filed for the last 6 months and which are in a big pile in my room. God, I'm depressed just thinking about it. Maybe I'll save this job for the summer holiday...

4. Rewriting the comedy script. I had a go the other day, and it went ok. All the ideas that have been percolating for a while came out, and I think it's better than the orginal. Although I will be asking for feedback...

5. Steeling myself to look at the playscript, and no doubt notice all the things that don't work, and stupid typos, and generally feeling a bit embarrassed about having submitted it for something at first draft stage. 

6. Being really bloody glad I'm not at work. 

So that lot should keep my busy... Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

musings (not very profound)

Hurrah! I thought I might have forgotten how to write, having had a few weeks off, but I don't think I have. I've decided to embark on a complete rewrite of my comedy script. It's not too bad, as is, but it starts in totally the wrong place, namely at the beginning with everyone saying hello and introducing themselves*. Awful.

*(Not literally, by the way. I'm not that bad a writer.) 

Some of this was motivated by finally managing to watch Gavin and Stacey. Despite all the hype, which usually ruins these things, I loved it. Warm and witty and nice. And it starts somewhere you don't expect, and keeps going to places that are familiar but not obvious. So I'm trying to learn from that. Also, the fine art of putting character above the odd cheap laugh. 

The play, incidentally, is still in deep storage, and awaiting its own special rewrite. But I can't even contemplate that right now, especially with two magazines to go to press in the day job. Aargh! 

Monday, 1 December 2008


I am overwhelmed by the amount of theatre in London.

It's brilliant, don't get me wrong. But I feel like I don't get to see even a tiny amount of what I'd like to. Time and money are the main obstacles. Money mainly. Also dithering. I dithered over the David Hare play at the National until it was sold out and the decision was made for me.

The other problem is that there's lots of interesting mainstream stuff on, but I'm trying to make an effort to see things that are a bit more off the beaten track. I recently went to see a new Czech play at the Tristan Bates theatre. The play, Theremin, was fascinating.  It was about the inventor of the Theremin (yes, the clue was in the title) and it sent me straight to Wikipedia to see if any of it could possibly be true. It was, of course. It's hard to make up anything half as interesting as real life - no question.  At £3 a ticket it was also excellent value. Credit-crunch-culture-tastic. 

I think I'll have to set myself some kind of cheapskate challenge for January, and see what theatre I can find for a tenner or less. Experimental Polish mime here I come. 


I met up with some lovely writing pals yesterday. I met them through a writing course I did earlier this year. I've always been a bit unsure about creative writing courses, a bit uncomfortable about the idea that this stuff can be taught. But what can I say? I was wrong. I went to Arvon and started writing the play that I have a kind-of-first-draft of. 

It was nice to catch up with other writing types. And it turns out everyone has similar issues. Mainly time. I can write in quite short moments, which is helpful. But having the mental space to do stuff is harder. You need to have a bit of energy. When I'm knackered and I try to write stuff, it comes out all limp and lacklustre and generally meh.

Good job I still have some stuff in the notebook from my mad creative period which I can type up and try not to fuck up in the edit. Writing is re-writing, apparently. It must be true. I read it on writersroom. 

Right,  back to the hedgehog-based comedy script. (Really.)