Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Moving On

Photo credit: Stephen Whalley and LA Productions/BBC.

This week I've been on the telly as an extra in the BBC series called Moving On. (I'm the one with the arm up in the air.) My role lasted about seven seconds. It took us an entire day on set to do our part, so I see now why films have such large budgets. We ate a lot of doughnuts, too. It was a good plug for the Merseyside Big Band, though, and I'm hoping that, as a result, we get a few more music fans coming along to our regular gig at Maghull Town Hall on the 25th. November.

Here's some more photo's:
 Photo credit: Stephen Whalley and LA Productions/BBC.
This one shows off my ex-Writers-of-the-Future Tux, recycled and put to good use whilst helping to keep down the cost of the BBC licence fee. 

Photo credit: Stephen Whalley and LA Productions/BBC.

And here's the whole band. What a fine collection of manhood.

Moving on was produced by LA Productions for the BBC and starred Hannah Gordon and the late Corin Redgrave.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Ah, Sunday morning, and Bristolcon is over. It's been a brilliant con and I'm sad that it has come to an end so quickly. Highlights: watching fantasy writer Juliet E McKenna chucking fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie all around the room in a Martial arts display, filling the notebook with ideas during the Future Science panel, and of course meeting lots of friendly people who love SciFi. It was especially good to meet up with Adam Colston again, one of this year's WOTF winners. He kindly passed me a copy of his WOTF 26, and although I've already read it on my kindle (a terrific read it is too) I was chuffed to bits to get a hard copy, and signed by Adam.

Well done to all the organisers, a slick and friendly event – can't wait for next year. I will certainly be coming.

And now for breakfast (I love hotel breakfasts) then off up the M5 to Birmingham for the 'Simply the Best' art show at the NEC, where Sarah has a painting on display. (It's the one that was recently in 'International Artist' Magazine - available at WH Smiths and all good magazine sellers throughout the world).

Thursday, 4 November 2010

On the benefits of Crappy Jobs for Writers

A little while ago a writer friend of mine stressed the importance, for a writer, of having a crap job. Boring and routine are particularly helpful traits, so that one's mind can be stifled and imprisoned and bursting to break free at the least provocation. I didn't really believe this view, but then I was fortunate to be trapped in exactly the right kind of job. No, I thought he was being foolish – that a job with demands on the intellect must be... rewarding.

Since the time my sage friend passed on this advice things have changed in my circumstances, and it was tempting to hope that they had changed for the better. First I was told that my services would no longer be required, and this was a blow, because even a crap job is better than no job. Then my employers did an about-turn and realised they couldn't manage without me, so they bribed me with toys – they gave me a Blackberry, a laptop and then a fancy car. So yes, I can be bribed with such trappings. But then they slipped another part of the deal into the equation, something dark and unwelcome: They expected me to do some work. Not only work, but cerebral work, hard stuff, stuff that demands the need to think. And they sent me away to places like Luton and London and Leicester to do it.

So that's my excuse for not having filled these pages for nearly two months. It has become hard to write. Time has been stolen away from me. My brain is being overclocked leaving nothing in reserve for quality prose. I need to reboot. I need to get back to writing.

I need a plan. I need to do this systematically. Here's my plan:

Tomorrow I'm off to Bristol, for Bristolcon on Saturday. Surely here I can find inspiration and ideas and people who have more interesting things to talk about than balance sheets and financial instruments.

And then I will restart work on my CERN story, which, I promise, here in public, I PROMISE, will be completed to at least first draft stage before the end of the month.

So there.

Now – lunch over. Back to balance sheet reconciliations.