Monday, July 24, 2006


I've said that I'm a frustrated writer so I thought I'd say a bit about the attempts I've made in the past (or since I left school in any case... school projects don't count).

1977-82 From age 17 to 22, I wrote over three hundred poems. I was quite proud of them but in the end, I gave most of them to my friend Linda who took them home to St Paul, Mn. I wrote poetry easily and had something of a talent for it. I have always enjoyed playing with words and the discipline of formal poetry (whether sonnets, quatrains or even haiku) concentrated my mind wonderfully.

1982-85 For a while, I continued carrying a book around to jot down ideas for poems (or as I now told myself, lyrics but I also started trying to write short stories, including one, "What Would Lucy Do?" that formed part of the "Cultural Product" required for my degree.

1986-7 I continued trying to sell short stories to the only markets available to me at the time "The Gate", "Interzone" and "Aboriginal SF". I also wrote a couple of scripts on spec for 2000AD but they never even returned the stamped, self-addressed envelopes. Apart from 2000 AD, I collected a few rejection slips but continued until Interzone sent me a rejection slip that said, "Thank you for letting us see "Seventeen", it's a good story and moves along well but is not suitable for Interzone". That was it. No chance for a real "apprenticeship" because I'd written something that was good enough but there wasn't a market available to me for which it was suitable.

1987-8 Around this time, I joined the cabaret troupe, "Bored Experience" and wrote and performed in some sketches, some of which went down well with audiences in London and Newcastle but eventually, I had to get a proper job and so could not cope with Bored Experience as well. It wasn't a ladder to stardom anyway, we managed to get exactly ONE equity contract.

1989 onward
That's when I began trying to write novels (and screenplays). There were several attempts.


This was an attempt at a reprise of "What Would Lucy Do". It's the story of a thalidomide style disaster that left some kids twisted physically and/or mentally, many more dead and the lucky few gifted with psychic powers. The main characters were Alison and her stillborn sister, Lucy, living in a world that was falling apart at the seams as Bidonvilles full of refugees grew along the Thames. I managed about 30 pages.

John the Bomb/Wonderland

(Several of my attempts have more than one title as it changed during construction. John, the central character is a human being brought up by a computer, who has programmed him to destroy an arcology (part themepark and part gated community) called Wonderland as part of the revenge of a scientist kicked out of the cosy world of the gated elite around the turn of the Millennium. I made about 14,000 words or 55 pages.

The Book

A deliberate attempt to write a book for young adults. It's the story of Elvis Ryan, an unpopular child at a comprehensive school, who buys a book from a second hand bookshop, which turns out to be the lost grimoire of a notorious wizard burned for heresy by the Spanish Inquisition in 16th century Mexico. The Wizard, who calls himself Tlaloc after the Aztec god of the rain, tries to live again in Elvis's body. I managed about 23 pages.

The Void/Moth/Sodium Light

Kate Christian is a policewoman trying to solve a series of grisly murders in Tottenham. She's also trying to fight off the unwanted advances of a male colleague. There are real vampires in this story but there is also a serial killer who believes in vampires and goes around staking young women who are NOT vampires. The main real vampire is a KGB sleeper at a loose end after the KGB ceased to exist. I finished this one and sent it to two agents. There is one full copy of the manuscript but it's in Rotterdam.

Babylon Rule

Part 'how to' book for poor people and part screenplay. I think I wrote about 10 minutes of this. It traced the rise of our hero from MC to Prime Minister.

Rapunzel/The Promised Child

A retelling of the Rapunzel Story in space. I'm pretty proud of this actually, it's a screenplay but sadly only about an hour long.

There's more recent stuff as well. I haven't written more than a few pages of these but plenty notes.

The Mongol Gallery - told from the point of view of Kees van Helsing, a descendant of Abraham who meets a man who has sold his voice to a demon in return for bizarre powers relating to painting.


A people trafficker begins a new business.... transporting damned souls BACK across the River Styx.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Yesterday, I remember taking the mick out of Argentina because of their shocking behaviour after being knocked out of the world cup on penalties. (I have to say, I was disappointed too, I'd bet on Germany to win inside Ninety Minutes (I also bet on France to win after extra time).

So, I was wrong. As a gambler, I'm not good but as a manager, I'm pretty sure I'm better than Sven... most of us are... and now we have Steve McClaren. Do we have to? Is there no way the FA can say, "Sorry Steve, we've changed our minds and we're going to give the job to Jose Pekerman? (Or better still, Alcuin Edwards).

The match itself was ... well put it this way, enough to drive a man to drink (And I have a couple of litres of Jack Daniel in the house). Although I do remember saying...

"I hope we win on penalties. I hope we win 5-4 on penalties with Cristian Ronaldo the only one to miss a penalty. I want Robinson to look into his eyes, take his measure and break his spirit there and then for all time, so he loses his confidence and never scores again for anyone."

Sven says they PRACTICED penalties... well, it looked to me as though Hargreaves practiced penalties (maybe Rooney, Owen and Bekham as well) but nobody else did.)

Everyone say that Rooney's sending off was justified but it looked accidental to me. Two men were deliberately trying to knock him over, and he was trying to stay upright and accidentally trod on Carvalhao's balls. I noticed Carvalhao got booked for fouling a player when the ball was at the other end of the pitch... but it was the second time he'd done it. The first time, the referee awarded a free kick (bizarre because that's a sending off or booking offence and one the ref must have seen to award the free kick).

Two years now before Euro 2008 and McLaren will be making all the same old excuses. It isn't good enough. Saddam Hussein was a monster but he had the right idea for dealing with underperforming footballers... Bastinado. I'm half serious. These people, because they can kick a ball a bit, get paid more in a week than I get in ten years, the least they could do is win the World Cup.

Besides this... as far as I'm concerned, I don't want to see any Portuguese players in the Premiership. It's sickening that our teams pay good money training people to beat England.

I sincerely hope McClaren will try something different... what I'd love to see someone do is start training players to hit the bar or the post consistently from anywhere on the pitch and at such an angle that they know where the ball will bounce. I can't see him doing anything though. Same old same old, over and over again.