Saturday, 25 October 2008

Manchester - 24 Degrees

For some unknown reason technological problems have been holing me back over the past few weeks. Firstly, blogger seems unable to direct me to my blog without a real run about, secondly my computer has been well and truly shit licked, i.e. It’s not working, and its one thong after another that seems to do it. Dodgy programmes, dodgy Internet and dodgy equipment is the root of the problem. In any case its impossible for me to get the draft of my play up at this moment tin time and also impossible to put it onto any other computer thanks to the super-duper version of word that was installed by my little brother. I hate it when things think they are cleverer than they actually are.

I went to Manchester on Monday and Tuesday for an all expenses paid type residency. It was quite good and interesting. We had a talk from Russell T Davis about writing for mainstream TV, something I had not previously considered. Russell T seems to think that TV is an art form that is unrecognised by highbrow arty types. Tried to explain this to HM on my return (as he seems to believe the same about computer games) and it was met by a frosty reception.

Had a very heavy session of structure from Paul at the BBC. It was really informative and helped me clarify a few things in the narrative I am trying to piece together. Shame it was right at the end of the residency and therefore we were all very tired. If I could change one thing about the weekend it would have been the seats in the room at the BBC. My bum feels a bit weird now!

On the run up to the residency we had to view/watch/listen/ read a few different pieces. A radio play called Random by Debbie Tucker Green (which I liked least and was reluctant to admit it at first seeing as DTG is my mentor!), White Girl by Abi Morgan (we got to read the script and then watch the show on DVD – thought the script was 100 times better and that the TV version had made it less funny and less dark in many places) and The Seagull by Chekov (actually ok).

Baby is incubating nicely! Had a baby shower last week and a scan yesterday (internal). They sprung it on me, but the look on HM’s face when they produced a long camera-tool thing... I wasn’t at all bothered, I’m gonna have many things inserted and coming out of me over the next few months. HM was disgusted.

Saturday, 11 October 2008


Right, Am writing the play seems to have gained substance from stripping down... its structured and draft 2 is in the making... I may actually do this by baby's first birthday, or at least to a satisfactory point. My major influences are Eastenders and The Royle Family and I have to impress Russel T. Davis by the end of the month.

Has anyone been into the new highcross yet? I went in today (ok, ok, much later than everyone else on the planet!) and its panties! Don't like it one bit and I'm suspicious about how it's probably a government ploy to land people into even more debt with this looming credit crisis (I refuse to say "crunch" - it sounds like a breakfast cereal). Iceland has gone bankrupt and no, not the store like I first thought, but the country!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A Little Story

The Black Butterfly

Freckle awoke to the night sirens of the cars racing around the ring road. Round and round they sped at least once every night. Freckle didn’t know why. The blue light penetrated the chinks and rips in the damask curtains that lopped down towards the floor from the recesses of a ceiling she would never quite see. The faded nicotine yellow of the wallpaper tracked the movement of the blue light across the room, across the deep brown wardrobes, across the chipped white-gloss dresser and across her freckled face. Her dandelion head lifted from the scratchy goose-feather and dust laden pillow. It was time to get up.

Freckle sat up in the bed. Three of the four posters had been broken in some unknown accident and stretched abortively up towards the cobwebs and rose centre that bore a solitary bare bulb. She wiped her face with her hand, looked down at the once-white cotton vest she wore and wiped her face again. Sleep used to be her only solace. Her world was becoming increasingly like the place she dreamed of. Rats moved in the corners of the room, she knew the shadows, heard their movements but never actually saw one in the flesh. These days she never saw daylight for more than an hour before she went to sleep. Her life was a perpetual night, a perpetual avoidance of what the day and what reality could bring.

She placed what were her feet on the cold, wooden floor. Stavros, her landlord had never sanded it down, like he promised on her first inspection of the room. They had become unendingly nipped and bitten by splinters of wood that were unseen to the bleary eyed. They had hardened into hooves and she walked around the room, horse footed, clomping, much to the annoyance of Esmeralda. She felt bad. She could never buy shoes that fit. Her feet were secretly shod once a month by the blacksmith in the carnival. All the rest of the time covered by ankle boots which were useless in the snowy months.

Freckle stood up. She stretched right up towards Venus, one of her goddesses. Venus was deaf to her prayers and pleas for a long time now; often she had tried on the baby blue telephone to contact her. She looked in the book under Aphrodite, but knew there was no chance she could get anything other than the operators dial for that call either. Freckle trotted to the mirror, the mirror was made from glass and sand and framed with driftwood. There was the odd seashell carved onto it, the odd tiny crab. She looked at her worn, tired reflection and figured there was more to life than the carnival and drinking. She just didn’t know what it was yet. Her dandelion hair was beginning to fade and show the real her. Stavros seemed to think it contributed to her beauty and he and his army of high-trouserd, moustached waiters pursued her about the kitchens making cow-eyes and wolf whistles in her direction.

Freckle was beautiful, her face characterised by hundreds of brown-ginger dots, her dandelion hair. She wore her jeans tight, her t-shirts ripped, her jackets leather and her jewellery occult. She wore her make up dark and painted with elaborate brushes, she swept corners of her eyes up, and she dressed her mouth in scarlet. Esmeralda was not beautiful. She had faded, no, Freckle knew. She had never blossomed. Esmeralda was the woman in the other room; the one Freckle shared a bathroom and a kitchen with. Esmeralda was not much older than Freckle, instead of going to the carnival she sat in the kitchen with coffee, cakes and garibaldi biscuits. She would eat for hours, gorging herself on sweet, sugary snacks. It didn’t stop there. She would eat and eat and eat and eat. She consumed vast portions of chicken from Stavros’s restaurant, chips, rice, tins of fish, soups, vegetables, cheeses. For Esmeralda it was routine, ritual. She would come home with snacks, consume them then eat any tins in her cupboard, move onto any food in Freckles cupboard and then downstairs into the kitchen, either begging for scraps or unlocking the pantry doors with her skeleton key. Stavros would find out in a few hours and scream in Italian, accuse the waiters of not locking up properly, accuse the kitchen staff of pilfering, lament with his fingers upwards and outstretched at what the world was coming to, chop mice in two with his carving knife and eventually, shout and Freckle and Esmeralda. Freckle often wondered if he knew all along that the food was pinched by his fat, moustached lodger. If he did he would always act surprised if he caught Esmeralda down there before breakfast with half a can of cold baked beans stuffed in her podgy mouth, tomato sauce trickling down her chin like a trail of orange blood. Esmeralda often wept. She would throw herself onto Freckle’s curly legged sofa, creating a venomous cloud of dust, a buckling of wooden legs, and weep long and hard about her fat ankles, her unrestricted waist, her compulsive eating or her bulimia as she often called it. A name Esmeralda secretly thought was exotic and glamorous to her disease. Freckle was pretty sure that if you had bulimia you had to sick up the food, after scoffing it down.

Freckle put on a t-shirt and jeans. She placed the boots over her cloven hooves and opened the velveteen, plum draped curtains with a flourish. A thousand black butterflies flew out of the moth bitten fabric and settled all over the bedroom. When she returned all but one would be dead and would hide in the damp, dusty cloth again. Freckle inspected the back of the mirror. Taped there was a stainless steal razor blade, just in case. She looked at the words written on the damp, cold side

The black butterfly exists!

Every day it said something different and every day Freckle thought she was misunderstanding something that the world, the universe communicated to her. She would walk out of the apartment, through the busy restaurant and whatever words would swirl around her head as she clumsily clomped towards the carnival. Eventually the words would vanish from her brain. One by one they would die like the butterflies in her apartment, falling back down towards earth, back down into the abyss of nothingness. She suspected they vanished from the back of the mirror at the exact moment. Freckle began to paint her face. She was not a Warrior Maiden who battle-danced for respect. Battle-dancing was an extreme version of what Freckle did. She danced, she took her clothes off, and she was adored for five minutes in the carnival. If she kept her boots on nobody saw the horse shoes and she got away with it again for another night. Warrior Maiden’s battle-danced, they were virgins belonging to the highest Cults. Extreme temptresses and existed in every city, every backwater bar along every road. They defied gravity with their dancing, swung on lampshades, dressed as exotic shellfish, performed in circuses with clowns and only sometimes won the right to be one of The Top Magicians Assistants. They rarely stripped any item off. They didn’t need to.

Freckle was once a battle-dancer. Sensuous and aloof from her clientele. She made less money then, but she was a better dancer. Most strippers these days were former Warrior Maidens from Cults. Soon they tired from the daily duties and rituals performed by them, for their sect leader. Soon they grew exhausted from battle-dancing all night in the carnival, the bars, the circuses. Soon they lost faith in the Cultish Gods with their mighty Viking beards, swords of fire, saris of the purest night. Soon they found a sympathetic male and their virginities were gone in a whisper, a push, a pop. All but the latter had happened to Freckle. She had danced on bamboo trapezes, swung on crystal chandeliers, levitated up vast, vast ropes made of the finest satin. Occasionally she liked to practice her old trade in the apartment, but this was only when the restaurant was closed and Esmeralda had gone out. She would close her eyes and move her body the way it instinctively wanted to when she worked in the carnival. She would float, twirl and create vast, intricate patterns, hoof marks imprinted in the dust of impossible places. Her dance would be fiery, fury filled and ready for battle; her dandelion would glow into a burning bright red. Blue firework sparks replaced her eyes. Last time Freckle battle-danced Esmeralda had returned home, poked just the very top of her chubby head around the door and Freckle fell, down, down and landed on the dusty wooden floor boards with a bump, drained, naked and exhausted. By the time Esmeralda’s fat eyes had followed her fat head, Freckle lay on the floor, breathing heavily, painted brightly and sweating. Esmeralda put it down to some strange and exotic sexual practice on her housemate’s part, swiftly apologised for the first and only time for intruding on Freckle’s privacy and declined to ask or speculate on what had happened.

Esmeralda was in. By the time Freckle’s hair was big enough to look dishevelled, her eyes painted large enough to be cute and her handbag full enough to contain everything needed for any emergency. Esmeralda walked into Freckle’s room. She wore a huge, Indian patterned dressing gown, a dusky-plum fez which exactly matched the curtains and smoked a cigarette in a short, stubby, black holder reminiscent of a tiny magician’s wand. She smiled

“I have a date.” Freckle just ignored her. It annoyed her that Esmeralda often appeared out of nowhere in her room, in a puff of fat, pale pink smoke. For someone so large she could move swiftly and silently. Freckle found her privacy infested by the overweight lodger. Occasionally she would appear by the damask curtains, on the curly legged sofa, to the right of the vast, ornate door, left slightly ajar and the hard, bright light from the hallway streaming in, invading. Freckle was often annoyed about living with Esmeralda, but there was nowhere else for her to go.

“Can I use this?” asked Esmeralda. She was holding an antique perfume bottle that had a mesh poof spray on its side. Freckle shrugged. Esmeralda would come and take it anyway if she said no. There was no use in protesting. Esmeralda had the idea of what was hers was hers, and what belonged to Freckle was hers also. Esmeralda doused the air in far too much of the perfume that erupted from the mesh and danced a fat, waddling, faintly repellent dance in it. Her hips rotated from side to side and the flat of her hands stroked the air. Freckle found the smell of the perfume slightly repugnant, slightly repelling. She did not remember buying something so florally sickly nor ever using it.

“Take it,” said Freckle, not looking around. She concentrated on searching for her jacket on the chase lounge. Freckle remembered it existing. It was dark and cracked brown leather, the type associated with RAF pilots in days gone by. It was double breasted and three quarters in all its lengths. It came to the beginning of her midriff, to just below her elbows. It would have looked exceedingly good with goggles, but Freckle was not a pilot. As it stood, she was a dancer and she needed her jacket to go to work.

“Esme,” she began “have you seen my jacket? The brown one. The pilot one?”

“Yes.” Esmeralda interrupted “I tried it on for my date,” she giggled “I wanted him to think I was a dashing widow. I was going to tell him my first husband had died in the war and left me this fabulous jacket... I was going to tell him that I was still heartbroken, still haunted by the ghost of my poor, late husband and that it would take a lot of care and comfort to resurrect my love for someone new.”

“Esme,” began Freckle again, more tiredness creeping into her voice this time “If you tell him lies like that he may think that you are not worth bothering with.”

“Ah, but you see,” began Esmeralda, her eyes shining like black, polished coal “if he abandons me then he will forever be labelled in the wrong. Forever vindicated in the knowledge that he had let me slip through his fingers.” Freckle laughed loudly and mockingly and the shine in Esmeralda’s eyes faded slightly. Fat Esmeralda slipping through grasping fingers, arms and crashing through floorboards, killing several of Stavros’s moustached, thin-hipped waiters below.

“Why do you laugh?” asked Esmeralda, breaking the teasing spell. Freckle shook her dandelion head and sighed.

“No reason, no reason. Can I have my jacket back please?” Esmeralda seemed ready to go into a full bottomed, thick crossed armed sulk. The type that was accompanied with wailing and tears, but obediently she trundled off out of Freckle’s room across the yellow-lit hallway, one hand clutched so tightly around the antique perfume bottle it could almost break. She called back “It’s not as if it would fit me anyway.” In a flash she returned and threw the dusty, brown leather at Freckle’s cloven feet, “it’s far too small. They don’t make clothes in adult’s sizes these days.”

“Thanks,” Said Freckle throwing the jacket on and forcing the chunky buttons through the old, cracked leather button holes “but you know it’s a vintage, so chances are they didn’t make clothes in “adult sizes” back then either.” In one graceful, dancers move she manoeuvred out her room and round the corner into the electric, yellow hallway. She glided down the stairs and almost, for a moment, she felt like the hooves had gone, her feet had grown back, her ten toes had reformed. Just as good, no. Better than new. But as her soles touched the last step she knew. It was all a dream, all a feeling of something lost. Never to be returned and her dandelion head dropped a notch. She would never be the same again. Like the Black Butterfly all she did was exist.

Bloody Typical

I was going to stick a draft of a scene up here and force you all to read it but you have been saved from this thanks to different editions of word.

Mostly over this month I have become preoccupied with The King and I, yes. that old film with Yul Bremmer in it. Oh, and Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astire Movies... but thats more about buying a box set for three quid.

Baby has so many things now its unreal! Seems a shame that its all here and he is not!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sunday, Sunday here again, a walk in the park...

I think I’ve just has the best Sunday ever and its going to continue. I got up and 7am this morning, went to Croft car boot sale, bought various tat (one of these things being a video of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Junior), came home, had a full English breakfast and then promptly went back to bed until 2.30pm. Currently the boys (HM and his equally retarded brother) are downstairs making mess. One bought a Comadore 64 but is too retarded to figure out how it plugs in, the other bought the Game of Life. Something I had as a child but never figured out how to play.

No writing. I’m off to watch Arnie movies and waste time. That’s what Sunday’s are for.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Wow! it let me sign in!!!

Since returning from France Blogger has denied me access to this blog, replacing it with a series of links that seem to mean nothing. I've had massive problems with Blogger before and should really get to grips with something that is more effective a reliable, but seem to find it overwhelmingly confusing and forgettable.

Anyway, an update:

  • I finished a short story who's main premise was to simply write what my imagination threw up at that time. I began it a few months ago and left it as inspiration slumped, but it's finished now. Personally I think its ok. its a totally different style, tone and feeling to most other things I've written and its a refreshing change for me.
  • I have begun an article about pregnancy and how it corresponds to feminism for a small German magazine.
  • i began with the play - cutting three characters and inventing the character of Kate who works on a train. I've set it on the train. it's a first class carriage that has been declassified so anyone can sit there. its still shit and i don't really feel the "burn" for it yet, but I have to write it, no matter how naff it turns out.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Mama Og

The moral dilemma of selling your soul, roots and story to the BBC.

When pitching 2 different stories to the BBC last month a genuine interest arose from one over the other. This current story I am now writing and consequently selling has its roots in Hokkien Chinese Singapore, Working Class 1960’s Britain, Middle Class 1960’s Britain, modern day and the future. The moral problem is how am I writing and compiling this story? How do I remove it from me enough to not annoy people close to me?

Usually my writing has a firm basis in real life characters that then “lift” when written thoroughly into something new. This however seems to not be happening and I’m left with Lela Lee’s “Mamma Og”

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


I’m back from a thoroughly boring if somewhat relaxing time in France. HM’s family seems unable to actually do anything when on holiday and in some ways I can’t blame ‘em. It just seems like a waste to go to another country and sit around a table reading books for a week. I could do that at home. Just make sure I cover myself in honey so midges and flies bite me.

We stayed in a trailer tent so there was little privacy and even more spiders. I was unamused. However I seem to have a fantastic tan. French toilets are pretty disgusting. A phenomenon I had not encountered before. I’m fine with squatters. You get them in Singapore, it’s just the smell.

Anyway. The play. It’s not happening. I’m far too lazy. You’d think that I’d spend that lethargic time sat about a table in Narbonne constructively and methodically writing my script, developing characters and working with conflict and inner conflict. Have I fuck! I spent most of the time with my nose stuck in Irvine Welsh’s Glue. Well worth a read even if you don’t like his one-trick-pony style. It’s very similar to Trainspotting just more structured and less morbid. It’s possibly the book he would have wanted to write with hindsight.

Currently I've been forcing myself to create some OTT scenarios to write a few bits of dialogue from. I’m far too lazy to actually stick to doing them, however and keep wandering into the kitchen to look at food or lie on the bed slowly drifting off to sleep. Snorlax.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Nothing Vs Something Hapening

I have developed a strange liking for 90’s beat-em-up computer games that appeared on the Playstation when I was about sixteen and far too old to like these things. I think it may have something to do with the little boy growing inside of me and I’m sure that feminists would hate me to admit that blatant gender stereotyping.

My bursary cheque still hasn’t come yet (boo hoo!) but I spoke to a friend of mine and she said that the theatre would not pay out until 30 days after the invoice was received.

I’m off to France in a few days. I’m not too sure if I am looking forward to this or not seeing as the company we will be keeping. However I am hoping to get some writing done there.

I know the thing I could be doing right now is going over all of the questions with each character but there is something about this play that does not get me exited at the moment and I think it’s a lack of plot. Does anyone know some exercises on plot? Its always been my weak point and I’ve always glossed over it but I think I’ve got to the point where I cant cruise by anymore and pretend that plot does not matter.

Seeing as my Theatrical Aesthetic is to create plays that are entertaining (at least at the moment) I really need to gain some insight into how to make stuff happen to keep the entertainment factor alive. However my biggest influence on this particular piece is The Royle Family where (essentially) nothing happens it’s a bit of a paradox.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

some groundwork

Seeing as this play is pretty much in its infancy at the moment these subjects are license to change!

Who - a brief run down of characters

I have seven characters in this play. They represent elements in this primitive form, but these things may change. At least one character is liable to not be physically represented in the world of the play but as it is, I’ll describe all of them. They also do not have names at the moment.

  • Main female protagonist – a pregnant female. First pregnancy. She represents naivety and the future. She is all the hopes and aspirations. She has an explorational personality that results in life lessons. She represents Singaporean-Chinese and English and the inability to assimilate herself in with either culture.
  • Main male protagonist – represents the middle class, leftie Englishness. He is the product of this culture and sees to live his future life with his girlfriend and unborn child as such. However he fails to recognize that she does not see this type of culture as the best for her and child’s future.
  • The Singaporean mother – represents Singapore and Singaporean culture. Sees things in a very offensive / categorized way. Fails to have any empathy with the leftie, m/c English culture. Is the only character that speaks her mind fully? Has no hint of flexibility or hypocrisy. Is seen on one level as the “baddie” due to her un-fluid nature.
  • The Working Class Father – in the British class system (the UK is the place that has such a recognized, acknowledged and blatantly endorsed class system which is outwardly criticized while simultaneously endorsed.) He resides on the same level as the Singaporean mother due to his prejudices and the freedom he uses to speak his mind. On one level he is the secondary baddie, on the other level he is the compassionate character. I’d like to see him be a bit like Jim Royal but with less flatulence and more racism
  • The Leftie Middle Class Mother – is the outwardly untrashy, loving, earthly, motherly, goddess type. She frequently idealizes the sixties and seventies (ironically a time when she did not have children); she is well off, lib dem voting, knitting, relaxed type who likes yoga and vegetarianism. However she is very hypocritical. She manipulates her son, hates the fact that he has a girlfriend, hates her family, spoils her son, hates all types of things that arise outside her Guardian reading world and is threatened by them.
  • The Best Friend – to the female protagonist. She outwardly shows a life of singleness and success, works in the city as a lawyer or some other such profession. Is idealized by the Singaporean mother, dislikes the male protagonist, provides a mirror onto what life could have been like. However is a sympathetic character as it turns she is just a product of her surrounding s and is not really happy.

What’s the theme?

Summing it up: “is it better to be hypocritical about your prejudices or speak your mind?”

why do you think it’s important to write this?

It’s important to me to write this because I want to show a few things.

1. The Chinese are often invisible. There is a huge Chinese population In Britain that has intermingled and interbreed with the English but they are invisible in modern culture and art. I want to capture some of the, at least Chinese-Singaporean ethos and how it does not fit into modern Britain.

2. I want to see where I’m heading. The leftie mother and the Singaporean mother are both things that I could be (to some extent). I want to explore them to see where they lead me.

3. I really want to know if it is better to speak your mind or not.

Where is the world of your play?

Sticking to the conventions of kitchen sink would be better for this one and setting in real life situations to question “who are we now?” I mean, I do have constraints! How better to answer that question than to show somewhere relatable.

When - how is time significant in your work?

Time relating to the pregnancy is significant. There is a time constraint of nine months for the plot to be geared in. I don’t want the plot to be about the pregnancy though. I would actually like it to be about buying a house or something mundane with the pregnancy in the background. There also is an eluded time of “the past” (the idealized sixties, idealized Singapore, the parents past) and “the future” (future aspirations, hopes and fears for baby) with “the present” being a mundane, if somewhat necessary.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


I have started on the new play. Looks like I’ll be permanently chained to the kitchen sink from now on (in the drama scene that is… although HM rarely does the washing up).

My play is shaping up to have another element. It’s something that has cropped up over the weekend. I'd never really been exposed to the far middle class left until I started going out with HM. His entire family are all leftie hippy types that sound great in theory and are pretty good if you meet them. From my personal view it looks as screwy as a mixed race family who have elements of working class Britain and other cultures.

You see, we’ll start with what I’m utterly familiar with. I’m from a working class and foreign background. Singapore has no class system amongst the Chinese. Overall It has an implicit colour based one with is blatant and unchallenged. Its nothing like what you read in essays on Orientalism. It’s nothing implicit, its very, very real, openly talked about and followed by all. It goes Chinese and white at the top, Malay and Indian near the bottom, black at the very bottom. Chinese Singaporeans are also the most racist people you will ever meet. They will blatantly say things that you probably never would hear in England, especially not if you are middle class and leftie. They have an un-knockable belief that everyone else is mentally subnormal to them based on profession and an almost arrogant snobbery towards other Chinese from other places (China, Hong Kong, Vietnam etc).

Working class Britain is my home, really. I don’t mean really rough estates, just a kind of lower middle class / borderline working class type area. The type of people who would read the red topped tabloids and be a skilled tradesman like builders, plumbers and butchers. Its informal, its roast dinner on a Sunday, it votes conservative, it hates the polish, it’s the Royal Family. I think this is to be the physical world of the play.

On the other side we have the leftie middle class. This is the strangest, most alien part for me to write. It’s overtly relaxed and happy but has an overindulgence and spoiltness about it. Its hypocritical in nature, it’s biased towards males although it professes that it is not. To be honest in a lot of ways it is balanced towards the Singaporean, but has none of the obvious. One question that rises up is “is it better to be hypocritical about your prejudices or speak your mind?” at the moment I feel weighted that in theory its better to speak your mind… although in practice it rarely happens.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

24 Degrees

I went to London yesterday for the 24 degrees project based at The Royal Court.

I was probably the least experienced person there. It felt like everyone else considered themselves very professional. In short, I seemed a bit like a stuffed whale that had gone along for the ride. Thinking about work I have done… productions: 0, plays: 4, workshops: 3 (and one doesn’t count as it was at uni), experience: 0.

Firstly they went about the room and asked everyone to pinpoint one play/TV/film they had watched and why. I think I was the only person who said I liked to be entertained. I chose My Name is Earl for no reason other than its dead good. There was one other fella who liked Robin Williams’s films. I thought he was cool.

Secondly we were made to watch Funland, a BBC drama that actually looked watchable. It was written by someone who wrote The League of Gentlemen and Eastenders. Apart from being a shameless plug. It was a no accounts barred view of what they wanted.

We were then allocated into groups and instructed to talk about “our” city. My city being Nottingham, where I have never lived, nor where I know. I’ve lived in Leicester all my life. I had nothing to contribute.

Most people there had not even heard of Leicester.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Can’t stop eating

I've just had:

  • One ham and salad sarnie with thick tin loaf bread, walkers ham, tomatoes, cucumber and leafy frizzie lettuce
  • One cheese and salad sarnie, substituting the walkers ham with ASDA mature cheddar
  • One small slice of bread and butter
  • One pot of yoghurt
  • Three chocolate biscuits
  • Cup of tea

And this isn’t all day, oh no, this is in the last half hour on some strange eating binge.

In related news I found a pair of jeans that adjust to fit so I can stop wearing the terrible ones now.

In other news I have done no work on the play. Zilch, nothing, nana. I am faintly terrified that they will take one look at the pregnancy and tell me to go home on Wednesday as smug writers look on.

I also cannot think about the play as I have my first scan tomorrow and I find out dates, sex and baby or babies? Thrilling stuff.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Funky Beans

I want to move to a village called Hatherton in Leicestershire. Not only does it have an annual pie and bottle kicking excursion, but it holds a scarecrow festival in September of each year. However, its probably far too isolated, not nearly quirky enough for me and not quite as fun as Robbie Coltrane makes it sound on a Sunday afternoon.

In other news I seriously doubt the play. All my plays and things start off with an incoherent stream of symbolism, patterns, visuals and passages, the odd character and (if I am very lucky) a setting or complete first scene. This one is more random, less coherent, and more chaotic and with no direction or indication as to where it will go… and pen has not even reached paper yet!

I think the problem is that I do not feel the need or urgency of writing it, simply because no time has passed between this and Alcatraz. However there is a very real and physical urgency to write the play, even though a metaphorical or artistic one has not surfaced. Perhaps it has but I just have not seen what or where it lies yet?

Nevertheless it’s filling me with a very serious despondency about the play. I suppose that’s good for the mood of the whole piece. I looked at an advert in yesterday’s Guardian for three plays at The Royal Court today. They were entitled The Ugly One, Free Outgoing and Gone too Far. They all looked either kitchen sink inspired Indian family dramas, domestic violence comedies and BBC-Urban Yoof plays. Not exactly inspiring when you think about variety and spice in theatre. It’s similar to as if Ayub Khan Din was considered new and interesting and in-yer-face theatre was original in this day and age.

On the reading note I heard a very funny retelling of the nativity story last night which cheered me up a tad and Robin Johnson’s Broken Holmes script can keep me company on the way to London.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Rolling Pin

It’s kind of like you have a rolling pin and some dodgy pastry and you try your hardest to roll it out nice and flat before the Rudolph cookie cutter comes out from the draw.

I’m turning into a mummy.

I’m trying to sketch out an idea for the 24 Degrees. There are a few bits:

  • Character – a mother to be and a mother that is. Perhaps I should not write about pregnancy but seeing as I’ll be composing this play during my last bouts of freedom and my first pregnancy, it dominates my mindscape.
  • Phrases – “I’m pregnant, my life’s a mess, I’m gonna have to move back in with my mum” this notion but the mum spoken about is someone who isn’t mumsey.
  • The most convincing arguments in the mouths of the most loathsome characters – I must do this to not make it so 2d, although reality bears different. And I must do the opposite with my “nice” characters.
  • The father character – should I include a father of the unborn and a father of the mum2be? Perhaps they can be more similar.
  • Singapore – I really want to include the Singaporean notion of snobbishness and how this isn’t apparent. It’s something that you can only experience if you know Singaporeans. I need to capture their racism, sense of hierarchy and conservatism. I need to capture the attitude of how a place can exist where all the TV channels are government sanctioned and where it’s illegal to own a satellite dish, a place where homosexuality is still punishable by the death penalty, where Jehovah’s Witness-ism is illegal and their refusal to do national service also warrants the death penalty. In turn I need to balance this with home, the UK and how we whinge and moan but how really… we have it fucking lucky. I need to show how the UK and the sentiment of the people that live here is what saves us from crazy-rule like what Singapore has, and I need to question how the standard of living, in those strict confines, is far better then the standard of living here.
  • Kakalack – a scene where a cockroach crawls into the mouth of a sleeping man, and then out again. He awakens and crushes it. He awakes in the morning and sees it crushed. It is not a dream.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Blind Rage

I’m getting quite scared about this London thing. HM says “you’ll be fine”, but I’m apprehensive, I’m bound to be.

What if they hate me? I know it’s said in the whiniest voice, but I’ve had women look me from head to toe and simply say “you’re not for the BBC.”

I suppose the best thing to do is think of these few things and grasp onto them like your falling down Old John and you seriously hope bracken will break your fall!

“The Royal Court is the perfect theatre for you and I think they’ll love your work. Well, they clearly do, which is why they’ve picked you! Don’t feel any expectations or pressure, just be yourself and do what you do. The whole point of a programmed like this is to help writers grow and develop,”

Amanda Whittington

I think it’s a good thing to sometimes find yourself daunted by your work, otherwise it becomes too easy, you grow lazy, and you’re probably not doing your best.”

J.W. Bennett

Yeah, never thought I’d be quoting bits of James’s Blog! It’s got that bad!

Weirdly enough I haven’t bothered on the questions yet. I’ve had three days with the most aggressive, bitter, emotionally retarded woman I know. Amah smith came to visit. Oh she does my nut in. it’s strange how the emphasis is often on boys and fathers, my dad and my brother get on fine, me and my dad get on fine, however nobody gets on with my mother, not even her brothers and sisters… I suppose it’s because she ahs the double curse of being born in the year of the dragon and a two faced Gemini.

Oooohh! I’m going to boil in my rage!!!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Mildly Endearing

I've just been told that the noises I make when eating is currently "mildly endearing" but will drop down to "downright irritating" after 20 years.

This worries me. What if after a few years his volume becomes irritating? HM is possibly the most annoying person on the planet and goes out of his way to be. He is a very strange young man. His CD collection has a copy of "the Smurfs go Pop" and he thinks the Crazy Frog is a good idea. Babyworp is fairly coherient when daddy comes home and has his autistic tourretes

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


I’ve slept for nearly 12 hours deciding to go to bed and 11 and then subsequently waking at 11. HM tried to wake me this morning, I remember it but he didn’t succeed. I think I may have sneezed on him.

The Royal Court thing is really getting to me now. To be honest I thought it was just a theatre that produced new plays with a fancy name in London. To be honest, I’ve only just got in on this thing thanks to Emma Rosoman being a mate and bigging me up. I have the sliding suspicion that I may blow it.

I have been roped into helping Ladyfest Leicester do a disco night somewhere. Sounds fun if we manage to pull it off. Something for me to do except regretting that I grew no courgettes from seed this year.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


I’ve been picked up from the slush pile and inserted into the anal recesses of The Royal Court and The BBC in one big gesture that cements “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

In short I’m on the 24 Degrees Programme thanks to an unfair advantage that results in me skipping the selection process that everyone (or I at least hope everyone) else needed to do. I get £500 which, to be fair, I need more than most at the moment.

Anyhoo, this is my brainstormed brief that I need to get some loose answers to by the 23rd of July:

  • What might 24 Degree’s mean to you?
  • What do you most want to write about?
  • What do you enjoy watching?
  • What’s missing from the (stage or broadcast) work you see?
  • What do you want to get off your chest?
  • Can you show us your world (real or imagined) in 3D?

Answers on a postcard please. Q5’s answer is not “hair”.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

It's not much fun

My left arm feels faintly funny. four test tubes of blood were taken from it today and it feels dead and heavy, I’m sure its not considered good practice to remove this much blood from a pregnant woman.

A friend of mine informed me today that:

“[she is] queen of Maggots now, 3 pigeons died in our extractor fan so our kitchen became showered in maggots! Thus we are moving…”

Talking about unhygienic, we seem to have more than our fair share of flies in the house, the wheelie bin has become stinky in the July heat and the drains occasionally smell. I think the most unhygienic-hygienic thing that we have going is the compost bin.

HM is getting all weird about Down syndrome and testing. I suppose he has a point. They do one test that shows if you are at high risk for having anything like that and then back it up with another test (if you are high risk – high risk meaning 1:250) that has a 1:100 chance of inducing a miscarriage. To be fair the mere thought of a nine inch needle stuck into my pregnant stomach is enough to make me have a miscarriage. HM says he doesn’t like me talking about it, or about the ritual blood-letting I was subjected to this morning. If he’s going to be like this then what’s he going to be like at the birth?

Sunday, 29 June 2008

I'm home

Well now I'm back. We had a fairly good time coping with the heat and the relatives and the lizards. HM didn’t want to come home.

I’m getting bigger now. It’s fairly obvious that I’m very much so pregnant. Went out last night to see some friends, it was pretty fun. We ate so much pizza I felt like a turtle.

The play is doing my head in. I've received some feedback from a real writer friend of mine and I feel deep down that she’s not really understood what I was trying to do. The aim of Alcatraz was for me to try a departure from the stream-of-consciousness stuff and have a go at comedy. She seems to think I should make characters more serious (Simon and Birkenbeck), remove the other-worldly feel of Franko talking to the audience and work on Rateye and Franko’s separateness from Eden, Bober, Mel and Ken. Strangely, the characters I was less happy with and thought needed more work were the ones that escaped.

Frankly, Simon and Birkenbeck are not really to be taken seriously. Their actions go against what would commonly be acceptable for their sect in some misguided way to save souls. They (Birkenbeck anyway) are unlikely to remain a Jehovah’s Witness for the long term as their behaviour falls more in line as to what a Evangelical Pentecostal Christian would do. Birkenbeck is the character who needs to evolve in a way to fully reach his potential and part of that would possibly to leave his childhood religion behind. It’s just something he has not recognised at this point. This is a very sad but realistic fact that all people have to face. There are commonly some things that need to be let go of for a progression to be made into adulthood. Like Starchild Birkenbeck will loose something of himself along the way and it will hurt him, but it is a necessary wound.

Franko and Rateye are very separate from the kids simply because of their age and status. Rateye is forty while most of the younger characters are seventeen. He presents the most mature and most immature of the characters, I mean really, he’s a forty year old man hanging about in a club which attracts teenagers. He is the king of this world while simultaneously being a right sad old fart. Franko is the middle character as he converses with the teenagers, spikes them and with the older clientele as well. However he is no Goth or biker or punk, just a Frenchman so is separate while being the bridge. Possibly Franko is the loneliest person in the piece and he confides in the audience as he needs to. I think if he had a confidant in the world it would disrupt the symbolism and contrast to Franko’s innate distrust and growing paranoia.

Perhaps I should do another draft with the view to make it more realistic and just see how it feels? But the problem is I like it being weird!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Baby Blues

Not that I’ve actually really got them, it’s just that what comes with being pregnant is beginning to drive me mad:

  1. Weird Cravings – I’m not kidding, I just went to the shop and bought cherry pie with extra cherries. I only want cherry flavoured things and actual cherries. I usually don’t give 2 hoots about this!
  2. Feeling Sick – it just sucks, I wouldn’t mind if I was actually sick.
  3. Smells – things STINK! I’m not kidding. If someone walks by you with a bit of BO it smells like an entire sweaty football team has paraded by rubbing their socks under you nose
  4. Poo – nobody tells you about this and it’s a shock when you experience it.
  5. Tiredness – I can sleep for England and then some at the moment
  6. Over Emotional – nearly cried at Britain’s got Talent yesterday. Not a good sign.

In other non-baby related news, I have managed to get Alcatraz finished to a certain point and posted to both Paines Plough and the comp in Manchester. See, the problem with writing isn’t just doing it, what the hell do I do with a finished script? Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I cry and don’t send it anywhere for fear of being laughed at by some type of literati. I’ve emailed it to a few for eye-glancing feedback. If anyone else would like a copy then just tell me, I’d rather not force it down people’s throats on a mass YOU MUST READ THIS!!! Email, it’s just off-putting.

So where is the script going to go? Who am I going to show it to? Well, the support from TWP’s been pretty good and they’ll be my agents, but I’m sure I’ll have to do some groundwork myself. I keep getting told to not just send the script out willy-nilly, but to make sure I know the work the theatre does, well, apart from the Nottingham Playhouse (and most of what they put on wouldn’t drag me out of bed, let alone all the way to Nottingham) I don’t really know what playhouse likes what. I never really bothered with that bit.

Anyway, I’m off-ski to the Far East with my little moleman for a few weeks so I suppose I’ll worry about it when I come back.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Ribena - I Know What You're Drinkin'

That is what he says, right? Ok, ok… time for me to be the “embarrassing mum” about pop music.

Speaking of which, I realised that I made a promise to myself when I was about four that I never kept. I always wanted a layer of white cotton petticoats, less 1950’s teenybopper, more Cyndi Lauper… well… I did think Boy George was a very well dressed young woman and didn’t go off “her” when I found out “she” was a he. I went off Boy George when I found out he slept with no underwear on.

Anyway – I’m getting somewhere with the play and we’re on the internet now so that’s a something.

The play really forms itself with everything a re-write and research. Its weird. Its actually present to write!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Gaa Goo!

Well the world has “flipped turned upside down” for me and I’m not even Will Smith in some very bad 90’s neon clothes. .. I’ve told a few people so the roomers will begin soon enough. I’m having a baby; HM and I are having our first child together. It’s ok actually; it does a weird thing to your brain. Firstly, nothing really matters anymore, like that feeling that you have when you don’t want to send things out for fear of rejection letters, or worst still... nothing! Actually disappears. You just do it anyway and you don’t care, it’s like providing for you and someone else nowadays.
HM has a fairly good job. He’s paid especially well and works a minimum of hours. It looks like I won’t be returning to work for a few years, nor will I have the time to really write, so I’m seriously considering the teaching as background. I applied for a part time lecturer position at Leicester college but I recon that there isn’t a chance in hell of me getting that (seeing as I’ll start work then take time off immediately for maternity leave!) does not bode well!
Bruntwood appears again so that £15000 cash prize looks very tempting to our little family. We’ll be desperate for money!!! (Actually we aren’t that bad off)

HM says I’m getting Wii fit for Xmas L

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Well there is a new change in the blog. It will encorporate quite a few other things!

You'll know by the end of tonight

Monday, 14 April 2008


Well Saturday has been and gone (in fact a few Saturdays – at least 2!) and the reading went surprisingly better than I had anticipated. I didn’t quite realise it but I’ve actually written something FUNNY.

I don’t really do humour as a whole as I don’t understand jokes thinking they are a device invented by wittier, more quick thinking people to trip up the likes of me with over-obvious conclusions. Either that or I just plain don’t get it.

Humour in this thingumy, however is more consequential. It’s more about how pathetic and uncharismatic people and situations are – counter-balanced of course by unashamed parodies and caricatures of imagined people. In short, the things I often find funny others often don’t thinking that its too black humour / too serious and generally missing the point.

Funniness aside – draft 3 is now forming in the brain (insane in the brain)

Things to sort

Characterisation – of all characters. Here is a little snippit of a few questions all the characters need to be asked

What is their status?

What is their function in the plot?

How do they really feel about each other character?

How do they feel about their surroundings?

What is their back-story?

What is their future story?

How do they engage with the theme of escape?

Plot – ties and all o that shit
Birkenbeck’s Speech – this still needs to be written and I’m too scared to actually venture into a church and ask the religious people what they believe!!!!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A Little Fear Goes a Long Way...

A little fear is something I have right about now. Saturday is approaching ever closer for the first read through of Alcatraz and it’s, quite frankly, rubbish.
However, at second draft stage I know its rubbish. I know what needs doing to it; all I want is for it to be heard off the page by me and perhaps to a few others who can then be informed on what I’m working on... if ya see what I mean...
I know that it has no characterisation at the moment and this effects the plot. I kind of just want to punish myself a bit. I feel that i need to hear it. It might give me a few ideas.

and what if some of my readers dont turn up!!!!

Monday, 31 March 2008


Hello peeps!

Well I seem to be in an extraordinarily good mood today. Spent the last two weeks having pork and tuna steaks cooked for me by HM and avoiding writing, still managed to finish off the draft of Alcatraz (somehow) and now I shall take advice from the books and LEAVE IT! Let it settle in my brain and return when I’m not going “oh! it’s brilliant”, deep down somewhere…

Which has left me renewing vigour for Trapped in Amber there are main things that I left hanging. My characters are on an amazing farm that Mary and Peter want to live in. Alfie and Sarah should be seething with jealousy but can only see the harsh practicalities of running something as big as what they intend, with no love for the outside and no experience. Sarah and Alfie’s smugness is vaguely annoying but that’s the build-up thing that will come crashing down.

Just a moment to recap on main themes, just in case any bigwigs ask me “so, what’s it about?”

Trapped in Amber – recycling. What can be recycled? Can friendships be recycled?
Alcatraz – escape of course! Thicko.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

A Seris of swear words

A series of swear words want to emanate from my mouth as I sit and type heavy handed at the worlds slowest computer. Last night as I stay in bed, staring at the ceiling due to insomnia-ahrc related stress (a full explanation is in the post) I thought about people and how people are often “in league.”

No, I’m not paranoid (and any Transmetropolitan reader will know that a paranoid person is just someone that has all the facts) and wondering if people are here for me in little white coats all “in league” with each other. I mean damn relationships again and the physicality’s of what I see around me.

HM and I are well suited. We sit here and people wonder why we are together but it’s quite simple. I have a damning body as does he, too fat and too short relates in the perfect couple. A listless merging of souls came later. I could never go out with a tall man again.

Nothing doing on the writing front. It depresses me too much. The Adour and fervour of a first draft fills me with Nabrokovian passion. The pain, blood and boredom of the second draft instils me with the limp sweat of guilt and disappointment.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

oh Dear...

I feel quite funny about a few things. E and C have split up and its not really that surprising. I think HM and I are more upset about it than they are...

Anyway, 'nuff personal shit. How's the writing coming on?

Last Thurs I bored HM to death by rabbiting on about the play for like 3 hours. He seemed quite enthused and that in turn made my enthusiasm swell for it but the actual boring task of re-writing is wearing me out. I do all kinds of things before actually sitting at the desk and tap, tap, tapping away at the keyboard. Draft 3 has to all be about the characters and where they are. Mel and Eden are my biggest headaches. they have changed so very much. It's becoming more and more clear now, however.

I need lots of people to help me do a reading of act 2. Here is my mental list:

FRANKO - Morph
EDEN - Lucy Wade
MEL - Sarah (?)
BOBER - Eddy
RATEYE - Mekon
TITI - Helena

I need a Simon... Actually... if i recruit Jacko to read Ken... HM can do Simon. That would possibly work better 4 me...

April 5th is the shaddowy date...

I'll get som hummus in...

Monday, 25 February 2008


I'm on standby, using up precious energy to light a little dot of red LED that has no real use in the world.

I have to keep to this state of standby because I have nothing to write now. I have got to the point of first-draft uselessness and actually compleated the draft of the play and I now have nothing to do but digest.

Every time I look at the draft I think its brilliant. I can see there are a few creases, a few quirks but they will iron out in a little while.

My observation of it's brilliance will fade with time. I do not understand how anybody could not enjoy it, how anybody could not see its potential. Perhaps it is significant that in, maxumum, 4 weeks, I will want to burn it, Chuck it away, dump it in the compost and actually turn myself on for use to try and improve, start again, rebuild from the destruction I have created.

I will be unsatisfied.

I don't really like standby. I prefer to be writing

Sunday, 17 February 2008


I’m feeling like a fat, ugly failure. I’ve gone straight back to the dull side of drinking-too-much. Mostly because I have a trapped nerve in my back that came on suddenly last week and I’ve been drinking to block the pain out for the past three days.

However, drinking for three days does nothing for the constitution. Today I am utterly flatulent, equipped with a tickly dry cough, unable to sleep for more than forty-five minutes throughout the night and utterly not with it. The lazy eye has undertaken a weird twitch. I’m falling apart.

Last night I was sick in the bin. HM didn’t like that much, I also wee’d in my baseball boots. I didn’t like that much. I missed my driving lesson today. My life is falling apart. HM seems to enjoy it. Every night and this morning have been filled with another one of his sexual advances. This is particularly weird, as I usually chase him around the bedroom demanding sex, demanding orgasms. At the moment I could take it or leave it. The pain in my back leaves my desire undemanding.

The worst thing about all of this is the lack of productivity and optimism I am now feeling about the characters I have created, the overall feeling and the world that I have been slaving away on within Trapped in Amber (Daddy was like the Autumn has now been officially dropped as the title – it has little / no resounding influence to anything in the damned book. Trapped in Amber however is used in a Bell Jar type of way – I suppose). As I am being depressively manic or bipolar I can’t connect with the housewife I have created and who my story emanates from. Ten chapters in 2 weeks has left me in a resounding slump. I’ve run out of steam and it feels worse because I was doing so well. It’s like what’s happening to the tortoises and the British weather. They start waking up because of the sunshine. What you really should do is put them in the fridge to make them go back sleep or else they will die when the weather drops again. Another bad thing is sitting and typing is almost impossible. I can’t really do it without lots of pain.

I have done one other thing. To cheer myself up, I escaped and retreated into fantasy worlds. At least I observed two very absorbing ones and then created something myself from the collage.

I quite like Meatloaf. Fattyman sitting about in his castle with its moving furniture, drippy candles and Buffy-vampire face. I like the texture of his world. I like the dusty drapes, the bearskin rugs, the fire, the broodiness, the huge circular glasses of what-could-be-blood.

I like The Sandman. Mekon leant me Brief Lives the other day and it’s taken me quite a while to finish it. I like the dream world, the soppy charisma of Dream, Death’s assuredness, Destructions dog and Delirium’s ability to make little multicoloured frogs.

I decided as a treat I would write something and not worry.

So I’ve begun a short, short story. Something that is particularly weird. Its about a temple dancer called Freckle, an oversized roommate called Esmeralda and the Italian restaurant downstairs. It actually reads much better than it sounds. I’ll finish it this afternoon if I can sit on the sofa with the laptop on my knee; slowly going sterile… somewhere on the internet might publish it. That’s my problem, I keep forgetting that I can publish little bits on the internet and don’t send any out. I also have the gremlin in the back of my brain (no, not HM!) that says my work is shit and I should not bother inflicting it on the world.

The website is being created. It’s a right pain to create and upkeep I. There is also another set of professional pictures being done thanks to Sarah Francis. I want some indorsey type ones, possibly done at her house as it is the prettiest interior I have ever seen and it fits into my whole style I suppose…

…and she owes me a favour.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Where or what am i upto?

I did an excercise today which was simply writing each of the main characters names down and listing what was thir function in the overall novel. It thew up some intresting points about rewriting. I suggest you do i if you ever get stuck!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Here is an Xtract

from the novel. its rough and ready still...


Alfie and I were sat in the living room. As usual I was bundled into a few vests, t-shirts, woollen fingerless gloves, jeans, leggings and two cardigans buttoned up. We couldn’t afford to get any central heating installed. The fire blazed wildly but seemed to generate little heat. Alfie was a small, child-like man with almost elfin features. He was all Pointy nosed and sharp cheekbones, deep dark eyebrows that almost cut into his pale-skinned face. If you looked closely there were lines that ran over his face, like some cracked ceramic pot. He had wildly curled deep brown hair that had begun to spring over his ears and down his neck. He was beginning to look a bit like a seventeenth century dandy. Barbers and hairdressers were a luxury and we couldn’t afford luxuries. He made that plain to me when I agreed to marry him. He had grown a beard so we didn’t have to spend precious pennies on shaving foam and razors.
“Go on,” he said. “Take a holiday. Try to recapture some of that spirit.” The tone seemed in my brain to say “Go on, take a holiday. Try to capture rainbows.” An impossible task, something that I could never do.
We’d moved because he got reallocated with his job and he loved his job. we were married only last year because it was a whirlwind romance and I loved whirlwind romances. For the most part I was happy. It didn’t matter that I’d traded in work and home for this cottage with its spiders, missing tiles, mildew and brown broken terrazzo. It was cheap, and I supposed with the Arts Council money and the Playhouse acting as an agent for the scripts, I could work anywhere. All I needed was (bare minimum), typewriter, stationers and a post office. Seeing as I had laptop, internet and all the stationary that Alf could carry from his office I was set. It didn’t matter that the laptop gathered dust as I busied myself making compost, growing vegetables and learning how to bake, it didn’t matter that I wrote better at night and Alfie needed his sleep for work and he could never sleep without me next to him. It didn’t matter that I’d run out of things to write about. I occupied myself and tried not to think the crushing-failure thought that I’d lost the magic even before I’d begun.
“You said yourself,” continued Alfie “that you wrote about real things that happened to you, the characters were not full leaps out of your imagination. You told me once that every person you wrote about you’d met.”
“Hmm. Kind of.” I said staring out of the windows, glaring at the daffodils that were trying to bloom in the cold.
“Come on,” said Alfie coming over to the armchair I was huddled in. All the furniture that we’d gathered was from auctions, reclamation yards, his charity furniture project. Nothing was new and that was the way we both liked it. He cuddled me in the patchwork blanket that I had made the first week we were here. Alfie liked my thriftiness, my organisation, my reusability. Things that only became apparent when we moved. I didn’t even know I could do them, frugal things like recycle and cook and sew. After only a month and I’d become a fully fledged 1950’s housewife. Alfie seemed ambivalent towards the change in me, he pretended not to notice. Only once in a blue moon he would comment that his mother made compost heaps, that she recycled religiously and that she would cut foam pads in half to cut down on the impact to the environment and the cost.

“Are you sure your ok with all this?” he asked. I nodded.
“It’s not as if it was a surprise.” I said with resounding finality.

To tell the truth I was worried about the money running out and having to return to work. I really, badly wanted to write but the little tricks to keep the cash lasting seemed to be taking up the time I should be spending creating this play, or at least soul-crushingly staring at the blinking icon on a empty white screen. Perhaps Alfie was right. He snuggled his curly head under my nose and I cuddled him. I picked him up and placed him on my lap. My little husband was slight. Shorter than me and weighing about nine stone, his curly hair made him look head-heavy, slightly pale, wrinkly and worm-like. I liked this about him. The fact he was small and cute and young looking. He was in his mid twenties but got ID’d at The Riverside by every member of staff there until they got used to us.
“Of course I’m going” I said into his curls and he hugged me in for a tight squeeze and then let go. “I’ll drive down.” I said “for the week, but you have to come on the Friday when you finish work.” There was no way I was going home alone. It’d been too long. If I was going back then he would have to come with me. He groaned and jumped off me sprightly to stand legs wide apart, in front of the open fire. His black jeans were tattered and bulged around his thighs giving him the illusion of wearing jodhpurs.
“Why do I have to go?” he whined “they’re your friends.”
“Because Pete will be there with Mary and Wilf will be with Emma. It’s just the way it has to be. Remember when I came to your granddad’s funeral with you?” he nodded. He knew there was no way out of it. I knew he was just trying, playing on my temperament to see if I would let him escape. His little, slipper-clad feet peaked out of the bottom of his jeans, his arms folded sulkily across his garishly woollen chest. He sulked and looked a little like a cuddly toy. I smiled. At least he wasn’t angry; at least he wasn’t obstinately refusing. He was just being morose for the sake of it.
Alf went to bed early. He’d been doing this more and more since we’d moved out into the sticks. I presumed it was a combination of country air and more things to do at work that made the guy, who once was a total insomniac, sleep for England. I manically wondered about the house folding blankets that I had made from scraps of cloth and old pillow stuffing, poking the open fire down to its last embers, washing cups that had once contained organic coffee and herbal teas, inspecting the fridge, counting eggs, checking the humane mouse traps for mice that I knew full well didn’t exist, but Alfie thought otherwise. Anything really rather than write or plan what I was supposed to be doing the forthcoming week, when the phone rang.
I’d never lived in a house that had a phone before. The eerie ring sounded alien for a few moments before I went over to the pink ring-dial phone that Alfie had picked up as a donated item from his work for two pounds fifty.
“h-hello” I said. Easily spooked by the ghosts of my imagination.
“Sarah, it’s me.” said Mary’s quick voice. It was half ten. No time at all in the city but practically midnight out here in the sticks.
“Oh, hey Mary. You made me jump. Sorry. How’s tricks?” I asked trying to sound offhand and positive and not like someone who regularly goes to bed at eleven and is vaguely put out by an old friend ringing up at the ungodly hour of half ten.
“Made you jump? Ha! You and Alfie and all those ghosts in that place should be all fine together.” Mary had been to the cottage when we first bought it, when we had nothing in it and not once after. Her excuses were that she thought it was haunted and didn’t drive. She lived with Pete, the newest in a long, long line of men, with another couple to cut down on rent in one of the many dilapidated houses down The Narb, ran by the Shonki Brothers estate agents, who I too had always previously rented off. The houses were the cheapest in town and true to the name, were Shonki as hell. The last time I had been into Leicester and over to Mary’s I had pulled the banister clean off the wall trying to combat the ultra-steep stairs to get to her bedroom.
“What do you want?” I asked. I had the leisureliness to be blunt to the point of unfriendliness with someone who I had known since year four at school. Something I immediately missed as soon as I said it. I dint meet anyone in my daily routine here who would understand the abruptness of our conversation.
“Well, cheddar pants,” she continued, undisrupted “I’ve just found out that Emma hasn’t done any of the funeral arrangements, so you might have to come back earlier to help her.” reading between the lines, I knew what this meant. I wasn’t going to be called in to “help” but to take over the arrangements of the funeral as Emma rarely did anything herself these days.
“Why isn’t Dianne’s family taking care of it?” I asked. I had met her mother twice, very briefly for short periods of time over the years I had known Dianne. Both times she seemed distracted and eager to get away, like she thought I was going to put poison in her coffee, steal her car or replace her prescription vallium with tic-tac’s.
“They know. They’re not coming back for it. Her mum and step-dad live out in France now… they said they’d put up most of the cash, we just need to do the arrangements.”
“That’s awful.” I said, but I knew exactly why. I paused in thought “Why can’t you do it?” I tried. I realised I sounded whiney, and there was no way that Mary would do the funeral, but, like Alfie, I couldn’t help ask.
“I am doing it,” said Mary, indignant “I just need some help. Now you’ve moved to the sticks you think it’s so much better to be out there, pretending to be lady of the manor. Not even thinking about us. Get your priorities right.” She said. There was a real harsh tone. it wasn’t one of Mary’s brief interludes of random snappiness. It sounded like she’d had these thoughts running about in her head for a while.
“All right” I said, resigned. “When should I come back?”
“Well… I’d say soon as. Tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow? I have a play to write y’know.”
“And we both know you’ve not written a word.” She said and put the phone down.
Stunned I picked up the cushion I had started to embroider a few nights ago. It was almost finished. It was an emerald green peacock pattern that Alfie found in the “donated items” section of his work. There was a little bit of red thread, which was supposed to be the ground, but to me it looked like a bloody egg. I held it up to the candle light. Alfie didn’t like us to waste money on the electric lights unless they were utterly necessary, and seeing as he pilfered candles from the stock draw it just made sense. I thought about what Mary had said. Often she implied that Emma needed someone to look after her. We both thought that this someone would be Wilf, but evidently, after a few months, we were wrong. All Wilf did was play on computer games and moan that his illnesses would kill him in a few years. Emma seemed to like him so who were we to argue?
I picked up the receiver and dialled Emma’s number. I felt a bit guilty as I hadn’t even spoken to her since I found out about Dianne’s death yesterday. The phone rang and rang and didn’t answer. Eventually I gave up and put the receiver down. Emma often didn’t bother replying to messages, answering her phone or calling people back. I sewed some more red around the peacock and it looked like a phoenix. I hunted about in my bag and found my mobile phone. I hadn’t bothered using it much since we’d moved here. I sent a text to Emma

Cumin up 2moz to help wiv stuff. Wil cal u wen gt there.

And I went to bed thinking of how weird it felt to type words.

Recycle - for a greener consience

Well the main motif with the recycling and everything is simply that my main narrator fancies herself as an eco warrior and she recycles everything almost... including her friends. can this be done?

Sunday, 3 February 2008

shaping up

ive got a weird fasscination in the novel with the kumari devi, a transexual and a ladydiva who is a heroin addict.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

It only takes one Kuftie to play Kuftie

was something weird someone said to moldypants ont time...

and it has no relivance to this blog post. I find it very difficult to entitle things.

The novel is being compleated still. if anyone wants any of it then please tell me and i can email about.

I'm on chapter 11. seingly grinding to a bit of a halt... well, relaxing it off and letting the editor in me (does exist somewhere!) go over the first 10 chapters. My ending is arthur comes back... asks sarah to go with him and leave alfie and she chooses not to.

I need to work on my "play within a novel"idea. its going off on a tangient a wee bit!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

still writing

got up early, went to internet cafe, still writing a lot... its going WELL. Kimmy is particularly charismatic! one to watch out for.

Monday, 21 January 2008


Wrote chapter eight today and begain on chapter nine. Alfie must be up to something...something like hording money in a miserly fashion.Also began filling the MA apps in. I'm missing one from Loughborough U.

Kimmy and Jeremy are now situated in teh thing. i think its to be a longer novel than i had previously anticipated. Its a joy to write. I'm getting all "Lady Oracle - Grift From god" about it. Read out a few bits to Mardyworp. He seems to think I'm gonna get sued by my friends but thats the POINT!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Oh, Betty!

Computer hopping is the way that I seem to get about updating this thing. I am now sat in one of the houses that is in my novel, in fact in the very room that my narrator spends her first night back. there are 3 people that are in the novel in this house at this very moment and i suppose it is a bit strange. Kinda like actually being the narrator, herself.

I read a portion of it out to Mardyworp today. He thinks I'm going to get a telling off from Little My. He's probs right.

It's progressing well. I should be suspicious but I'm just happy to be writing. I spent from 8pm until 12 or so writing last night. I really do my best stuff at night. It's like a guilt trip where I ocupy my mind and body with things that don't matter, chores that do not really need to be done and then feel so guilty that I HAVE to write by about the time it falls dusk.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

a new year, a new blog...

A new year a new blog. That’s the way things have always been done.

I’ve been incapacitated with a terrible illness that involves pooing, headaches, tiredness and dizziness. I’ve been terribly unwell for the past few days and subsequently my desire to write has been waning. Shame really as every time an idea hits me it gets confined to a notebook rather than being explored, and forgotten.
I’m utterly dissatisfied with my relationship at the moment. Mouldyworp has been particularly selfish and inattentive... or maybe I feel this just because being ill has depressed me and I feel terrible. Somehow I think the connection we used to have has been lost. It hurts.
In novel terms there are a few things that need to be jotted down here that make sense to nobody but myself. What a relief that it’s only me that reads this blog. What a relief that it looks like there is only me that will read this novel.
· The play within the novel – what’s that all about? This is some type of key, I suppose, she seems to think about Amy Winehouse and she has a dead friend that has died of an overdose... there are illusions to the narrators own drug use... she should find boxes of papers to plagiarise for inspiration in Dianne’s house that the others find slightly unnerving she wants to use.
· Friendship, coupling and the breaking down of friend groups – this is an implicit subtext that needs to feed into the relationship theme.
· Worlds – the city vs. the country – they are particularly close in distance but are worlds apart. The narrator’s reluctance to “let” the city in should be apparent (and vice versa).
· Alfie – dissatisfaction and domesticity. Happiness and frustration. Alfie and rural life should be tied. He and the city should be at odds. He disapproves but he was born from this.
· The past – Arthur. He’s already formed from Toyland.
Alfie did buy me some tarot cards the other day. They are really nice though...
Allthough Capricorn means "the Devil"...