Neglect and negligees

I’ve completely gone off the boil, writing-wise. All my energies are going into work and training at the moment. Ok, and rioja. Tom and Frank are less distinct in my head, stepping back into line of the players in my mind’s theatre. Or something less p-word. I haven’t read a book for a while either – I think I have about 40 unread novels slowly breeding in word-piles. A holiday would sort at least ten of them out, but then I’d almost certainly buy new shiny words rather than words that have sat around my home for a while, waiting to be cool enough for me to read.

I miss pootling away in here. I miss pootling away on the story, but while I’m less than 100% convinced about the plot there seems little point in bullying it onto the screen. I may go to a writers’ thing tonight – there’s an agent from PFD coming to tell us hungry hippos how to wallow in the glorious mud of acceptance. I normally avoid writers’ like the p-word. I tend to fall in love with their hair and their giggles, without realising that by definition they are as neurotic and paranoid as I am. And occasionally more talented. Bastards. And there’s little worse than a paranoid neurotic bastard. Ooh, a despot, maybe. Or Alan Sugar. Or a sugary, hairy author who writes under the nom-de-despot Alan Paradroid. (And as I type, Idi Amin has been referenced on Today’s Thought for the Day. Kudos.)

Anyhoo. A whimsical post. I woke up too early today and I will suffer for this shortly. I just wanted to post ‘bewitched, bothered and bewildered’. But instead typed ‘neglect and negligees’. As you do.

I have been exercising my parapsychological nose-twitch recently. Willing things to happen. The score is currently 3:2 with standard probability about to bring on a substitute (probably one of the highly amusing Physics PhDs on the train last night sharing in-jokes about recruiting people with basic maths skills. Seinfeld had nothing on them. Thank NBC). But little does probability know that I am about to introduce the socks of inifinite doom to the equation. They’re never wrong. Except when I buy the Independent. Then everything’s wrong.

Hmm. Rambling. No, not that kind. The Lemon Jelly kind. Everything changes but you kind, by Take That. And Party.

And on that note, I think I shall decamp to the train, ergo work, sum London. I don’t even have the braincells to ask my one reader a question. I can has chhezburger?


I have / am very busy. As in my arse is in gear, mon derriere c’est busy. By which I do not mean I have diarrhoea. Oh no. Far from it. But still, busy. Like a busy thing. Excitement, isn’t it?

Oh. And in typical volte-tush, I have decided to not finish this novel and instead write one that’s more ‘me’. Le sigh.

Crunchy yet chewy

There appears to be a surfeit of adjectives doing the rounds. I blame the blueberry-flavoured, extra-filtered yet comfortable, expensive and soft, new, improved Cillit Bang. And the grammar’s gone! Seriously, there are too many things that are too many things. Let a thing be a thing, people. Why can’t a cereal bar simply be a humble cereal bar?

Why does it have to be both crunchy and chewy? What kind of message is that sending out to kids? EH? You can’t be both black and white. Unless you take out the middle eight and ‘ooh oohs’. But then you’re left with a B side, and never was an adjective more deserved than as a B side. Except perhaps a conjunction – ‘however’ or ‘because’ would work equally as well. Although it’s generally – what can I not sell on the next LP. Kids.

Anyhoo. So – where was I? Ah, yes, confuzzling people. Well – you see – we’re pretty au fait with there being too much packaging in and around products nowadays. The liberal forget-me-nots and the neo-con naysayers all meet in the middle, surrounded by an extra fine sheet of bio-degradable, ethically sourced, ribbed for her pleasure – her shopping pleasure – bio-exo-nanoo-nanoo-plastic.

However (that word again – if I could compare you to a summer’s day you would be Thursday July 28 1979), no mention is made of how much word-(w)rapping goes on nowadays. Individual word clouds surround politicians and marketeers like Vurts. There is too much language. Too much sentiment. Too many empty adjectives. And not. Enough. Fucking. Nouns.

Or nuns. Or clowns. Or clown nuns. You know the ones – pretending they’re in some kind of religious Black and White minstrel show, except with red noses instead of face paint. They’re taking over the world you know. And you know what? They’re crunchy and chewy.

No. I didn’t write any of the novel today. Thanks for asking. Try the veal. I’m here all week. And let’s face it, I should know. BANG! And the thought is gone! [smile for the camera]

Grumpier than Grump McGrumpmarson, son of Grumpthor

Not even a chocolate mousse has alleviated my petty *meh*ness. I haven’t found myself the time to write for a week and while work has been stressful and involved longer hours than of late I think it’s simply the same old same old doubts about the plotline kicking in again.

I’m tempted to simply finish any old tat and print myself a copy through simply for the sake of doing it.

Meh. Meh. Meh. The more people I read on t’intertron, particularly aspiring novelists, the less I feel like finishing the current story and the more I feel like going more outre and genre than at present. Meh. I’m not sure I’d read the thing I’m writing. If you see what I mean.

Meh. Give me an E, give me a M, give me an O. Grumpy grumpy grumpy.

Looks like it’s time for a nap.

Trivia tourettes

Or – things I wrote on the train while half asleep this morning, following a weekend of heavy birthdaying. Mine, as it happens. I’ve been olded.

Trivia tourettes – the compulsion to spout flimflam at inappropriate times. When being sent down by a magistrate, the young lag would shout ‘there is only one breed of cow indigenous to the Northern Ensweer peninsula’, or ‘Poldark wasn’t real, although his dog was based on a real dog’ – as opposed to ‘that’s the third time you’ve sent me down, you rotter’. Which, of course, would be inadmissable as evidence. As would any of the trivia he recited. Unless he perhaps came across the trivia will performing his offence – eg on reading the host’s New Scientist in the middle of a burglary, should he be caught short. Or becoming engrossed in Wikipedia while performing a Nigerian 419 scam or needing to refer to the 1996 Haynes’ Owner’s Guide to the Vauxhall Carlton in an attempt to hot-wire the vehicle.

Then the idea could be extended to Trivia Roulette – who could come up with the most obscure fact while still remaining broadly on topic. And then we’d all be employed by Radio 4 and be chums with dead comedians.

Of course most men of a certain age are well used to Trivia Top Trumps, aka ‘Going to the Pub’. My twenties would have been immeasurably more, um, quiet, had I not known and been rewarded with endless amounts of completely pointless information. It probably said something about my ability to retain this information that my role in the pub quiz team was generally to offend members of my team and think of the team name, occasionally at the same time. In fact, so regular was my capacity to cause offence and or random outbreaks of giggles that the landlord created a special prize for me to win each week (generally the contents of a Kinder Egg). Without this incentive, who knows if such winners as ‘Default Horse’, ‘My wee smells of nuts’ or ‘Fiona’s repeated Question 4 so many times that I have lost the will to live’. Continue reading “Trivia tourettes”

Slow-jo mojo

Le mojo c’est tombe en panne. I think that means it’s French. Does that mean it’s covered in bread? French bread? Like a Pret-A-Ris morsel? An idea sandwich that has gone slightly stale and sits limply alongside the novelty flavoured pasties on the shelf of the third fridge from the door in the motorway service station outside Llandudno (is there a motorway there? I’ve no idea. I’m fairly sure there is a Llandudno – even though I’ve never been there – I’m not going to fall for that whole tree falling in a forest malarkey AGAIN. It exists. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a service station on a motorway outside it. Assuming there is a motorway. GAH! Foiled! Curses! I shall have to change my secret pasty-drop-spot shelf. (S)pies are everywhere. (Sorry, sorry, sorry, that was dreadful)).

Anyhoo. Idea sandwiches. Must send that off to Steve Coogan vis a vis the third series. Although why Alan Partridge would appear in ‘Bread idol – the contintenal version’, I’m not sure. Although I do like the idea of the judges throwing granary rolls at each other.

Ok. Forget the sandwiches. I’ve had a slow few days, writing wise. I’ve been adjusting some key plot points, plus the obligatory jotting them down on paper, then in Storylines, then in my plotline document, and finally in my pseudo-first draft. At no stage has anyone leant over and said ‘my God, that’s genius’. No matter how much I waft my notebook about. Philistines. Philistines with their own lives and ringtones and cups of coffee.

I’ll show them. But maybe not just yet. I’ve got some more editing to do. You know how it is. Wouldn’t want them tutting. NO TUTTING! Or tsking. Tsking is very bad. Although now I’m forced to think about it, it’s probably better that there is no reaction at all. Or perhaps no reaction until I offer them a sandwich.

And (obviously) at no stage have I bothered to, you know, actually commit any sentences to paper / screen that were not full of dates and angst-ridden notes to myself. I’m fairly sure that Joyce didn’t have a notebook full of entries saying ‘why does Stephen do this?’. Although it would have made for a better film….(ducks, then crawls under the carpet for good measure).

Which is a very long winded way of saying it’s Wednesday. Should they make bread that tuts and tsks when it’s toasted? Musical bread? ‘Toast is burning, toast is burning, come save me, come save me…’ etc

Bread’s complimacated. Ideas more so. Give me back my mojo.

Yum yum

I’ve just had a supper of ginger nuts and baked beans.  And a rather cheeky Rioja.  Although why wine gets described as ‘cheeky’ is beyond me.  I’ve seen them make it.  ‘Footy’ or ‘cheesy’ or even ‘buniony’ would be more apposite.

For the record, I don’t really recommend it – ginger nuts and baked beans that is.  If you want to jump around in grapes then go ahead. I think ginger beans and baked nuts would have been better.  Or possibly more Rioja.  Definitely not ginger wine though.  Now that is ‘cheeky’.

None of which excuses the fact I’ve done no writing today except on this ere silly thing.

I feel morally obliged now to waste a good deal of time research possible uses for baked beans.  I suspect it is easier than writing.  Hell, I could even make my characters eat baked beans.  Kill two beans with one stone….

Catch 22 – or maybe 45

So.  I treated myself today.  I miss my vinyl .  For a couple of years now I’ve been meaning to get the kit to digitise my collection, which has been in boxes for the best part of five years now.  Anyhoo.  So one of these and one of these later, I am now the proud owner of…, well, a very pissed off mood.

By definition, my favourite records were played a lot.  So they’re in less than ideal condition.  In fact, some of them are awful.  So – not only do I not have some old tunes for reminiscing, I am (a) poorer and (b) robbed of the illusion that one day I could digitise my music and be instantly hip again.

I also have a somewhat confused recollection of my records.  I seem to own an awful lot of 7″ inch singles by bands I had entirely forgotten about (Gilded Lil?  Spraydog?  Velocette,  Kings of Infinite Space, 18 Wheeler, Travis (when they were good), Spacemaid, Kerosene, Urge Overkill (before they had that big hit)… and on and on and on) – a victim of both my habit of buying singles based on their covers or from helping out at too many small town gigs, getting drunk and buying all the merchandise (I still have a Speed Urchin t-shirt somewhere, which I doubt even the band have).

And the decent records, well, most of them have been replaced – either on CD or through iTunes.  Although neither can quite compensate for the sticker saying ‘Special Limited Edition Purple Vinyl’ or the truly hideous picture discs.  It’s also vaguely quaint to see band information without so much as an email address.  Although I don’t miss my fanzine days.  Much.

I’m really annoyed.  I very rarely treat myself to something big, and this is a big lemon.  And to make things even more fun, I’d also forgotten that the boxes had been got at by some mice in a previous existence, so there’s little nibbled bits of paper all over the floor as well.

In the grand scheme of things, not a biggie.  But still.  Argh. And no closer to replacing  Afghan Whigs – ‘My World is Empty Without You’ as my favourite song to get upset about.
Of course, the one redeeming factor is that it’s all hugely ironic.  And therefore goes in the ‘credit’ column for the novel.  I’ll just explain that to the bank one day….

Any thoughts on what to do with an Austrian turntable that’s so retarded it doesn’t even have a switch to change speeds (you have to lift the plate and move the belt.  WHAT was I thinking?)?

The best things of being a writer…57 in an infinite series

… is how you get to make really good friends with the people that really matter in life.  Mr Vacuum Cleaner.  Little Miss Iron.  Mr Kettle.  Mrs Pot.  Sometimes they breed or you forget what you’re doing until you’re doing the ironing with the teapot and trying to retract the cord on the iron.

Seriously.  Is there a better way to discover teas of the world or keeping a (relatively) clean house than pretending to write a novel crafting away over the minutae of imaginary people’s lives….

I’m eating some Christmas presents as compensation.  They don’t make socks as tasty as they used to.  They used to stitch the chevron pattern on men’s socks with licorice, for when times were hard.  I saw some ‘dairy licorice chews’ in Marks and Spencers yesterday (hand-rolled on the thighs of Dervla Kerwan’s nan, no less) which sounded just about the most disgusting thing imaginable.  And speaking as someone who likes to put jam and mustard on vegeburgers (quite possibly because I’m not a vegetarian) I think this is high drama indeed.

My little spreadsheet of word count vs days is beginning to wilt a bit.  Perhaps I need to find a different measure of success.  Like getting an agent.  La la, I can hear the badgers singing.  Perhaps I should simply load up my Stephen King editing specs and laser out all the adverbs from my writing.  And then start taking out bank statements.  And before you know it I will be KING OF THE WORLD!!!  Through the removal of adverbs I will cripple humanity.  Slowly.  DAMN!  I must exterminate myself.
Any writers out there care to share how they measure a good day?  Is it simply a case of counting the mugs of tea?

This is the silence of sound

A very interesting and busy week, in which I have been excited no less than four times.  Four!  And one of them wasn’t even imaginary!

Ok.  Four was an exaggeration, but it’s been a good week, which, as is the nature of these things, means I haven’t had time to blog for the benefit of my one reader.  Speaking of which – rather pathetically, I was more pleased with the first comment received on this blog (thanks Julia) than with winning the best business website of the year in 2005.

But not as much as two hours spent with one of my best friends talking through some plot points on the novel.  And being reminded that understanding what motivates your characters is vital to keeping your readers with you, particularly when the characters are a little, um, odd.

And not as much as illustrating a point at work (a ‘business’ point, as opposed to a CBB point, or a point-to-point or a pied-a-terre or mangetout or debating whether Kevin Costner’s career peaked at The Untouchables (it did, it so did)) by doing a cockney geezer walk.  It wasn’t a 2.0 walk either.  It was an old school walk, much like George, the hofmeister bear (apparently created by the same man who invented the Honey Monster which must have been a tremendous stretch for him – after all, who could have thunk of TWO men in oversized furry suits with funny walks and stupid voices).  I did, however, dispense with the hat.

Did you follow the bear today?