How To Do Sequels With Dignity

Unless you’ve been living in an internet Bermuda Triangle for the past couple of months you’ll have been aware of the return of Cold Feet.

As a general rule a little part of me dies every time I see the announcement of a sequel or revival. I am difficult to please. But the trailers suggested this was going to be momentous. At least, that’s what I hoped as I tuned into episode one back in September.

It might be because everyone in it has grown up in real time. It might be because they’re the real life friend circle I’ve never found. It may be because it’s Manchester which is now my adopted home city. It may be because the characters are so personable and apart from being a little older are the same people. Or maybe it’s a little bit of everything plus the seeming ease with which its creator Mike Bullen appears to have stepped back into the role and given tangible futures to some of our best loved tv chums.

But whatever it was, I shed a few tears as they appeared before me like old friends I hadn’t seen in ages. And you know what, that’s saying something.

I am a firm believer of ‘quit while you’re ahead’. Whilst it is painful to come to the end of a great series and WISH for another one, deep down I know that if it goes wrong it will literally tear me apart. Leaving the world you have loved hanging in the balance for eternity is far more preferential to seeing it die the slow and painful death of falling ratings and dismal writing. Not so with Cold Feet.

I really don’t need to go into the details. If you’re watching it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I want to give Pete hugs and tell him he can beat depression and get his life back on track. I want to slap Adam, as usual, and tell him, like Jen, that he is possibly making a big mistake with Angela (though of course I really want him to be happy ever after) and I desperately want David and Helen to get back together because I think they are so made for each other.

But I digress. It is a rare team that can recreate a sequel that is a homage to its original. Six Feet Under, Breaking Bad and *most of* the Alien Trilogy are all examples of enormous success. But they are rare. I read that there is a chance of another series. And I feel safe in Mike Bullen’s hands that it’ll be a dignified seventh offering if it happens.

So to Cold Feet I salute you. It is indeed a warm ‘Welcome Home’.

You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.

Daily Prompt: Facade

via Daily Prompt: Facade

Facade. The front people put up so that you won’t know what they’re really like. The phrase ‘Princess by day, Slut by night’ is an analogy that springs to mind. You could also think of Jekyll and Hyde. They are characters that fascinate me. I’ve known a few. Complicated, sometimes shallow. Narcissistic. Unpredictable. So many words to describe them.

It’s All About The Weird Stuff

I think I’m pretty tough to impress when it comes to my preferred tv. I really have to connect with the characters, to emotionally invest in them. And for that to happen they have to be a particular kind of character. Which probably says a lot about my own personality type.

I’m a sucker for Tarantino films and most Scottish and Irish cultivated drama. Tim Roth. James Nesbitt. Christophe Waltz. Peter Mullan. Bad boy characters I suppose you would call them. I am mesmerised by that dark side of the human psyche. The unpredictable. The lack of right or wrong. Alter egos and double lives. Split personalities. The broken and the rejected who make up the backbone of human nature. That we are all animals in the simplest terms. Knee jerk reactions and base instincts.

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I swing towards anything that takes an actor out of his usual roles and disturbs fans, or is psychologically rather than physically scary. I like things that play with my mind. National Treasure is the latest offering from the BBC. It’s working for me. This is not Robbie Coltrane or Julie Walters usual thing. And it’s good.

Horror doesn’t bother me. I am squeamish. But it’s not my kind of film. It doesn’t draw me to the people. I revel in anything that’s gritty and earthy like Tyrannosaur and NEDS, or quirky and bizarre like Lobster.

Captives, The Secret, Bronson, Jekyll (the Steven Moffat mini series), The Legend of 1900. Six Feet Under which cripples you on every emotional level and makes you question your entire existance. When Nate died I completely lost it. Or look at the likes of The Babbadook or American Mary.

As a writer I usually have my main character already cast or they follow soon after. If I can visualise an actor in the role it makes it stronger. Alive. They don’t need to have played similar parts before, but there needs to be something about them that inspires the role. They need to be physically there. That way I can gauge responses, mannerisms and build them into the part.

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In 2000 I put down a script which I felt had gone as far as it could. It was complete but it bothered me. It’s a subject that has quite literally been done to death, and is tacky and full of stereotypes. Noone takes it seriously. And I’ve never seen a really convincing version of it.

And that unsettled me. Because who is going to take that seriously? The name alone has people thinking ‘are you bonkers’. But the reality of it is just that – it was real.

Life took over. I published a book on something completely different. I started my business. But over recent months that script has been calling out to me. I’ve refound my leading man, the inspiration, and it’s bugging the hell out of me that I feel the need to rewrite the film with him in mind. But he makes it better. He is the muse that brings it to life.

Despite the years that have passed, last month I managed to find a readable digital copy of my nagging doubt. I’ve been relooking at it and trying to work out how I can turn it on its head and give it a modern twist that separates it from its genre. I’ve worked it out, I think. But it’s a massive rewrite. It needs to be done. It will be done and I am mentally preparing for the challenge.

If I get to pen something anywhere near as good as any of the above I can die happy. In my head it’s amazing. But articulating it is quite another thing. And a lot of that happens after the script has been written.

You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.

Two Cats. Two Weeks

My lack of interest in taking responsibility for anything much above myself extends to what is commonly termed ‘fur babies’ as well. I was brought up in a house with pets. Always. But having pets is the same as having children. Everything must come before you.

And I don’t quite get why, if you don’t want children and the responsibility that goes with them, why you would want to transfer that responsibility to something equally dependent upon you.

That being said, up until last August I had ‘fur babies’. Well, feather babies actually. Chickens. Three of them. And I adored them. But going away for anything longer than a day was a massive ball ache. Since I was forced to rehouse them because ‘have you tried finding a houseshare where the tenants let you bring chickens?’ I have been unable and disinterested in having any more animals.

I can now go away for any length of time I like and I simply have to lock the front door as I leave. This I now see as the ultimate in childlike lack of responsibility. And I am not sorry.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a responsible adult. I don’t have house parties. I effectively manage my finances and I work a very full week. But I revel in the reality that I don’t have anything else to take responsibility for. Now that I am recently single, that also extends to male counterparts in my life. Not that I am monumentally happy to be single, but I would say that it has been a beneficial experience to my life. I have a clear head. And this has been brilliant for my creativity.

But I digress…

My current and first house sitting experience is in North Manchester. Two cats for two weeks. Can someone tell me why so many cat owners do not have cat flaps? So far the week has revolved around bagging up catshit and cat sick. Trying not to smell the stench of cat food and in the evenings being nice to cats who are far more needy than I gave them credit for.

This is ok. It is why I am here. It is what I was booked for. And therefore I do not complain. It means the owners whose lives exist for these pets, can go away on their two week summer break and not worry. And frankly it means I get a house to myself. This signifies box sets til whatever hour I like and lots of time to just wander at will, cook when I want and drink beer.

In my other life I live in a houseshare and so genuine alone time is rare. Part of my house sitting motivation was getting space to myself, downtime from house shares where being ‘on your own’ just doesn’t exist. The first week is almost over. It’s going fast. And I will be glad to get back to my very cosy house share. But I am also really looking forward to sits in all the other places on my want list. Next stop LONDON!

You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.

So basically why?

So what the hell am I doing? I have no idea, truth be told. But I promise you there is a plan in here somewhere.

I am single, 42. Divorced (a LONG time ago). No kids (by choice). There I’ve said it.

I never had a life plan beyond running a business and being some kind of famous. It’s quite literally all I’ve ever needed. But I got lost several times along the way.. Which is why….42. But age is just a number right? In my heart and in my head I am most definitely still 25.

I tell everyone not to have regret. Because regret is pointless. It’s already happened. You resolve what you can and treat the future as an unknown quantity. But there’s no point giving out that kind of advice unless you believe it yourself. So I’ve learned to let go of the past and get on with what’s to come. Its cathartic. It’s invigorating. And it feels damn good.

I’ve been writing since I was a child. Years of research culminated in my first book in February 2014 and an unresolved film script which I am determined to knock into shape over the next 12 months. But running a business, which I launched in July 2012, took over. As it would. And it’s taken me a while to settle back into author mode. Thanks to a recent change in my personal life it’s now happening. And I value it more.

I’ve always been a writer. I blog about my business. But the other writing side – the genealogy, the history. That’s another part of my life. And then there’s this. The lifestyle and travel. The sense of self. The ‘put your heart on a plate and tell it like it is’ part of me which wants to spill the beans on being – well me. But isn’t quite sure if it’s a good idea or not.

A long silence follows. So it begins.