Fighting

Where I work comes with entertainment value. Like these three last weekend, out of their trees on something. The dude on the right eventually walked away. The dude on the left with his belongings in a black bin liner stormed away but kept coming back for more.

Girl in the middle with the iPhone eventually managed to calm him down and they ended up dry humping against the building on the left. Classy.

Rolling A Boulder Up A Hill

One Sunday a month I get to stretch my brain a little further than the norm. In a quiet pub on the edge of the Northern Quarter in Manchester, where they serve beers you’ve never heard of at vastly inflated prices, conversation begins ordinarily enough but often tends to end up in far deeper and darker realms. And whilst I would never consider myself an intellectual, I revel in these opportunities.

Questioning the point of our existence, on what else might be out there and theories and beliefs is a great interest of mine.

At our last meeting the Myth of Sisyphus hoved into view. The futility of life, and the reasons for our existence and why we do anything at all is one of my fascinations. Man has elevated himself to such a level that a life without purpose has become something of an anomaly. We are programmed from when we are small children to have talents and abilities and to do well and excel and aim for the top. But really, why?

Of course, questioning like this could result in you not bothering at all. So I don’t delve too closely because really I have enough procrastination in my life.

The myth of Sisyphus can be interpreted a number of ways. The one we discussed is the idea that ‘the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.’ Largely because we were discussing whether getting to the pinnacle of your abilities was enough for a satisfying life or whether it was the struggle to get there that was what mattered and what made life worth living. Once you reach the top, where is the drive to do more?

The ‘Brain In A Vat‘ argument thus also joined the conversation. We were asked to decide ‘if you had a choice would you rather the life you had now, rolling the boulder up the hill or would you rather be the brain in a vat who gets all that comes from reaching that pinnacle, but you know that it’s not real?’

Several of us opted for the brain in a vat. I think that I could get to a point in my life where I’d be happy living in the believed perception that I had reached the end point and was enjoying the fruits of my labours. Others, most notably our host, preferred the struggle. Because at least it was real. Of course it depends how fulfilling your journey is. I am just starting out on mine (again) and desperate to fill it with interesting things which I sometimes think can only be filled by reaching the end point.

The question is, is it the end result that is important or the journey? We were also discussing procrastination which becomes an integral part of that journey and how fulfilling it ultimately is. Our host is also a writer of sorts. And our conversations had also turned earlier in the evening towards completing scripts, finding tv companies etc. I briefly dipped into the film I am now struggling to get my head around. The conclusion was that my published book WAS the script I should be writing. I have always known this. It was the first thing I thought 2 years ago as my book ‘went live’.

In many ways it would be easier to write because the bones are already there. And the pitch is already there. It has the substance to catch the imagination of a director, actors, a tv company even. And I can sell it too. But it is the other script I am focused on right now, because it is sticking two fingers up to me. And probably because its beginnings preceded the book I have written. And this one still lingers, incomplete.

But that doesn’t mean I cannot be persuaded and it is certainly something that I thought over as I drove home later that night. Because the fruition of one project simply leads to the beginning of the next. And thus heightens the sense of the journey.

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

How To Be Taken Seriously

I often forget that I am a published writer. I had to look hard to find the list of works I’ve contributed to or been in and the tv and radio appearances I have done. And to be honest I am disappointed at myself that I haven’t promoted it more. It feels like a whole world away since I was immersed in my biggest project.

A lot of my early writing was on the subject of Jack the Ripper, most of which I have sadly now forgotten although I hear there is a new compilation book coming out later this year. Latterly my work before I set up my business relates to Tita Falcieri and the book which finally brought it all together.

Like many creatives I am modest about what I have achieved. And you do forget that actually it’s quite a big thing. I’ve been on television. I’ve broadcast on Radio 4 – my favourite piece. I sound like a professional! That should be something to shout about.

In light of this and wanting to be taken seriously by my peers for what I have yet to create, I have published a credits page on my blog. I should be taken seriously, if not by myself, then by other people. And it reminds me that I shouldn’t stop. That I should be pushing this for more. That this is what I do best.

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

The House Across The Road

Here I am, nestled on the edge of Heaton Park for just a few more days. This part of North Manchester is pretty rank to be honest. I’m lucky with the road I’m in but you don’t have to go far to end up in a pretty rough area. I am not a comfortable North Mancunian (hells I’m not even a Northerner). I am firmly rooted South and East of the city.

There’s this house across the road from me and I’m not sure if it’s occupied. These houses are all apparently 1930s built. This one has the original deco inlaid windows and single glazed wood frames. There might be someone in there. But if they are they must be some kind of crazy who’s been living there since these were new builds.

There are lots of houses in Manchester like this. Frozen in time. And they fascinate me. You wonder what kind of person lives there. The stories. The scandals. The tale of lives wasted. Hidden behind dusty old net curtains.

There’s a book in that somewhere. Oh wait, I think it’s been written about a thousand times.

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

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.