Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm Back, in Full Effect


I've had an unfairly prolonged period of writer's block which extended beyond the book I was trying to write to copywriting for work and even blog upkeep. I wonder if in every other discipline people lose confidence completely in their ability?

I've realised that 'Degeneration' (the novel I was trying to write), as it stands, isn't working. Trying to maintain the present tense / first person is a very difficult trick to pull off. The present tense aspect being the biggest pain in the undercarriage I've ever encountered. So after a few months of feeling down about it and playing lots of Hitman and Farenheit, I've put it 'on ice', 'on the backburner' and 'in reserve'. It's a massive relief. I still think there's some good stuff there but for the most part, it's a bit clouded and oblique for me to work forward from. I was going to use a horrific analogy about aborting a deformed and not yet fully formed child, but then I realised that is insensitive and vulgar, so I stopped myself.

Also, and this may sound discourteous, but I found that any kind of feedback puts me off writing completely, no matter the quality and the truth within. As it's such a solitary thing to have an idea and commit to working on making it manifest while alone, it probably makes sense that the input of others won't help. I didn't realise that and it staggered me. I'll have to reign in my enthusiasm on that one and keep unfinished pieces to myself. I think.

As it is, I have a new idea. I've already told people what it is. I've said too much. Zzzzzzzip.

(That was me zipping my mouth shut - not flopping my wanger out).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Not being around...


Apologies for not being around. I sent out the 25,000 words I have so far on the book and got some feedback. Most of it positive but naturally I assume the worst. I feel like I have a mountain to climb (and other clich├ęs).
I'm finding that the only way to press on is to ignore what you've done before and start a whole new section from scratch. Not only does this make you get rid of old ruts, it also makes you take a new angle and refreshes your creativity enough to continue without collapsing in a pile of worry, anxiety and gereal disillusionment...

I'm working on it now when really I should be doing some Marketing stuff. Not sure what. That's why I'm not doing it. Oh my poor, empty head.

Monday, March 27, 2006

After a long weekend


My neighbour hit new heights of idiocy this weekend.

Sitting in his stoned ignorance within his little hovel, he played his dull, looped dub reggae so loudly the walls were shaking with bass. Obviously, we all like to play music loudly once in a while, but usually half an hour does the job, I find, and it's best to restrict it to Saturday evenings. But this bloke really knows no bounds and he played the same tune for about, by my estimation, four hours.

Recently he has been pestering my landlord with the complaint that our floorboards creak noisily when we walk on them and sent me a personal message asking me to step lightly in the morning. I tried to laugh these complaints off - after all, if he has no respect for us then why should we for him? In addition to the dub we put up with him slamming doors every time he leaves or enters, rearranging his furniture twice weekly and finally, probably the best example of cannabis psychosis I've seen save for the time my ex best friend was caught with a knife in his neighbours garden, shouting insults at himself so loudly we can hear it two flights up.

My landlord decided that he ought to be seen to take the complaint seriously so arranged a 'sound-test' whereby we would walk around our flat and he could check the complaint from our neighbour's flat. I had a problem with the idea but the lady, in her wisdom, suggested it would make us seem unreasonable to refuse and when it was discovered that the problem is minimal, will make the neighbour look like the berk he so patently is.

So that weekend the landlord came over, but when he knocked, immediately informed us that the neighbour wasn't responding when he called. So it was off.

We tried again the next week, but no response from the stoner goon again. So now it has been rearranged for the end of April after the landlord saw him quite by chance in the street.

When the reggae was at full pelt I was enraged, so I stomped about the flat so as to give the goon something genuine to complain about. Then the volume went up, so my stomping increased.

This was followed by the sound of our door being banged on so hard it might've fallen down. It's not the first time the goon has knocked so hard. It's tantamount to harrassment to knock like that. I've told him there's a crime reference number on him and this is all being noted. After hearing the banging I shouted down the stairs.

'Will you PLEASE turn that shit down'.
'IT AIN'T EVEN THAT LOUD - I ONLY TURNED IT UP COS YOU WAS BANGIN' FOOL.'
'Don't call me a fool'.
'YOU'RE GONNA BE SORRY YOU PUSSYCLAT'.
'Pussy-what?? What did you call me?'

After consulting with Bajan friends, I learn that 'pussyclat' is a similar term to 'raasclat' or 'bloodclot' - pertaining to menstrual fluid. Firstly, this isn't a very nice or even apt thing to go calling people with valid complaints against your behaviour.

Secondly, the man-boy who shouted this at me is not Bajan, nor Jamaican, nor black in any way shape or form. He is a middle class white boy whose daddy bought him his pokey little flat and who hangs around with other fair skinned kids who speak in a really badly pronounced faux-patoi. For some reason this gets under my skin even more than the music.

Any ideas on how to quickly bring about this jobless, brainless trustafarian's downfall will be gratefully received.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Goodbye Blue Sky


I watched The (by now completely addictive) Apprentice last night. I'm sure millions of others of my fellow corporate-workers who hate the fact that they are betraying their adolescent hatred of big business also tune in just because the show, to us, seems to be morbid self-parody. Perhaps those who work in less awful environments also get that point, but being immersed in it on a day-to-day basis is another thing entirely - for us the show provides some degree of catharsis.

It's the best thing on television at present, by my estimation.

I'm sure Sugar must know that it seems he is lampooning his own kind. He has enough nous for that. In fact, I'm utterly certain he knows this, because he is the only person, apart from his colleagues - the lawyer and the other bloke - who come off with any dignity by the time the credits are rolling. Aside from the obviously desperate and unhinged contestants, the companies that get involved, presumably for the free publicity, also often come off looking pretty stupid. Virgin's media buyers, for example, looked like a couple of floundering schoolboys when faced with the worst presentation they'd probably ever endured courtesy of the delectable but demented Nargis.

Worst of all was last night's Saatchi and Saatchi's creative team. Introducing the teams to where they'd be thinking up their concept, brain-storming in an intense half-day power huddle to use industry terms, they were shown walking into the 'blue sky' room. Perhaps this detail didn't irritate others as much as it irritated me but let me repeat it. Saatchi & Saatchi have a 'blue sky' room.

As the link suggests, blue-sky thinking is a concept wherein you are allowed to have ideas without limitations - the entire sky, which is obviously endless, is your canvas. I've always hated the term when I've heard it used at work. If you follow it through it means, essentially that if you throw enough shit at a toilet, one will end up in the pan. Gun anywhere into the night sky and you might hit an enemy plane. It was satisfying to note that as a result of this brainstorming, whilst throwing random-idea projectiles blindly, a concept was agreed on that was so far off the point that the team failed. So much for thinking outside the box.

Personally I have a problem with this kind of democratic process of invention. I feel it takes one person to have a good idea and several people to then make it great. Too many cooks inevitably spoil the broth.

Unless we're talking about the massive team of writers who create the Simpsons scripts. That's different, obviously.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Weekend Coverage...


Well... I managed to keep Friday nice and quiet, left straight after work and went home via the magic shop and off licence. After a massive pizza I began imbibing and continued to do so for the rest of the night. There's nothing quite like a night in listening to music. having iTunes is like having your own massive jukebox, it's bloody ace.

I also watched the adaptation of a Martin Amis book - Dead Babies - and it wasn't very good at all, apart from a couple of moments. I always feel compelled to watch the film versions of books I've read despite the fact that 95% of the time they are shite. Clearly I'm a glutton for punishment.

The landlord came over to do a 'soundtest' to decide whether or not our floorboards are creaking like thunder as the chap who lives beneath us is complaining about them endlessly. He came over at 1.30pm and told us that the complainer hadn't even bothered to be in for the test. This makes him look even more like a cannabis-psychosis fruit-loop in my eyes.

Following that farrago, I went into town to drop the lady off at work and then hoodwinked myself into getting drunk with a chum, as this picture demonstrates.
As a result, this is going to be a very frugal week.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Writing to myself


Dearest Me

It's Friday. All week you have promised yourself that, in the regrettable absence of the lady due to work commitments, you would have a quiet evening in with a couple of beers and something to smoke. But already I sense that you have sniffed the temptation of the work tradition of drinking free alcohol and then carrying on to a bar to exploit the faux-generosity of the consultants at work when it comes to rounds.

Don't give in.

A quiet night in has so many more benefits in comparison to the work drink-sludge. You can watch those DVDs that are gathering dust from Screenselect.co.uk. You could see what Friday night TV is like these days. You could read. Better still, you could write. You could even get the Frenchman or the Christian over for drinking and chat.

It would all be better than trying to stomach shop-talk and greasy yuppie-bollocks in exchange for gratis grog. You'll inevitably end up asleep on a stationary bus at 4am, or you'll end up telling someone defenceless exactly what you think of corporate London.

The choice is yours. Make the right one.

Sincerely,

Me.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Back


I've been off work for a week. The lady and I spent a lot of time at home, pottering, watching films, eating... then when we got our act together we went out to eat and watch films. It's nice to get a taste of the leisurely life, it really is. I wrote a fair bit towards the book, some flashback stuff which I hadn't thought was necessary but considering the speed at which that kind of stuff, essentially a quick flow of specific memories , spurts out it's difficult to argue against using it, especially considering the relevance of the thoughts involved.

Returning to work is good for firing up the determination to write, in that I never want to have a period of time away and then have to come back ever again, and the only fruitful way of preventing that happening is writing and writing until I get published. It will happen somehow. Yet again, I forgot to take my notebook on the bus, so any great ideas in the transition between the office and home will be lost...

I've got to scribble more thoughts down, otherwise what's the point in thinking?

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