What’s it like to commence a blog?
Procrastinating like crazy is what it’s like.
The time to hesitate is through and the warmest of welcomes to you.
What have you done for me lately?
Is maybe the question you and Janet Jackson might be asking right now? I’m not going to say JJ doesn’t have any interest in my output because stranger things have happened. – ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ms. Whoopi Goldberg and Mr. Neil Gaiman – but I’m not about to bet any money that either her or Jermaine or Tito or any surviving member of the entirely awesome Jackson family aren’t loyal followers of my radio work. So – to get back to the question:
Lately I’ve just completed an adaptation of Bruce Chatwin’s unique and brilliantly eccentric first novel “In Patagonia”. Like a rune I never thought I’d pull from the red bag of runes I P’s a novel I never thought I’d have the good fortune to adapt. In fact, it’s not really a novel in the conventional sense at all, more a collection of strange encounters in the alien and surreally mythic landscape of Patagonia.
An original new play provisionally entitled “We Apologise for Any Convenience” which concerns time travel, train travel, existential chaos, actual chaos and Daniel Radcliffe amongst much, much more. It’s still in development so I can’t say that much about it other than being stranded for four and a half hours at Preston Station while waiting for a replacement train to Glasgow, on the same day as the notorious “Mini budget” of 2022 detonated onto an unsuspecting world, may have had some bearing on its genesis.
Was lucky enough to go and see Fran Leibowitz at the London Palladium on Monday night. She was as incisive and thought provoking as ever. It struck me that, along with being one of the last great unapologetic smokers of the world, she’s also one of the world’s great readers. No cheap soundbites here. Just considered answers borne of a lifetime’s worth of thought and literature. It was a privilege to hear her speak. “Florida is where woke goes to die” says Governor and Presidential wannabe Ron De Santis. Fran’s retort. “Florida is where everyone goes to die.” Brilliant.
My friend Rhiannon Kneads is transferring her excellent play to the Omnibus theatre in Clapham.
Directed by the brilliant Jessica Dromgoole it’s well worth a visit. Here are the deets, daddio.
Speaking of the amazing Jessica, with whom I have collaborated on many projects, (Homefront, Pilgrim to name but two) over the years it may be time to talk about writing for radio. As you may know the BBC has halved its output of original drama.
To say that that makes me sad would be an understatement. What was such a brilliant opportunity for new and established writers to have their original work reach millions of people throughout the world has had to be culled for budgetary reasons. Obviously, I have no say or access to the hive mind at the heart of the BBC but I must make a heartfelt plea for them to remember Radio Drama’s enduring appeal and unique value. It gave me an incredible opportunity, not only to realise the work I wanted to make, but also provided me with incredible opportunities to broaden my artistic ambitions. Writing for radio is the most visual of mediums. It deserves to be heard because it’s literally folding vision out of thin air.
Annoyingly there’s little I can say about Pilgrim’s future adventures only that there are a few irons in the fire which I’ll have to let you know about as and when I’m allowed to write about them. I don’t want to tease– so, apologies.
What I would like to do is pay tribute to the wonderful production team of Jessica Dromgoole and the late Marc Beeby. Marc was the first person I brought Pilgrim to and together we worked on every episode and almost every two- part special. He was a great friend and a brilliant producer of many great radio plays and is much missed by us all. Jessica remains very much alive and as inspirational as ever. I’d also like to play tribute to the incomparable talent of Paul Hilton without whom…..
Well, this has been my first blog post and I hope you’ve properly dug it. It wasn’t nearly as hard to write as I feared. The ice is broken. The lake dived into. Just listened to Lauren Laverne’s Social Recall segment on 6 Music which flung me straight back to 1978 when I was just 16 and, accidentally, about to write my first play. Inspired, as I was, by the heady atmosphere of societal decline and the glorious arrogance of Punk. The culture of that time encouraged me to just do it. Back then few outward signs of this revolutionary attitude were obvious to the residents of Brentford but the vibe was literally everywhere. It filled the air and connected the kids who were hip to it (which was pretty much everyone) like some messy internet of anarchy.
Thanks so much for reading. More soon.
My thanks to the brilliant Kate Cooper at Leopard Design Studio for facilitating the writing of this blog