Thursday, 16 April 2009


Warning: This post is unintentionally smug.

There’s a big cardboard box in the corner of my bedroom, filled with a bunch of stationery and screenwriting gubbins that I keep meaning to throw away. Every so often, I look over and think, I should throw that away, but it’s largely the same colour as my walls, so like the Predator, it blends in just leaving a box shaped outline that glimmers slightly when it moves*, and I forget about it again.

Anyway, I was having one of these ill-conceived refuse creation notions the other day and started digging through it, and turned up a bunch of scripts that I wrote whilst I was at University and really should have been writing something about The Integration of the Hybrid Library into Higher Education**.

So, a quick review, in order of their writing:

Is There a Dog? A shambling, rambling, anarchic action comedy that I penned with my flatmate, Richard Fenning. Rubbish and plotless but filled with good ideas, mostly his. It looked like a script, mostly. First proper screenplay written in any length. Unfinished.

What Can I Get For a Rib? Sub-Kevin Smith blokes talking in a room that reads like a really bad episode of Skins and has a title embarrassingly taken from a misogynist joke. Some promising dialogue, still no plot. Unfinished.

Out of the Woods. Atrociously, and I hope you took the time to roll the R’s in your head whilst reading that, atrociously bad horror movie that I clearly intended to film with mates as all the locations are within about 10 steps of my parents’ house. Any indication of talent that was beginning to show in the previous two scripts flushed entirely down the toilet. Which is, coincidentally, how one of the characters dies. Unfinished.

Count 99 and Kiss Me. Fucking hell. A half decent title. And... oh, a half decent script. My very first actually quite good script. Written for the Sci-Fi competition that James Moran won. I didn’t win, probably because it’s just a pastiche of other people’s ideas (noticeably Phillip K. Dick and Jeff Noon), but it’s a nicely written pastiche if I say so myself***. Finished, though it being 10 pages long probably has something to do with that. So, development, good.

No more screenwriting happened for, ohhh, about three years after that, when I decided I wasn’t a novelist. Now, I’m not saying that everything I write now is fried gold, but I know I’m better than these scripts. It’s nice to see how bad I used to be, because it implies that I’ll keep getting better. I hope so. I like doing this.

* It does not move.

** My dissertation, a fancy way of saying ‘In the future, there will be computers’. The advent of Google rendered my degree entirely pointless.

*** I do.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

I await my reply from Malta's tourist board...

Hello! It's me! I used to have a blog here, remember? So, I went off and got married. That was lovely. The day itself was just all round brilliance, my wife (he he he, look, wife) looked gorgeous in her dress, I spent a lot of the day smiling, the sun shined throughout and then we had an awesome party in the evening where we got to see a bunch of people we really like all in one place. Thanks to everyone who came, to everyone who donated to our worthier-than-thou charity wedding list, to anyone who helped in any way or wished us well, and to everyone who got involved in the Libertines dance off at the end of the evening.

Then, the honeymoon, came and... now, it was lovely to spending time together, and we would have had a nice time if we spent two weeks in a housing estate in Plymouth, but... don't go to Malta. It's rubbish. It's like Italy fell down and nobody bothered to tidy up afterwards.

I like a moan, and I do have my glib blog-voice on a lot when posting here. But this is a genuine plea. There are better places in the world. Don't go.

Admitteddly, we didn't get off to a great start, which may have coloured my view of one of the world's smallest countries - we got dropped off at the wrong hotel by the airport shuttle, then had to pay for a cab to the right one, in a town nine miles away. The cab drivers in Malta apparently don't pass any sort of driving test, they just play Grand Theft Auto for a bit until they've got the gist of it. At one point we were doing 100 in a 40 zone.

Once we got to the right hotel, against all probability in one piece, it turned out to be a cockroach ridden flea pit* and what had promised to be a swimming pool was actually a closed jacuzzi.

But even if we'd had a great start, I still doubt I would have liked Malta. Everywhere's got nice bits and shit bits, I know that, but Malta's so small that they're right next to each other.

In the interest of balance, here are three nice things about Malta.
  1. Cisk, the local beer. Very tasty.
  2. Kinnie, their local soft drink. Made from bitter oranges and eighteen aromatic herbs and a big ball of addictive weirdness. Wikipedia calls it 'refreshing yet peculiar'. They are correct.
  3. You can visit the pub where Oliver Reed died.
That's it. We went to Cardinham Woods when we got back and had a lovely time. We're so Cornish.

* The fleas are figurative, the cockroaches were real.