Thursday, 4 June 2009


It's a funny old life isn't it? Well really it's largely miserable but it does have enough funny bits in it to make it manageable I'd say.

I've been working fairly hard the last few weeks and feeling a little glum after the recent death of a relative. Not unexpected sadly and not someone we'd been close with for some years, but no matter how inevitable the loss you're still never emotionally ready and I surprised myself by how raw and sharp my grief felt when I had to explain my flatness to someone. Oddly, I've studiously avoided telling friends about the loss, trying to jolly along as usual. You think they don't need to hear it, it's not worth mentioning and, you know, after a few days like that you say to yourself 'Well, why would you bring it up now?'
And of course now here I am writing about it publicly to strangers rather than mentioning it more privately to mates. There's some kind of ridiculous compartmentalism going on here, isn't there- like having the first class bit on trains to Leeds which are only better than standard class to the extent of having plug sockets and being much less full.

I'm still deep in play rewrites (original peculiar title is staying, by the way. It has the advantage of being quirky and zingy which none of my not great replacement ideas were) and my God, I'm getting good notes, pushing me sharply and intelligently towards getting something together which I simply couldn't do on my own. I think I've learn more on this play than on any other piece of writing I've done, and that's come from the rewriting process which I've not really experienced properly before.
Previously, things I've done have tended to either be good enough to use or not good enough- the end, but, with this play, commissioned from a precis and then gradually worked up, I've finally had the experience of trying to get something from 'not good enough' but paid for up to 'good enough' through reworking. Hopefully I'll manage to do that.

In the meantime, I've just done another little job, one I never really expected to have and didn't go out hunting for, and have rather enjoyed it.
I've become a radio announcer. Now, I'm not the world's best speaker, I don't have a voice that says 'this is the BBC' to me but here I am anyway, doing some stand in slots for BBC Radio 7, mainly introducing comedy shows and, even better, mainly introducing ones I like.
This all came about after I nipped down to do my No Tomatoes chunner last month and I guess ended up talking with a bit of passion and knowledge about radio and comedy while we chatted.
Anyway, the upshot is I'll be presenting two 4 hour Sunday afternoon slots this weekend and next, introducing some lovely old comedy shows. Even better the second slot also contains one of my absolute favourite radio plays ever- Odysseus on an Iceberg by Alick Rowe from 1985 which I taped off Radio 4 on its original broadcast all those years ago and have on cassette to this day (it's the only survivor of my home taping from that era to still be with me, 24 years on).

I've tried to bring a tiny little bit of my broadcast history knowledge in lightly to leaven the effect of my droning on, it is, after all, the thing I've got going for me.
Do listen if you can bear it. I start a bit earnest I think but hopefully I loosen up. If BBC Radio 7 can bear it once they've listened back to me, I may be doing a little bit more of the same kind of thing later this month, but I'll only tell you about that if they don't mysteriously change their minds nearer the time...

Truly I am a Jack of All Trades and Master of None, all hyphens and little of worth to connect with them. Author cum comedy writer slash drama writer cum sound designer slash performer cum researcher slash broadcaster,
I'm utterly cum-slashed aren't I?

1 comment:

Stuart Douglas said...

Ignoring everything else in there like the callous Northern swine I am, may I just take a second to shake my head at the absolute shamelessness of that last line?

I may? Thank you. My head is now shaking in a mix of rueful approbation and grudging respect.