Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The storm clouds gather...

I'm finding reasons not to write the next bit of my play at the moment, just scribbling ideas, making notes, mulling things over, reading other people's stuff, caffeinating myself, knowing there's the dam burst coming soon. It looks a lot like doing nothing from the outside, which it sort of is- but it's more not doing the wrong something. Well, not yet, anyway.

This week's news- book apparently at printers, doing tax return, having a nice hot bath, working out what to do with green tomatoes without falling into cliche, looking at the last six beautiful apples left on the tree, all too high to reach without hilarious risk-taking (maybe later), I also have a documentary idea through stage 1 of the latest Radio 4 offers round, which is both neat and interesting considering I deliberately didn't submit it. Guess I must have been not doing the wrong something there, too.

It's the calm before the storm I tell you.

Crack of thunder... frenzied typing commences. It was a dark and stormy etc.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Sound and Vision

Here's what's on the back cover of my book (cheapo Optical Character Recognition software willing):


British TV beyond the broadcasters

Independent television production has been one of the great British business successes of recent years

The Rise and Rise of the Independents reveals the forces behind its growth through the stories of the people who pioneered it and those who profited from it. This once very precarious occupation became an international success far surpassing anything the British Film Industry - despite its billions of pounds in grants, subsidies and tax breaks - has achieved in recent years.

From the US communist-backed adventures of the 1950s Robin Hood to Robin Hood's 21st Century adventures filmed in former communist Hungary, it's a business story with surprising twists and tums.

It's a story of left wing idealists and free market economists, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, union leaders and union busters, and a shift in power from the broadcasters
to the producers, but above all, of programme makers making their art their own business.

From light entertainment to documentaries, drama to youth programmes, game shows to Reality TV, The Rise and Rise of the Independents tells the story of the people and their programmes, and the luck, judgement, lobbying and legislation that made UK TV what it is today.

Featuring interviews with many of the pioneers of this new TV age - including Sophie Balhetchet Peler Bazalgette, Peter Bennett~Jones, Jane Featherstone, Nick Fraser, Tony Garnett, James Gatward, Colin Gilbert, David Graham, Paul Jackson, Jane Lighting, Allan McKeown, Steve Morrison, Jimmy Mulville, Charlie Parsons, Terence Ryan, Nicola Shindler, Paul Smifh, David Swift, Patrick Uden, Beryl Vertue and Anne Wood, The Rise and Rise of the Independents explores how the industry got where it is today and where its leading lights see it heading next."

It's about 320 pages and 150,000 words (excluding footnotes) and also has a jolly nice cover:

If you're interested you should be able to get it either direct from the publisher, or from all the other usual sources (ISBN 13-978-0-9554943-2-1,
price seems to be widely variable as is the way these days).

Dear Diary

I thought I ought to essay a brief entry here after a lengthy radio silence of Third Programme proportions.

In that time I wrote a couple of drafts of 'blog entries that may well still appear here in time (the typed up versons went astray, I'll have to return to scribbled train journey jottings if I'm going to revive them), went up to Liverpool to plot a bit of a series of Ken Campbell events as part of the Biennial. It's been lovely meeting others touched by the man in different ways and glimpsing some of the different facets he presented us and that we drew from him. A remarkable figure, who I wish I'd managed to turn more of my friends onto (I think a couple were unlucky to see some of his lesser performances, as it happens). I think the fact the Facebook page "Ken Campbell Changed My Life" has over 300 members now says something.
Anyhow, more on that in November. Suffice to say I'll be giving a talk which will be somewhere between a lecture and a performance, precisely where depending on the audience. I've written a 4,000 word draft which I'm fairly happy with, good jokes, all true facts, and I hope a decent tribute.

I've also pitched another documentary and two series ideas at Radio 4, hopefully at least one of which will happen, and started properly thinking about my Afternoon Play. There are vague promises of ridiculously starry casting for this, though that'll be dependent ultimately on me writing something good enough and of course artist availability, so it could easily end up featuring The Speaking Clock and Timmy Mallett (not denigrating either artist). It's for airing next July I think, recording currently planned for mid-June, so it'll be much later before there's a lot more to say.

Closer to home I've also started operating a 'one in, two out' policy for books. I've too many books in the house that I'm never going to read again, and there's a few long-term unread ones that I reckon will stay that way so it's time to shed some baggage.
Today an old Arthur C Clarke book with a truly shocking back blurb joined the charity box- "Here are glimpses of the worlds of the future, of a decade, a century, even a millenia from now..." Two mistakes in just one word, what we'd put up with from publishers in 1983.

Talking of back blurbs, we've finalised the one for my book, and having jumped through the various editorial and legal hoops it's finally headed to the publishers. I'll give that a post of its own shortly.

All this and fun with the juicer, varnishing furniture, harvesting apples and tomatoes and, since we started getting a veg box, learning what celeriac is for. It's all gripping stuff, isn't it?

Oh and congrats on the new job if you still pop by here, Malevich! Just read about that today, sounds excellent to me.