Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Time To Burn Some Bridges

Before I became a writer I was a stand-up comedian. Before I did that I worked in Royal Mail Customer Services. For far too long.

When I was doing stand-up I always refrained from having a pop at my old day job in writing, partly out of fear that the comedy would prove to be a fad. It would all fall through and I would end up knocking on the door of my old boss with an embarrassed grin.

“Ooh, it’s the comedian!” he would say, meaning quite the opposite. And he would point me to my old desk, waiting for me much as I left it, with the addition of mould in my mug and a thin patina of dust and despair.

Well, the comedy didn’t fall through. I have now moved onto writing, with stand-up as the new safety net, secure in the knowledge that should the worst come to the worst I can knock on the door of my old stand-up agent with an embarrassed grin.

“Ooh, it’s the writer!” she’ll say, meaning “You failed as a writer.” as I strap on my big clown shoes one more time.

All of which meandering pre-amble means that Royal Mail Customer Services is now fair game for a right kicking. I don’t mind burning my bridges in the mail carrying customer services industry. I don’t think that decision will cause me to starve any time soon.

I’m building this up as though there is a big revelation I’ve been bottling up for years:
(“They burn the mail you know. I seen ‘em. Big piles of it. And they dance round it, chanting.”) but there isn’t, not really.

All this is, really, is me giving myself permission to tell some tales from my past. Some of which may not paint my employer in a particularly good light.

But hey, they should have thought about that before they burnt all that mail. Am I right?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Writely Schmitely

In my continued attempt to assist Google in it's quest for global dominance, this blog is being written on their online word-processor "Writely".

In much the same way that the first telephone conversations consisted of variations on the theme of "Wow. We're using a telephone. Freakin Sweet." this will be a writely-centric blog entry.

Wow. I'm writing on Writley. Freakin Sweet.

The feature which I'm itching to try out is the collaboration option, which basically allows other people to add to and edit a piece while you're still working on it.

Imagine that.

I am certain it would feel exactly as if invisible elves were messing with you. And we all know how disconcerting that can be.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Year 3000

I found an entry in Wikipedia which really tickled me. It's titled "A timeline of fictional future events" and is just as cool as it sounds. If you can think of a science fiction story or film that postulates an event occurring at some point in the future, it's probably on there. It's incredibly anal and just the kind of thing that Wikipedia is good for.

I thought of a few of my favourite films and books, hoping to catch it out, but no, they'd all been done. They've even got plots of computer games on there, FFS.

"But what of pop songs." I thought to myself. What about Busted's "Year 3000"?

It wasn't on there!

But it is now:

"3000 - The band Busted and their neighbour Peter arrive from January 2003 in Peter's car-based time machine and discover that not much has changed but everyone lives underwater. (Busted - Year 3000)."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

An Oldie but a Goodie

Professor Carnival Dunstan

Born with both sets of genitals and a tail, Carnival Dunstan took his first name from the travelling freak show that found him abandoned as a baby in turn of the century Boulogne. His second name was picked out of a hat.

Dunstan spent many of his formative years being mocked in a cage, in his job at the local post office. Disillusioned with this life, he studied long and hard, finally gaining sufficient qualifications to pursue his lifelong dream of dropping his pants for coins from passers by.

read moreDunstan took this career as far as it would go, the crowning triumph being his sell out run at the Albert Hall, where he dropped his pants night after night to a standing ovation. On one memorable occasion his audience included The Prince Regent and Fatty Arbuckle who hailed Dunstan as “A one trick pony”. High praise indeed.

Deciding to quit at the top of his game, Dunstan left show business in 1933 and turned his attention to his other love – physics. After nine years of intense study of velocity, inertia and impact damage he gained a PHD from a professor he coshed in an alley.

He then spent four years firing chickens at car windscreens before deciding to stop mucking about and do some actual science. The real thing quickly bored him though, so he went back to the chicken firing. He also collected his toenails for a time, the surviving jars of which now fetch incredible sums on e-bay, although this may be due to a misprint stating they belonged to Don Estelle.

Dunstan died in poverty and obscurity, where he remains to this day, although his estate is campaigning to have his status upgraded to “a bit poor” and “face rings a bell”.

Could This Blog Cost Me Money?

This question floated into my mind today after a conversation with my writing agent. He was concerned that some of my blog comments could put off potential writing clients. I attempted to assuage his fears only to find myself having doubts of my own. Which lead me to the very basic question: what is the purpose of this blog?

read moreEveryone writes blogs for different reasons. But for someone who puts words together for a living, the importance of the blog takes on a whole new dimension.

I have to realise that this is a shop front. Not the only one I have, granted. Scripts sent by my agent to potential clients is usually their first experience of me and my work. But then potentially they may Google my name and end up here. Which makes what I put here fairly important.

It’s would be a shame if potential clients were bowled over by my scripts but then came here only to discover a rant denying the holocaust and a picture of me with underpants on my head. So I’m going to delete both those posts immediately.

On the other hand, I don’t want this to stop being a place where I can kick back, relax and write nonsense. Surely there must be a common ground that doesn’t lose me work?

A solution that springs to mind is to create virtual Worzel Gummidge heads.

No, really, bear with me.

These would be false personalities that I could adopt - with names, histories and perhaps even mocked up photos. These alternate voices would allow me to adopt their personalities and rant in character about whatever takes their fancy. Thus granting me total deniability.

“It wasn’t me that said that, officer. It was Curly Pieman.”

And step by step, I draw ever closer to full blown multiple personality disorder. Making me a much more interesting writer.

Everybody wins.