Saturday, 6 February 2016

Latest doings

Once again, a pathetic failure to keep up with this blog with any kind of regularity, for which I apologise to anybody who has any interest in reading the thing – which fortunately can’t be very many people, as I haven’t had much in the way of complaint for the absence of entries! Probably just as well.

I’ll try and be a bit better at adding updates as 2016 goes along, but we shall see.

It’s not as if I haven’t had things to talk about. In November I actually launched another blog, born from my previously-stated love of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Called Watching the Carol, it’s intended as an ongoing project to watch and review as many different film and television versions of A Christmas Carol as I can find. I managed to get a good few in before the end of 2015, and later this year I shall take up the thread again. It’s quite good fun to do, and although pretty pointless, isn’t everything?

 Not very seasonal for February, I realise!

I also finally finished my long-planned documentary about why so many writers seem to flock to Norwich at the end of last year, and it was broadcast on BBC Radio Norfolk twice over the Christmas and New Year period. It wasn’t one of my best programmes – it lacked a bit of colour, and was rather on the dry side. But it was interesting to do, and I did get some nice comments about it both from people who were in it and people who weren’t, so it was by no means a disaster.

I’ve already made my next feature programme, too – not really a proper documentary as such, as it’s a collection of lots of individual stories without any kind of overarching narrative, but it’s going out tomorrow at 12 midday. It’s part of the big pan-BBC People’s History of Pop initiative – a drive to try and tell the story of what it was like to be a music fan in the pop and rock era through the stories of music lovers, with tales of favourite gigs and venues, and special pieces of memorabilia.

We knew late last year that the BBC Local Radio stations were each going to be making a tie-in programme for this, and I was interested in doing it, but it was only at the beginning of last month that we found out it was going to be on as soon as the 7th of February. I’m quite pleased with it – there are some nice stories in there, and I hope I’ve done them justice. Here’s one of my favourites as a preview:

In the world of my fiction writing, I have been sort of doing a few plans and scribbles for a couple of new ideas, but nothing solid yet. I haven’t heard back from any of my last few submissions of Another Life to agencies, but did send another one off last month. I do have a second Alice Flack story very near completion – I did the bulk of it last summer, but got sidetracked by other projects for work and elsewhere in the autumn and never got it completed, but I should do so soon. The superb David Lavelle has kindly accepted another commission to do the cover for this one, so it should be up as an e-book on Amazon sometime this spring.

Non-fiction is proving to be more fruitful. After I had my David Fisher interview published in Doctor Who Magazine last year, I mentioned how I had a possible idea for another piece for them, which I then got very heavily into researching and writing. It ended up being too long and too difficult to illustrate, but having had a bit of a gap from it I have been able to edit it down a bit more pragmatically, and found what I hope are enough photos to go with it, and it looks as if it may possibly appear in the magazine sometime this year. I’ve also had discussions about something else related to DWM too, which looks as if it could result in another piece… Again, more on that if and when. But a very positive start to the year in terms of actual professional writing for which I actually get paid! I know that sounds horribly mercenary, but as I’ve said before, if someone considers your material worth actually buying, it does feel like a validation of what you do, and that you do actually have some sort of ability.

Oh, and I did finish that Scarrowbeck thing for the Treasure Quest Facebook page and Children in Need in the end. It was complete crap, apart from the first chapter, but the fans kindly donated £180, beating the target I’d set, so it wasn’t entirely worthless.