Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Writers Tale.

Well, after much hooing and haaing (are they words? Must look them up in Sprouty's Everyday Dictionary) i am interviewing The Writer.
I am doing this live, so i will write the answers as they are given to me.
Imagine the scene-
I'm in the kitchen, at the laptop- he's in the sitting room, at his altar, with David Attenborough telling us both, rather loudly about a salmons journey.
That actually may be more interesting...we'll have to see how this pans out.

S0, Sy- when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

'I started writing when i was a kid. my dad had quite a lot of books around the place and i found them rather interesting. The Ian Fleming stuff seemed much more interesting than real life.'

What was the first thing that you wrote about?

'My dad insists he found this little Ian Fleming pastiche that i had written when i was very young, but i've no idea how old i was- i got into films and moving making when i was 11 or 12, so it must have been prior to that.'

What was your first commisioned piece and who was it for?

'That would have been for Opera North-for a Danish Opera that had never been performed professionally in Britain and they needed an English Language libretto, and it was the Director who asked me to do it- she thought it was my sort of thing (laughs.)

What has been the most obscure thing you have written?

Open University stuff and a piece for the Dundee Industrial Heritage Centre, about Scott's first trip to the Antartic.

And your favourite, to date?

Darkside- a four part thriller written for the BBC, that so nearly got to see the light of day.
I've read it- it's bloody brilliant, and i'm not just saying that because i'm the wife-It scared the shit out of me.

How do you get in the right frame of mind to write?

You just have to start and do it. You can't sit and wait for inspiration. (more laughter.) He's in a good mood tonight.

You've written everything from television, through to plays, and now books. Which do you prefer?

Each one is very different. I like how disciplined writing for telly is, but i really got to hate all the re-writing crap. Theatre's great because you get to feel the audience reaction to what you have written really quickly. Books...haven't decided yet.

Ok...on to books. 'Commanding Youth' (the Arthur book) is going well- what is the most interesting and unusual piece of information that you have found out about him?

Where his grave is. Without a doubt. That piece of information is going to blow peoples minds Hopefully.

And Shakespeare is hot on his heels- the same question.

Probably, that he was murdered, from the evidence i've uncovered.

So, do you think that people will be more interested in reading about their deaths than their lives?

No. There are lots of big surprises, about both men.

How do you keep so focussed writing such detailed hisory?

It's like being a detective, getting and sorting all the facts and then putting them together, in the right order. There is more information than you could dream, about these men. It's just knowing where to look for it. Nobody has looked in the right places before.

What's your dream?

To be able to write what i want, and for that to be able to pay for the lifestyle i want.
( i do my best, you know...!)

Do you think writers who drink make better writers?

No. I don't drink when i'm writing. But that doesn't mean i'm not under the influence of something when i write....

Favourite book?

Red Shift by Alan Garner.

And writer?

Alan Garner again. He's very precise.

If you hadn't become a writer, what would you have done instead?

Apart from staying with acting, either war reporting or forensic psychiatry.

And finally ( for the time being, because i might do this again at some point) does your wife support you through the writing process. Details please, as this is her blog.

She keeps me fed and watered. She offers advice and suggestions. She asks very pertinant questions. And she believes in me. I think.

And on that note, Sy tells me he is off down the garage to get some ciggy papers, and so here endeth the first lesson.

Till next time,
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Sunday, 8 February 2009

What's the name of the game...?

Why, six nations rugby of course.
Today- Scotland versus Wales.
As you already know, I'm the one with Scottish roots.
What you may not know, is that The Writer is of Welsh origin.

It all started amicably.
It always does. We settled down with beer, our favourite rugger shirts, dug out from the back of the wardrobe, and a 'do not disturb sign' blu-tacked to the front door.

But it didn't take long for it all to go wrong.
Sy is torn between the telly and the computer, leaping to his feet every so often to punch the air and punch a few letters on the keyboard in one fluid movement.
I, on the other hand, have not moved.
That's a lie- i moved to collect the laptop from the kitchen, and am typing this as i peer half-heartedly across the top of the laptop at the telly, because once again, i have lost the will to live, and can't bear to watch the match in full screen.

We are losing.
Of course.
There may be a miracle....but i'm not hopeful.
There are 15 minutes left to play. If by some chance Scotland win, i will get very drunk.
And as you know, i don't get drunk very often as i get into all sorts of trouble.
But If Wales win (again), then i might have to leave the house for a little while.

Sy tells me that Wales wear red 'So the blood doesn't show'.
The point is, whose blood is he talking about..?

I know whose it will be in this house.

Till next time,
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Burn's Night... but not as you know it

I know it was a week ago, but i had to wait for the pics.
Being of true Scottish heritage, i get a bit 'precious' about Burn's Night.

And i had every reason to be worried.
You will see the motley crew- well the men-folk anyway.

Braveheart has a lot to answer for.
Their attire left a lot to be desired, ranging from a Frenchman who wore trousers under his kilt, to my mate John, who looked more like Captain Sensible than a Scottish warrior.

The food was fabulous, (lovely haggis and neeps) i didn't drink any Scotch and Sy recited 'Tam O'Shanter, all twelve minutes of it, from memory.
Except for the the last four lines.
He fell over at that point.
Well, there was sooo much Scotch swilling around and you know what he's like....

Highlight of the evening was the Frenchman in his kilt and trousers reciting 'To A Mouse'.
I defy anyone to understand it, even when a Scot is telling the tale.
But this was truly something else.
If i'd recorded him, it would be number one hit on Youtube by now.
There's always next year, i suppose.

Till next time
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

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