drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
After many false starts and broken promises, I present my second book, which may be familiar to very long-term readers of this LJ... There are two short stories coming from professional anthologies soon, but in the meantime...

Jean-Luc Godard's early films - right up to the pivotal Weekend (1967) were determined to prove the old adage that all you need to make a movie is "a girl and a gun". Whether in crime thrillers like the era-defining A Bout de Souffle (1960) or philosophical science-fiction masterworks like Alphaville (1965), the Nouvelle Vague auteur alternates between romance, philosophy, and action.

Many of the violent acts that appear in Godard's early films seem 'muted' in some way, however, prompting this exhaustive study of the director's techniques for depicting violence. Gunshots and car crashes happen off-screen, bottles are smashed silently on victims' skulls, and fistfights are played for comic effect.

This academic but accessible book, by film scholar, linguist and actor Andrew Lawston, explores three possible explanations for Godard's singular approach to the depiction of violence. First, that on his notoriously tight budgets, he just couldn't afford the special effects and shooting time needed to film action sequences in the way he might have wished. The second possibility is that he was worried about his films being censored. Third, could there have been a conscious artistic reason for understating the considerable violence in his films?

Working with close reference to films including A Bout de Souffle, Vivre Sa Vie, Alphaville, Pierrot le Fou, Weekend and Le Mépris, Killing me Softly is a challenging academic study of the early work of one of the world's greatest living directors.

It is available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Enjoy.



This was of course my MPhil thesis, submitted in the summer of 2002, and first self-published through Lulu in summer 2004. If you do grab a copy, please do consider leaving a review on Amazon.
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
I have this friend. He's a big lad. At Friday's rehearsal he said to me: "I bumped into James Corden today in Chesham."

It had been a long week, and the only possible response was "I'm surprised I didn't feel the tremors from here."
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I've now seen, in one form or another, about half of Red Dwarf X's six episodes. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that it's going to be utterly brilliant.

I was among a very lucky group who got to see rough cuts of two episodes last night in Soho Square. Doug, Linda (casting director) and Richard Naylor (co-producer) were there, as were Robert Llewellyn and Danny John Jules.

Everyone has their own favourite series of Red Dwarf, personally I prefer seasons 2 and 3 - some of the special effects heavy later episodes haven't aged well. I think Red Dwarf X will have something for everyone. The characters each get a reasonable amount to do. The actors are looking younger than they did in Back to Earth. The new set is awesome. What can I say that doesn't constitute a spoiler?

How about this - I've said it behind a locked post before, but I'll come out and say it again. Whatever you thought of Back to Earth, it was a celebration of 20 years of the show, a Dwarf equivalent of The Five Doctors. This is quite simply a new series of Red Dwarf. I can't smegging wait.
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I have published an e-anthology of ten of my (non-fannish) short stories! Something Nice - 10 Stories is now available from Smashwords and from Amazon. It's basically a collection of my favourite work from 2000 - 2011.

A blend of science-fiction, philosophy and the supernatural. Whatever else these stories achieve, they all made my Mum ask the same question. "Why don't you write something nice?"

Throwing Up With the Joneses tells you just why the bravest thing you can ever do is jump over your neighbour's fence. The Hero Function takes four thrilling climactic season finale scenes and shows why the hero should have just died. And meanwhile Evian stalks a post-apocalyptic Earth, seeking the last remnants of humanity, or a decent career path.

Inspired by, among others, Terry Pratchett, Marguerite Duras, Simone de Beauvoir, Douglas Adams, Albert Camus, Jean-Luc Godard, Paul Magrs, Michel Foucault, the writers of Doctor Who, and the League of Gentlemen.

It's about 23,000 words long and costs $0.99 or £0.77, depending where you buy it. Much of the material has been published before, in e-zines, blogs, small press magazines and audio, but all of the rights have now reverted to me and I'd like to put the material back out there. There's a free sample on both Smashwords and Amazon, and I hope you will at least take a look at that.
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The play was a storming success, and marks the artistic highpoint of my life so far. People laughed and cried, I got my first ever fan letter (from Jane Sherwin no less), solid professional guidance from Basil Moss, signed several apparently genuine autographs, and bored someone who may have been Duncan Bannatyne (we're still not sure) to sleep... You can't win them all. Even Darrol Blake said I did well... before adding that of course I was far too young for the part. Never change, Darrol.

Below the cut is a picture.
Cut for bigness )
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I had dinner at The Ivy on Thursday night. It's everything you ever thought and more. Cracking food, excellent wine list, superb cocktails and attentive (but not intrusive) service. There was a carcrash of papps waiting outside, and a flotilla of limos waiting to pick up sozzled celebs at the end of the night.

Sue Johnston and Richard Wilson were having dinner at the next table. I gather there were some people I'd never heard of there as well, but if a sighting of Victor Meldrew and Crime Traveller's third lead actress isn't enough to convey a flavour of the evening, I don't know what is. Richard Wilson has, like Stephanie Cole, finally reached the age bracket that he's been playing for the last 20 years. He's woefully underused as an actor, an apparently cold and haughty man whose face just lights up with unexpected force as soon as he starts talking. The first time I met him, he was with Patrick Stewart watching Antony Sher's Iago - I've since seen them both play Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and I personally thought Wilson did a better job. Recast 1960s Doctor Who with today's actors and he'd make the perfect Hartnell.

But there's no need to go to The Ivy to see a familiar face or two when you live in my neck of the woods. I went to a recording of That Sunday Night Show in Hammersmith's Riverside Studios on Friday night, with Adrian Chiles, Frank Skinner and Alexandra Burke (with her very cute dog). Chiles and Skinner headed to my local pub after the recording and I realised I've seen them in there quite a few times without clocking. I'm fairly sure I called Frank Skinner a wanker for barging ahead of me at the bar the other week. Alexandra Burke came over as very pleasant, but if I'd got the opportunity I would have stolen her dog. Her dog was that brilliant.

And then yesterday we went to another Barnes pub and Gyles Brandreth and Anneka Rice were enjoying the unseasonal sunshine in the beer garden. Alistair McGowan and Roger McGough continue to bob around the periphery of my daily life in Barnes, on buses and in pubs on a weekly basis.

I mention all this because I'm generally very bad at recognising people off of the telly, and normally people have to nudge me and whisper in my ear. At the recent SFX Weekender, I almost failed to recognise Eve Myles at one point... even though I was standing next to the signing queue for Eve Myles.

Rehearsals for Someone Who'll Watch Over Me are moving into the final few weeks. It's selling well, and I really hope to see as many of you there as possible. This will be the biggest part I ever do.
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"The Queen is not into sweat."

From March 13th - 17th, I'm appearing as Michael Watters in an amateur production of Frank McGuinness's three-hander Someone Who'll Watch Over Me at the Old Sorting Office Theatre in Barnes. The play revolves around an Englishman, Irishman and American chained to a wall in Beirut. They don't know each other, they don't like each other, and each of them is coming to the terms with both crushing boredom, and the fact that they could be taken out and shot at any moment by their unseen captors. It's harrowing, intense... and absolutely hilarious.

Tickets are available from www.barnescharityplayers.com now, and as this is an OSO show it will sell out (only 70 seats or so for each performance). I'd love as many of my friends as possible to come and see this one. It's the biggest and scariest part I've ever had, and a rare chance for me to play a psychologically 'real' character, as opposed to a comic cipher. If you never come and see me in anything else, please do consider supporting this show.

I really hope to see you there.
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I'm a sarcastic and cynical person, but I have an achilles heel. She's a little short-haired black cat with a white flash on her throat and a silvery collar. Since I acquired Buscemi in Summer 2005 (we watched Parting of the Ways together), she's been the keystone of what from the outside probably looks like quite a transient life.

And she likes to go through the wars a bit. After the initial trauma of neutering, jabs, chipping and so on, she obviously got a taste for the vet. Over the last six years, she's managed to pick up ticks the size of grapes, an abscess on one leg, a stab wound, started chewing her fur off (either in reaction to bites or as a stress reaction, not sure which) and sundry other cuts, scratches and injuries. She's eaten elastic bands and we only found out when, ahem, nature took its course, and eaten all sorts of toxic plants and household items leading to lots of colourful messes all over carpets which were thankfully rented.

Buscemi should by rights look like Bruce Willis at the wrong end of a Die Hard movie - and I was actually thinking of calling her McClane before her name stuck. But somehow she still manages to look like an adorable little fluffball, and I'm stupidly soppy with her.

And now she's gone missing.

She goes missing all the time, of course, she's a cat. But this time... it's been 40 hours. And the fur chewing had reached the stage where she was starting to hurt herself.

Yeah, I've got a self-harming cat who probably needs to be put on anti-depressants. This is not as funny as some people seem to think.

I'm worried because I was going to take her to the vet this week anyway out of general concern. She's not been right, but didn't seem bad enough to warrant an emergency appointment on a Sunday evening.

Everyone's telling me she'll show up, but I've had the back door open the last two nights and haven't even heard her jingling bell. I'm really worried, and I don't know how I'd cope without her.
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I am now a resident of Barnes. I've been living here for one month, and it's brilliant. The flat is a converted coach house. People tell me this sounds posh - to my mind it's probably posh to own a house with a coach house. Living in one is probably slightly less so.

Not that you'd know. In the catalogue it goes for a studio, but the sleeping bit has a screen, and the large shelf thing between the sofa and the dining room table acts, once a suitably vast number of books and DVDs has filled it, as a partition wall which makes the two areas feel like separate rooms.

We also have an Argos table and four chairs on the small patio which overlooks the garden of the adjoining mansion (a garden which we can enjoy at our leisure, but are in no way expected to tend. Result). I bought the furniture the day after the move, on the grounds that if we didn't get it straight away, it would get no use until next Easter. We've used it maybe six times.

I'm now apparently living on the same stretch of road as Brian May, Anita Dobson and Elle McPherson, and have finally twigged that the slightly morose old chap in the long raincoat sitting in the Red Lion really is Mr Roger McGough. What a house party that could be...

I also have an insanely snazzy laptop which can apparently do 3D if I knew which button to press and wanted to shell out an extra £100 or so. Also, I've upgraded my telly to full HD goodness. Unfortunately the only things I've watched on it so far are Doctor Who, Family Guy and a ropey DVD transfer of Grosse Pointe Blank. Working on that...

So, yeah, I'm a bit pissed off that I didn't quite manage to buy a place, but my bonus has given me the tech upgrade that I never knew I needed and a couple more grand in the bank for the eventual flat deposit. Work is going well, with next year's bonus well in hand.

Helium continues to net me a little something extra every month, but it's pretty clearly going under quickly. It's been a hell of a ride for an aspiring writer to go from maybe £25 a year to £100-£200 a month, and hopefully I'll find something to plug the gap when it eventually stops paying out. At the time of writing, Brits would rather live without a toilet than without Facebook is on the home page. As soon as it's off the home page, I intend to go back and add the Blackadder joke about the toilet being the basis of our entire culture.

On Wednesday, I have the readthrough of the script for this year's London Wetland Centre panto with Terry 'Mind Robber' Wright. I imagine it'll be just like the script readthroughs you see on Doctor Who Confidential, only without all the people trying to hide from the documentary crew and looking as though they wish they were dead. I'm playing Rabbit this year, a stonking promotion from last year's lowly part of Rabbit 2.

So, yeah, that's me. New computer, new flat, new TV. How are you?
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)

There's some riots going on. Some of the minor clashes have been pretty close to my place (Earlsfield, Wandsworth and a bit of more serious bother in Clapham Junction last night). It goes without saying that there's been a lot of exaggeration and distortion in the meeja. Life goes on, and the tasteless jokes have already started.

Having said that, London's doesn't feel like a safe place right now. My girlfriend is working half days at a childcare centre in Brixton this week, and has been passing burned out shops and flats on the way to work. Working in the City, I'm expecting emails from the same network that kept us updated during the student protests last year.

I'm obviously glad I don't live on Southfields High Street any more, although I imagine it's the least likely place for a looting-based riot inside the M25, and we spent yesterday evening quietly indoors, watching the news and listening to sirens.

But no one's even considered not going into work, or anything like that. The trains are still running (with freakish efficiency for once, in fact), the shops are still open.

We will prevail.
 

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Thanks to the awesome [personal profile] miss_s_b, I have joined Dreamwidth.

As LJ friends will know, I've been concerned recently about my old LJ account being too identifiable with my real name. I have another blog elsewhere which tosses my real name around quite freely, but that's one I use to promote my freelance writing career - there's a certain polish and lack of rant. I am relishing the chance to slip back into ranty anonymity.

Not that I have much to rant about these days. Considering the truly awful times in which we're living, barely out of one recession and with another clearly on the way, I have a fairly comfortable lifestyle. I have a cat and a girlfriend and broadband, and who can really ask for much more?

I'm moving flat in two weeks, to a lovely part of London where I've been spending ever-increasing amounts of time for the last two and a half years. Once there, I have funds set aside to buy a gaming computer - whether that's a desktop or laptop will be determined purely by whether there's space for a computer desk in the 'cosy' new flat.

Either way, I'm getting excited about game development again, and am looking forward to restarting my efforts to get a playable RPG out online under my name. Previous efforts have been patches and mods for existing games, mostly Doom 2. This is a big step for me, the format plays to my creative strengths, and I'm excited by the possibilities.

I also now officially have two novel projects on the go, and Casanova has been abandoned. It was an excellent opportunity to hone my translation skills, but I've been getting that dead horse flogging feeling.

And that's me. How are you?
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