Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mageweave bandage, stat!

I was out for the booze with my mate Paul last night. Paul is head nurse at a cardiac ward, and takes my regular 'I know!, that's exactly what it's like at writers' meetings!' interjections with good heart.

ME: I've been waiting for these phone calls, so I've spent the last three days playing Warcraft, doing loops round Darkshire looking for silver ore.

PAUL: You twat.

ME: (humbly) Yes.

PAUL: You want to go to the Badlands, near the ogre mounds.

Three pints later:

ME: ... so Tmara, the dwarf paladin, does all the mining in the harder levels, and sends back the ore to Zing, my drenai paladin, so she can use it for jewelcrafting. I'm like a one-woman guild.

PAUL: What?

ME: I said I'm like a one-man guild.


Thursday, June 28, 2007


I thought this deserved its own post, rather than being tucked away on the last one. Although you might have to be conversant with lolcats to appreciate the nuances, such as they are.


"Organisers of the upcoming London Pride festival have decided to show the season finale of Doctor Who at the outdoor gay event.

According to Pink News, a big screen will be erected in Trafalgar Square to broadcast the episode on Saturday June 30th in order to please the hit show’s substantial gay following."

Further proof that Doctor Who is football for teh gayz. Please can someone record the cheers and 'ooh' noises as an alternative DVD commentary, it would be brilliant.

/slight patronisingness

I'll have to catch the Sunday repeat, due to trains, gahhhh.

ALSO: I really want a t-shirt of the Master eating jellybabies, with a 'nom nom nom' caption.

Tony Blair becoming a Catholic then.

I don't usually do politics and/or religion here, but something about this whole thing has slightly freaked me out.

I never had much contact with Catholics, growing up in the North (Presbyterians) then moving to Cornwall when I was eight (Methodists). There weren't exactly dreaming spires at Derby Poly either, their Christian Union being made of one bloke who kept apologising, and although Canterbury has some religious connotations a) I'm fairly sure they're not Catholic, and b) I mostly hung out with jewite homosexualists anyway.

So weirdly, I never even met any Catholics until I started working in television, and they were definitely lapsed, and didn't want to talk about it. Thus my knowledge of Catholicism is, at best, a tad sketchy.

So, what I want to know then:

1. Does Tony Blair hate gays and jews now? (this will help him in his new job I suppose)

2. Is he against contraception?

3. If the answer to 1) and 2) are 'no', does he in some way believe that the rituals and ceremonies of catholicism have actual effects (like casting 'Protect From Evil' in D&D) that your standard/Anglican church doesn't?

If the answer to this is 'no' also, then:

4. Does he just like candles?

UPDATE: or, I suppose, 5. Did Cherie make him do it? She's Liverpudlian, isn't she, they're terribly sentimental.*

UPDATE 2: Just so other religions don't feel left out, an excellent Even Stephen

* Unless Carla Lane lied to me, which is looking increasingly possible.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sometimes you look back on a sketch and think 'you know, I can sort of see why this one got rejected'.*



Three blokes, already mid-conversation.

... fifteen.

(embarassed) eighteen. I know. It’s shit.

Fourteen, and... with my maths teacher.

No way.

She was a supply teacher.

Oh, okay.

Right, right, slightly different question: first sexual experience. You know what I mean. How old and where.

Ah. twelve, I think. Found some magazines down the bottom of the football field.

Same. Different field though.

(to Man 2) You?

Thirteen, late starter again, but (pleased with self)... London Zoo!

1 and 3 look impressed.

Wanked off by a tiger.

They stare at him.

I know. Stuff you do when you’re a kid.

A man dressed as a tiger?

Why the fuck would I let myself be wanked off by a man dressed as a tiger?

A real tiger?

Yes! I was looking in his cage, my parents had gone off to look at the termites and... I just got closer and closer, and before I knew it...

The others digest this.

He had lovely fur.


(annoyed) All right, Judgey McJudge!

The others go quiet.

Christ, wish I hadn’t said anything now.

* Although in retrospect, it didn't really fit in with the general tone of the third series of Bob the Builder hahahahhahahaha *falls off chair*

Friday, June 22, 2007

Now with wolves, IN SPACE!*

Blog's suffering a bit at the moment, as I''ve been finishing the third draft of Hero Trip, although I did stumble across The Movie Binge, highly recommended if you want a film review website that treats you like a grown-up and doesn't run to triple exclamation marks.

The Film Council (god bless them all) commissioned two more drafts of HT and gave me a script editor, Camilla, who knows about plots and structure and all that stuff that Green Wing didn't really have. Camilla is tops, basically.

The story got broken down, and plotted out on a whiteboard (I used index cards at one point, which made me feel like randomly shouting 'Go away, I'm working!' even though no-one was there), and Camilla said things like 'ah, you see, the plot's already there, you just have to bring it out a bit', which was nice of her, if, I suspect, not entirely true.


I think the whiteboard successfully shows that writing is HARD WORK and not sitting around going 'ummm' and sighing a lot. Note that I have blown up a thumbnail picture of the whiteboard which means you can see the shape, not any of the individual words, so no-one can steal my genius idea THIS MEANS YOU SPIELBERG.

Thus far, the drafts seem to have perfectly followed the Universal Law of Film Drafts:

DRAFT ONE (ORIGINAL): great characters, fun dialogue, lots of entertaining moments, not really a plot, you could probably put the majority of the scenes in any order and it would still make just as much sense. Doesn't so much end as peter out.

DRAFT TWO: now an bristling, plot-driven machine of a piece, pumped up with extra rah. Except it didn't have room for much of the fun 'two blokes in a car' stuff, which was what people really liked about the original draft.

DRAFT THREE: back to the spirit of the first draft, but now with more actual, you know, events, so that although there's still lots of two blokes in a car talking, things actually happen and progress during those conversations, with repercussions further down the line. It's a whole new thing, and I think it might catch on.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: I have no idea.

* There aren't any wolves. But one bit is nearly in space.

Monday, June 18, 2007

WOW what a CV

Patroclus (who has a proper job and thus knows about this kind of thing) tells me that the bigger software companies are encouraging anyone who's a moderator on a forum, or runs a guild in World of Warcraft to put these things on their CVs as examples of 'leadership'. This tickles me.

'I have considerable experiece with fireballs in underground environments. My greatest weakness is my constant distraction by mithril veins in the middle of combat situations. Also, my other identity is that of a skimpily-dressed female elf'.

Try and say all that a few years ago, people would have just stared at you.

In other news, I saw the last ten minutes of Saturday's Doctor Who (did we all know m'chum James Moran is writing an episode for Series Four?) and am about to catch up on the start. The appearance of a certain actor at the end made Patroclus squeak with delight, aww bless.

UPDATE: okay, she's not that skimpily dressed. Quite demure really.

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Last night I read a Jeremy Clarkson book.

My parents are away on holiday at the moment, so I'm looking after the house, and the garden, which although not big, is crammed with lovely fruit and veg, including strawberries, new potatoes, lettuce and lots of stuff which isn't ready yet (squashes, sweetcorn, raspberries).

The one condition of me staying and guzzling all the food is that I have to water the plants every day (the dogs are in kennels, phew). Except it's been raining every day since I got back, SO I HAVEN'T HAD TO DO A THING! HAHAHAHAHA!

Sometimes it's the small victories that count.

The Jeremy Clarkson book was the one about machines, which was quite good. Last christmas some buffoon gave my dad a collected Clarkson columns book. I will always treasure my Dad looking pleased, settling down to read and then continually saying 'Hmm, not sure I agree with him there', 'Not got his facts right on that one' and 'What's he talking about?'

For the record, I would quite like Jeremy C if he just stopped going on about The Gays, even in semi-jest. I've been watching too much Top Gear though, I was wandering about with Patroclus the other day, walked past a small black sports car and said 'That's the one I want, it's on a Smart chassis you know'. It wasn't of course. In fact I think it may have been a tree.

PS: I have looked in the cupboards for cooking chocolate and jelly cubes, but thus far have found none. The search continues.

PSS: Richard has reminded me that my encounters with the parental garden have not always ended positively.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bing Bong

Blimey, three excellent Doctor Who episodes in a row!

*holds up a round black plastic object*

Is this a record?

Anyway, if you've ever wondered how the old British class system is ticking along, the best possible time to find out is on public transport. During a mild crisis.

Two seconds after the news of the cancellation of every single train leaving from Paddington this morning due to a power failure had filtered through to the first class lounge (yeah yeah, if you book ahead it's only a tenner more, and the extra legroom is handy), a man in a suit turns bright red.


The lady in the yellow tabard smiles blankly. I am on her side.

News circulates that if we all peg it to the Tube, follow native guides to Waterloo and storm the platform, there is a possibility of a small train heading roughly South West. This we do, and I manage to find the first class bit, guessing that residual class fear will keep the commoners from taking any free seats for at least another ten minutes. I am correct.

It also becomes apparent that every single person in my carriage is, regardless of whether they bought a first class ticket or not, heading to Cornwall to stay in one of their second or third homes. The nice Irish lady next to me and I begin quietly plotting their deaths.

A ticket inspector comes through and announces that anyone not in possession of a first class ticket will have to move out. Everyone looks at me, because I am scruffy,with slightly mad hair and a hooded top. I take out my first class ticket, and rub tiredly at my right eye with my index finger, which means I am SECRETLY MAKING RUDE GESTURES AT THEM ALL. Hahahahah, twats.

One middle-aged lady is asked to give up her seat so a passenger with a first-class ticket can have a seat. She struggles loudly, and with poor grace, but eventually stands up. When the passenger himself arrives (bald man, suit), she draws herself up and brays poshly:


Bald Man in Suit: (utterly unruffled) Yes.

He sits down. Rest of carriage glares at him. Nice Irish lady and I get the giggles.

More conversation ensues, mostly to do with the annoyance of how annoying it is to pay a small amount of council tax on a home you only use two weeks out of year. Then there is a debate about whether Plymouth is in Cornwall (it isn't).

Man in Tweed: No, you see, when the train gets past the bridge, all the little local people sort of huddle together and speak in Cornish.

Me: That's it, I'm going to KICK THEIR ARSES.

Nice Irish Lady: Ooh lovely dear, I'll hold them down.

I didn't in the end, because the train got into Reading and the whole sorry process had to begin again. Sorry, rubbish ending.

* I could have said 'yeah yeah, I got a lift home in my mate cello's chauffeur-driven car Thursday, you ain't all that, buster', but I only just thought of it.

I left the Patrocloflat at eleven this morning. Got to mine at eight.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Oh balls

I wrote a great long post about this person who had her self portrait nicked and used as a pr0n DVD cover, and then it vanished when I accidentally slightly nudged the left side of my laptop, which one time in three causes it to go dead instantly and without warning. This was one of those times.

But yes, it must be rather annoying, particularly as it's a very good photo, and the bird herself was only fourteen at the time, so also, ew. She's got a good website though, so even if she isn't able to sue the arse of the people what done nicked her photo, she might get some work out of it at some point.

This did all remind me though that the blue cat photo up on the right there was just something I nicked at the time. I don't even remember where it came from, but anyway, if you did take that photo, I hope you don't mind me using it, and I'd be happy to put a link up to your website, which is surely worth more that all the money in the world.

In other news, I have been staying in Scotland briefly, meeting Patroclus's gran ('Do you know anything about finance dear?'). We picked up the rental car from bay 101, were given room 101 in the hotel, and last night sat at restaurant table 101.


ALSO: this only really makes sense if you've seen the end of the second season of The OC. But if you have, it's v v g.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


My Cornish teen drama thing seems to be moving on apace, and there is now a not-entirely-discountible possibility that a pilot episode will be made this summer. Obviously just by mentioning this, the whole project is now massively fecked, but I thought I'd use this as an excuse to set some pointers on doing accents: specifically Cornish.

The Cornish accent is something an awful lot of people get horribly wrong. Standard procedure, when I mention I'm from Cornwall, is for people to say 'ere now, ooooaaaaargh, har har'. Which is actually an impression of a mad pirate. From Devon.

I, personally, myself, was born in Blackpool (with little or no assistance, I had to do most of the work myself), then moved down to Cornwall in my eights (as nobody says). The local children received my thick Lancastrian vowels with a mixture of hysterical giggling and poking with sticks, so as a brave act of self-assertion and political defiance, I shed it overnight, to be replaced by a rather old-fashioned Received Pronunciation, although words like 'buried' still betray my shameful northern lower middle class upbringing (I thought I was properly middle class until I started working in television/blogging). Apart from when I'm pissed, when I do, to be honest, sound a bit West Country. It's like getting drunk with three different people, all of them quite likely to go on about roleplaying games and Sophie Ellis-Bextor* rather too much.

I have also claimed in the presence of a proper american film producer to be 'jewish actually, although I don't go on about it' (because I'm not). We planned to go to Israel together and have a shalom (I'm hazy about the details), but then the whole thing was abandoned, as we only did it to wind up a nearby television producer who we suspected of rabid anti-semitism. It worked rather too well, and she's now in prison.

Once, for about a day, I decided I was kind of Native American, because of something a girlfriend at the time had said (specifically: 'you look a bit Native American sometimes') but no-one at Waterstone's believed me, so I let it drop.

Anyway (Jesus, let me get on with it!), the bona fide Cornish accent can be characterised by its two central ingredients: a gentle quizzicality, mixed with an implied threat of extreme violence, thusly:

"Tis good to see you having a nice party, m'andsomes, but if them bangin' 'ouse tunes don't get turned down to a considerate level come 'leven, me and Piran'll be back dreckly, whereupon we'll smash you all up."

And lots of people from Cornwall don't have strong accents at all, so if you're an actor and you're thinking of being in my pilot episode, only do a Cornish accent if you're from there (and the plan is to hire only people within a two-mile radius of my flat), otherwise, don't bother.

That's all I wanted to say, really.

* Who does not, by the way, look like she has 'a cat's face stretched across a plate' thank you Patroclus. Or if she does, it's a lovely cat, and a very nice plate. But obviously you're much prettier, and what does SE-B know about Neal Stephenson eh? Nothing, that's how much etc.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Oralympics Logo

So, that Olympics logo then...

It's not just me that thinks it looks like, well, you know, is it? Surely?

UNFORTUNATE QUOTES UPDATE: "This is the vision at the very heart of our..... brand," said London 2012 organising committee chairman Seb Coe, standing behind an unusually ornate podium.*

Immediately after this statement, his eyes rolled back and he reported an 'enormous sense of relief'. 'No, no,' he also said to a cleaner who was about to go around the back of the podium, 'that's fine, I'll sort all that out later' (I made up everything after the first sentence).

* Blue Cat: Stealing Jokes From Police Academy Movies Since 1984.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It is also customary, when entering a train carriage, to introduce yourself by shaking hands with all the other passengers.*

I am at a barbecue with, amongst others, a very nice American television network casting person, who has never been out of America before, and is still getting to grips with London on her third day in the city.

NCP: I got on this bus, and I tried to ask the guy if he went down a particular road? And he's like 'I don't know'. And then he wouldn't talk any more. I don't understand, how can he not know where his bus goes?

ME: Ah no, he just didn't want to engage with you. That would be a sign of weakness.

NCP: But you British people seem so polite!

ME: Only in certain situations. Aside from that, I'm afraid we're a bunch of complete cunts.

NCP looks a little disappointed. Later, she tells us how much she likes the fact that our more relaxed attitude to alcohol at an earlier age installs us with a respect for drink, and an ability to appreciate wine and beer for the taste rather than their ability to render us shit-faced and abusive. Shamefacedly, we have to tell her she is probably thinking of the French. NCP looks disappointed again.

Later on, whilst explaining how the BBC works, NCP looks shocked.

NCP: So this 'licence fee' is basically a tax? They make you pay a television tax?

We all shout at her.

I feel bad about this, as my policy has always been to treat Americans in the UK with the utmost sensitivity and tact, because they're the ones who have bothered to explore the rest of the world, and so should be rewarded. Also, the American tourists I have encountered have always been polite, enthusiastic and charming, so it's quite easy to be nice back. I decide to gird my loins, and shore up some support for my country, before NCP becomes utterly disillusioned. I tell her how enthused I am at the moment by American television, the best of which is making our stuff look like the load of lowest-common-denominator, celebrity-worshipping, mean-spirited pile of old plop that, er, it is.**

NCP: So what US stuff do you like?

ME: Um... Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, Dexter, Heroes, The OC-

NCP: (doubtfully) 'The OC'?

ME: Well, only the first couple of series, but yeah, I think it's-

NCP: The OC's kinda shitty.

I narrow my eyes. Finally:

ME: Have you ever tried the echo in the british library reading room?

NCP: They let you do that?

ME: They love it.

* I think both these are courtesy of Alan Coren. Or possibly Willy Rushton, in which case I don't have to worry about it, because he's dead.

UPDATE: further research suggest both these jokes were originally released into the wild by Gerard Hoffnung

**Apart from Doctor Who, which has unaccountably turned in the last few episodes into the GREATEST TELEVISION EVER.