Thursday, December 31, 2009

On Year-End Retrospectives and Lack of Motivation

So, it's that time of year again. Time to look back, and, well..

I'm dubbing 2009 The Year of Stressful Externalities.

I bought my first home. Exciting, but stressful as hell.

I spent most of the summer and autumn arguing with the landlord of the place we'd been renting. Also stressful as hell, and not even one tiny bit exciting.

I bought four camper vans. I'll post about this in detail later as I think I finally have enough perspective to see the whole saga as funny rather than tragic. Excitement: yes. Stress: yes x4.

I spent a lot of time worrying about money. Excitement: no. Stress: yes.

There's reason to think all of these external factors will sort themselves out in 2010. Indeed, some of them already have. But in 2009, their combined force produced a big fat writing fail.

It wasn't all fail. I submitted sketches to open-door radio shows and got something into one of them, which was extremely gratifying. But in terms of progressing my spec scripts, networking, and even updating this blog, I can only borrow a phrase from gaming: epic fail.

2010 will be better. Or I'll kick its teeth out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Newsjack Series 2

fromTilusha Ghelani
dateMon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:34 PM
subjectComedy Writing Opportunity


I am emailing you because you submitted comedy material to Recorded for Training Purposes. There is a show beginning in the first week of 2010 which takes submissions from Non-Commissioned writers.

Newsjack is a topical comedy sketch show on BBC Radio 7. If you are interested in submitting material to the show, please follow the writer's guide here:

Please pass on the details to anyone you know who might be interested in submitting material. Forgive me if you have already received this.

Best wishes and merry Christmas,

Tilusha Ghelani
Producer, BBC Radio Comedy

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Charlie Brooker on Jan Moir on Stephen Gately

I have to admit, I didn't know who Stephen Gately was until I read his obituary. For the similarly ignorant, he was a member of Boyzone, and he died of pulmonary oedema, i.e. fluid on the lungs.

Unless you talk to Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir, who seems to think he died of being gay. The sub-title of her column, before it was changed, read "There Was Nothing Natural About Stephen Gately's Death".

Writing in the Guardian, Charlie Brooker gives the woman the skewering she deserves, and does it in a much more eloquent and less sweary manner than I ever could.

You're a good man, Charlie Brooker.

[Edited to correct a grammatical error.]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Billy

Billy the Bookcase is 30 this year. Read all about it here.

If you don't know who -- or more accurately, what -- Billy the Bookcase is, just follow the link and all will become instantly clear. You've got Billy, I'm almost sure of it. You've probably got several of Billy. I've got a couple myself.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Recorded for Training Purposes, Series 4

For those of you who do the open-door radio comedy thing, Recorded for Training Purposes have just put out the writers' brief for series 4. You can find it on the BBC Writersroom site here.

The ever-fabulous Jasop Arnopp went from a member of the dirty unwashed sketch-submitting masses last series, to a member of the commissioned writing team this series, so this particular open door can definitely lead to the opening of further doors. (I didn't get anything in last series, but I did make it onto the producer's "does not suck" list. I'm hoping to go one better this time and achieve "is actively any good" status.)

Pencils ready. And... begin.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Gone Camping

Greetings from the back of my camper van. At the moment, the back of my camper van is parked at a former socialist youth camp in The Netherlands. (To avoid confusion, the front of my camper van is parked about three feet in front of the back of my camper van.)

Starting on Thursday, the campsite will be hosting HAR 2009. As of today, the campsite is hosting a lot of tent pitching and placing of wireless hubs in trees.

We came over on the Dover-Calais ferry on Thursday evening and got as far as Brugge before camping out in a motorway service station car park. (Not as awful as you'd think -- Belgian motorway service stations have 24-hour facilities including showers.) Come Friday morning, the rest of the drive was reasonably easy.

The most exciting event at the campsite so far has been the arrival from Germany of the first shipment of Club-Mate. This stuff is as close as you can get to a European version of Mountain Dew -- highly caffeinated, not particularly nice tasting, faintly revolting as a concept, but strangely addictive. You should try some. You know you want to.

Monday, July 13, 2009

James Moran Gets an Undeserved Kicking

James Moran, for those who don't know, wrote Severance and currently writes for Torchwood. I haven't met him personally, but many of my friends have, and they say he's a top bloke.

He's also got a blog, on which he gave commentary and behind-the-scenes information about last week's Torchwood: Children of Earth serial.

He's unlikely to do that again, because the wanker section of Torchwood fandom went and ruined it.

I know it's not nice to call people wankers, but they went onto James's blog and left comments that would make you think James had slept with their partners, burned down their houses, and murdered their cats. All because something happened on a TV show, and they didn't like it.

I know how easy it is to love a TV show so much you take it personally. I loved The X-Files that much in the 90s, and I took it very personally indeed when my favourite smart paranormal drama turned into an incoherent pile of cliches unworthy of the worst soap opera writer in Christendom.

I'm not saying that's what happened to Torchwood, by the way. I haven't actually seen the serial in question. But even if I did see it and hate it with an intensity usually reserved for paedophiles and the BNP, that wouldn't give me licence to hurl personal insults at the writers on their own blogs.

Play fair kids, or the other kids will take their ball and go home.