Friday, 24 April 2009

Writing News...and fuck off Chris Moyles!


Two good things happened last week.

The first involves reports that the fat, unfunny, man Chris Moyles will be losing his job sometime soon – obviously this was instantly and furiously denied by everyone but there’s no smoke without fire I feel that everyone protesteth too much – don’t let the door smack you on your ample arse on the way out knobhead.

And secondly, Some of you may recall that I mentioned writing a play some time ago and I posted bits of it on here. You may also recall that I was sending it to the Live Theatre in Newcastle for critique and that I promised to tell you what happened – well, I’m finally in a position to let you see an abridged version of the feeback I received :-

This is a short play about childhood loves and adult ambitions. It is also about lost youth and betrayal. Four school friends, now grown up, realise that their childhood sweethearts are no longer what they need or want.

DAVEY and JO have been together since schooldays as have NICK and RONI. JO and NICK’s lives have moved on so that they no longer want to be associated with their old loves. By moving up the career ladder they assume their less successful friends are not good for them either personally or for their careers. The drama begins when JO finishes her relationship with DAVEY after a disastrous night out. NICK too decides that RONI is no good for him and ends their relationship. Rejected pair, DAVEY and RONI have much in common including low ambition and sense of humour. Flung together RONI and DAVEY inevitably become a couple but more unexpectedly RONI becomes pregnant with DAVEY’s child and they decide they will stay together and look forward to the birth of their child. With the tables turned, NICK and RONI find out that by rejecting their friends they have rejected what they most wanted in life, family and security. In this ensemble piece there are strong themes of: loyalty; betrayal; ambition and growing up. Ambition and status are the demons fuelling NICK and JO whilst DAVEY and RONI, accepting that they will never be good enough, are happy to settle for being underachievers, becoming the settled family unit that all four friends had hoped to have.

The four characters have known each other for a long time and this comes across in the dialogue. The strongest dialogue is in the monologues. Here the characters’ voices are very clear and we get a real sense of who they are.

The scenes are cleverly thought out to avoid a great deal of set changes. Each character delivering monologues to the audience allows for more character development as well as making the play more interesting to watch.

At the moment this reads as an ensemble piece but not every character is equally developed within the narrative. For example, JO begins the play wanting commitment and possibly children and realises she is unlikely to get that if she stays with DAVEY. At the end of the play when RONI discloses her pregnancy with DAVEY who turns out to be supportive and committed, JO congratulates them and leaves. Presumably, JO has very strong feelings about what she has just heard but we don’t get to hear her point of view.
The monologues work well and add another dimension to the characters.

In some of the dialogue there is a tendency to write directions for the actors e.g. pleadingly, sarcastically. It might be worth taking these directions out to check whether the dialogue reflects these directions. Using subtext would strengthen the dialogue. For example, while it is clear what NICK and JO have given up by leaving their respective partners it is not clear how RONI and DAVEY really feel about being flung together by circumstance. There must be some tension between them as we know they were attracted for many years to complete opposites. From her monologue, we know RONI knows that DAVEY went out with JO for a bet. It is possible that she has doubts about his commitment to her.

So, it took a while but I think it was worth it – I’ve got a couple of useful pointers with where to take it now and once I’ve developed it further I’m gonna wing it to the BBC so they can stick it in their ‘Northern’ box.

Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Chasing Cars...and other shite.

Alreet kids, how’s it gannin?

Not much going on this week really. I’ve been working on my latest novel ‘Chasing Cars’ and as a special treat if you click on the link below you ‘ll see the prologue…well, until I re-write it anyway!

Chasing Cars

The toon got their first point under Big Al against Stoke. Dire match like but Carroll made all the difference when he came on I thought- we started winning headers and everything.

I’ve been thinking about fate a lot recently as well – it bothers me that my life might have been pre-determined before I was even born. It would explain some stuff but would also nark me beyond belief cos that would mean that every decision I ever made meant nowt doesn’t it? I could have just sat on my fat, Geordie arse and let it all happen without lifting a finger – seems to work for most of the tabloid fodder in this country anyway – and got to where I am now without breaking sweat.

So with that in mind I tried selling me soul to the devil but the fucker wasn’t interested - turns out I haven’t got one…..

Aye, I’m bored…..

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Mick Dennis...get a fucking grip son!

I was reading The Express on Wednesday, not a bad paper – they have the usual histrionics about whatever’s in vogue at the minute but they’re usually fairly even handed about things.

Not so Mr. Dennis – he has a weekly column which is mainly football based but sometimes takes in other sports and he tends to use this column to slate, abuse, mock and generally vent his spleen at….Geordies.

Mr Dennis or ‘the ugly fucking mong from East Anglia’ as he’s affectionately known in our house slags us off at every given opportunity and tends to use generalisations such as ‘The Toon Army tell us that…’ because of course he’s met every Newcastle fan…and they all think the same thing...and they all told him.

This weeks bile, masquerading as journalism, took the form of slating Alan Shearer and going on about how he went on too long in an England shirt conviently ignoring the media campaign of the time, which his own paper took part in, to get Shearer back playing in the team.

He also has a go at the fans and claims that even if we turn up in numbers next season in the lower leagues then we’ll still be shit and fickle etc. He’s a Norwich fan and I don’t think we’ve ever done them any bad turns so I fail to understand his hatred of Newcastle United, The City and Novocastrians in general. In fact, there can be only one explanation in my mind and as he’s got a face like Quasimodo’s aborted twin brother I think it’s not a bad shout:-

Mick, was your wife banging a Geordie behind your back mate? Did she tell you he was better than you…and bigger?

Let it go son…let it go…