Wednesday, 12 December 2007

I Predict an Audio Book

Received a quite remarkable package today from the good people at Clipper Audio/WF Howes who have released a number of my books on cd/tape over the past few years. Now these are none of your edited versions, you get every fricken word. Well I opened up the box and there was a beautiful package containing the audio book of 'I Predict A Riot' - on a staggering twenty cds and lasting some twenty one and a half hours. And all read by actor Adam Moore, who deserves some kind of a medal. Now I think these are mainly aimed at libraries, or the visually impaired, or people going on long journeys - i.e. the first manned mission to Mars - and I'm not entirely convinced that life isn't too short to devote twenty one and a half hours to listening to anything I write, but if audio books are your thing, then you should check it out. Considering how long it lasts it's not extravagantly priced either.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

And the award goes to.....

I'll be presenting an award at the Prince's Trust gala dinner at the Culloden Hotel outside Holywood (Co.Down) on December 6. The evening will act as a major fundraiser for the charity in Northern Ireland (and will hopefully be one of the largest charity ever seen here), and will feature special guests and live performances from well known artists. The only award I've ever received - apart from one quarter of a Scottish Bafta, see below - is the Betty Trask Prize. Any award with Betty in the title can't be that prestigious. Although more prestigious than one with Doris.
The emphasis here is on 'received' of course, as I did WIN an award a few months back, but it was more spiritual than tangible (i.e. there was no cash involved, or even a trophy, not even a small one, or a certificate, or something scrawled on the back of a beer mat. ) This was from Declan Burke's rather wonderful Crime Always Pays website which is THE essential guide to Irish crime fiction (it may also be the ONLY guide to Irish crime fiction, but I'm not sure, I don't get out much) . This was the inaugural Crime Always Pays Poll to discover the Funniest Irish Crime Fiction Writer, Like, Ever™. And I quote: 'To no one’s real surprise, The Artist Formerly Known As Colin Bateman topped the vote with 47%, followed by Eoin Colfer and Ruth Dudley Edwards sharing 23% each, and Pauline McLynn coming home with 9%. '
Wonderful as this is, I have to point out that Crime Always Pays has been quite detrimental to my writing career, as every time I log on I spend hours going through the blog and thus end up getting no work done at all. It's everything a blog should be - informative, funny and done with obvious love. i.e. unlike this one, which I am contractually obliged to provide.

Top Rankin

A fantastic quote in this month's Good Housekeeping as Ian Rankin picks I Predict A Riot as the very book he'd like to receive in his Christmas Stocking ' he's a Northern Irish writer whose crime novels are funny as well as gripping- hard to pull off'. Not that I've ever bought Good Housekeeping. Is there a Bad Housekeeping? Is there a Dust and Cat Hairs and Black Bananas Monthly? Yes, you heard it right. I have a cat. Actually, my son has a cat. But it has attached itself to me. I don't like cats. I'm a dog man. Not allowed one. So we have a cat. Once a week she brings in a mouse or a large black bird through the cat flap and I have to go down and wrestle it free, give it the kiss of life, then release it back into the wild. I consider this to be my good deed for the day. Then I go out and shoot chickens with my shotgun.

Doc of the Bay

The BBC Documentary 'Bateman on Bangor: Light of the World' went out last night to great viewing figures and critical acclaim (i.e. my brother said it was dead good) . Thanks to everyone who has been in touch to say they enjoyed it, and to those who didn't .....fuck off! Actually that last one is for the lady who got in touch to say swearing isn't big or clever and a sign of lack of intelligence. Well I know that. Interestingly the only letters of complaint I've received for any of the books have been for I Predict A Riot - and from readers complaining about the LACK of swearing.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Mohammed Maguire website launched

We've now launched a stand alone website for the movie version of 'Mohammed Maguire' if you would all care to take a look. The script is written, the director is signed up - that's me, obviously, I have a certain pull in these matters - and all that's now required is some cigar chomping bigwig to come in and finance the damn thing. Go to:

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

King Billy....alive after all

A while back I wrote about King Billy, the Opera, the piece I created with composer Jules Maxwell. It was a ten minute excerpt from a full length opera commissioned by the Opera Theatre Company in Dublin. Everything went very quiet after we delivered our piece and I presumed the project had been binned, but suddenly it's up and running again and will be workshopped for a week in Belfast in May, and then staged at the Baby Grand Opera House, and after that in Dublin. Yikes!

Titanic 2020

I've just delivered the second in my children's adventure series, Titanic 2020: Cannibal City. Had great fun with this can you not, with cannibals? It's due for release towards Summer next year.

Mohammed Maguire

It has always been my dream to direct a movie version of 'Mohammed Maguire', and back in May I at least had the opportunity to explore how it might turn out when I attended the Moonstone Directors Course in Germany. The course allows you to shoot some selected scenes from your script, using a volunteer crew and actors. Essentially you create a demo tape - it's not really for public consumption as such because it's pretty experimental and the equipment you get to use is very basic, but we thought, what the hell, let's get it out there. So to that end Pearse Moore at Raw Nerve productions has put some of the footage up on's very much 'no budget' film making, but it gives an idea of how it all might work if someone was daft enough to give me a few million quid to make the movie. If you want to take a peek you should go to If you want to give me a few million quid you should e-mail me IMMEDIATELY.


My episode of 'Rebus' went out in October. It was called 'The First Stone' and was an original script, although I borrowed some elements of the sub plot from one of Ian Rankin's short stories, 'Atonement'. The series was named best TV series at the Scottish Baftas on Sunday. As there were four episodes in the series, I guess that means I have won a quarter of a Scottish Bafta. SMG, the company who make Rebus, have also optioned a script I've written called 'Mystery Man' to develop as a tv series, but again it's early days on that as well. I will probably write it as the novel after next.

Maid of the Mist

......something happening with 'Maid of the Mist' - it has been optioned by a Canadian company, Darius Films, and they're about to start work on a script. It's early days yet, but they certainly seem enthusiastic about the project.

The Panel

.....was a guest on RTE's satirical comedy show The Panel this week.....a somewhat nervewracking experience as competing with four stand up comics for laughs was never going to be easy.....but they were very nice to me and the programme went well.....I think. A few beers before hand helped.....and very many afterwards helped as well.


I get a lot of e-mails enquiring whatever happened to the movie version of Cycle of Violence, which was retitled Crossmaheart. It was made just before Divorcing Jack, directed by Henry Herbert, and besides playing at a few festivals disappeared without trace. There was no video or DVD release. A few weeks ago my brother, who has a small but important part in the movie, phoned me in a state of great excitement to say it was currently showing on one of the digital channels - 'Movies for Men'. Despite sounding like it's a porn channel, it isn't, and it has now been shown several times so if you're interested in seeing how it turned out, see if you can track it down.

Documentary on BBC 1 NI

........'Bateman on Bangor' the documentary I've made for BBC 1 Northern Ireland will be shown on Monday, November 26th at 10.35 pm. It deals with my growing up in Bangor and how the writing career got started......and is quite good fun! If you're not from Northern Ireland you should be able to pick it up on Sky on their regional tv listings for the BBC. The programme was produced by Damien Magee, who worked with me for a brief while at the Co. Down Spectator about twenty years ago, before foolishly choosing to forsake a career at the cutting edge of journalism to join the BBC. Damien is also a bit of a rock least in his own head....and played guitar in popular 80s Belfast band St. Vitus Dance. This bunch of lads has recently reformed, has an album coming out and is playing at the Black Box in Belfast on December 8th.
.....I'm also talking to the BBC about making some more documentaries, but these are at quite an early stage.. If all goes according to plan by this time next year, and following extensive dental work, nose straightening, hair transplant and freckle removal surgery, I will have successfully transformed myself into Dale Winton and can stop writing those ffffffing stupid books.


If you're in and around my home town of Bangor over the next fortnight, beware - I'm on the loose with a camera, making a 40 minute documentary for BBC 1 Northern Ireland. Never really done anything like this before, but am already enjoying it immensely - nearly everyone I've approached to take part has agreed, including the likes of Jimmy Nesbitt, Lord Trimble and Laine McGaw (who played Patricia in Divorcing Jack). I'll be returning to my old schools, Ballyholme PS and Bangor Grammar and talking about the Spectator years, where I trained as a reporter, and we've already got a lot of footage we recorded at the Aspects Festival in the town in September. Should be on TV some time in the Autumn.

Hey we go!

Just returned from the Hay-on-Wye literature festival in Wales where I was unexpectedly invited to appear with the great and good. I was taking part in a crime panel together with the lovely Alex Barclay and the just as lovely Alan Guthrie. A fantastic time was had all round, partially to do with the copious amounts of alcohol on offer. It was slightly surreal as I was staying in the town's wonderful main hotel, The Swan, which had 25 rooms - which meant that when I came down in the morning I was joining the likes of Bob Geldof, Tony Benn and Columbo for breakfast. Yes - Columbo. Peter Falk was there to promote his memoirs and I was introduced to him - three times. As we couldn't actually get tickets to see Columbo's gig, and being very drunk, we decided to become part of his 'posse' and managed to blag our way in. The words 'never' 'again' and 'drinking' were uttered early the next morning.

Good King Billy

I mentioned a while back about the mini opera I was writing with the very talented Jules Maxwell about King Billy - and then everything went quiet. I had sort of guessed that the opera folks who commissioned it might have dropped it because it was (in their view) (a) ridiculous or (b) a bit of a hot potato, but it seems they're having a few administration changes at the top of their company, and once they have a new boss in place, King Billy will proceed. It ain't over till the fat bringer of our freedoms sings.


I had a call a few months ago from the makers of 'Rebus', the tv series based on the character created by Ian Rankin to see if I'd be interested in writing a script. Now I've gone off tv a bit since the fiasco over 'Murphy's Law' - fired from my own series, no less! - and generally find meetings with TV people quite stressfull/humiliating/embarrassing. But I like Ian Rankin's books, and Ken Stott is very good in the TV series, so I was having a good think about it when, the very next day my good friend David from No Alibis bookshop called and said Ian Rankin was calling into the shop the next day for a cup of coffee, and did I fancy meeting him. I took this as A Sign From God (you know, God, small round bloke, beard, looks like Van Morrison, but his songs aren't as good)and scooted off to Belfast.

Turns out that Ian Rankin, Best Selling Author, Cultural Commentator, is a very decent bloke and I'd a good natter with him. I somewhat hesitantly raised the issue of me writing for Rebus - because we authors can be notoriously protective of our stuff - and seemed more than happy for me to have a crack. 'Just don't change his taste in music,' was his only request. So, I've written the script, it's called (at the moment, anyway) The First Stone, and it started filming in Scotland last week. I think it will probably be on in the Autumn. It's made by SMG in Scotland, and I can honestly say it's the best experience I've yet had working in TV. No bullshit, in other words. I mean, knowing me, we'll probably have a huge fall out somewhere down the line, but at the moment everything is smelling of roses.