Thursday, 24 January 2008

You can all just **** off

When I was a journalist, and a very poor one at that - both literally and financially - the rule of thumb was that you NEVER received praise from your readers, you only ever received complaints. It was a good day at the office if it was a quiet one after one of your stories had appeared. This is also pretty true of the books - I get some nice e-mails, but generally there's not a huge amount of feedback. That is until I PREDICT A RIOT and the complaints started. Hundreds of them. My cardinal sin has been to remove the swearing and replace it with a lot of ********ing. This seems to have REALLY annoyed everyone because there's not a day goes by, STILL, when I don't receive half a dozen e-mails complaining about it: some of you just like to read naughty words, some of you resent having censorship imposed on you, some of you don't like being treated like naughty children. And all of you asking why the **** I did it, and if I've turned into some kind of ******* born again Christian or something. Now I've explained it before and I'll explain it again. The Lord is the One True Way and there's no need for ******* swearing.

Or.....I Predict A Riot originally appeared in serial form in the Belfast News Letter, which is a morning newspaper here in Northern Ireland. This meant that I couldn't be using my normal quota of very naughty words, or, if I did, I had to bleep them out. So I bleeped them out. And never a complaint over the whole year the serial appeared. It may be that we Northern prods are just a lot more God fearing that the rest of you heathens. So when it came time to do the book I thought I'd keep up the ****, and also had the thought that sometimes the bleeping can be funnier than the actual swear words themselves. It works on You've Been Framed. But as it turns out you all like your swear words. You miss them. They are such a part of your daily lives that you feel bereft when someone chooses not to use them.

So MAYBE in a future edition of the book I might put them all back in. But as that would mean re-setting virtually every page, I'm virtually certain my publishers aren't going to pay for it.
In the mean time, suitbably chastised, you can all look forward to my next novel, 'The Fucking Fuckers from Fuckville'.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Do you believe in Ghosts?

.....those many, many hundreds of thousands of you feverishly waiting for the next novel, Ghost Town, may tear up your cheques and cancel your Amazon orders. Fear not though - it's only a change of title. All the way through writing it I called it Orpheus Rising and it was only on delivery that my publishers thought that was a bit unwieldy and we came up with Ghost Town instead. So ever since that's what it has been - I actually have the cover for the book in the house (will that be worth something on Ebay? £5? Maybe £10)- but now for reasons which are a bit complicated, and at a very late stage, at least in publishing terms, we're back to Orpheus Rising.
Actually - and this has nothing to do with the title change, because it would actually have been quite helpful - the new film from Ricky Gervais, his first leading role, is also called Ghost Town, also set in America, and has quite a similar plot. I was looking forward to the confusion this would have caused, because he is an international superstar and comedy genius, and I still play 5-a-side.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Doc 2

The documentary Bateman on Bangor: Light of the World went down sufficiently well with viewers and the BBC themselves for them to comission another one for later in the year. It has the working title of Bateman's Belfast Confidential and I'll be teaming up with producer Damien Magee again to take a wry look at modern Belfast.

Happy 2008

Happy New Year to everyone!

I'm not great on resolutions, but this year, now comfortably into my mid forties, I'm determined to at least keep to a few.

(1) remember not to get completely pissed at public functions when you have to make a speech; certainly do not attempt to alter your speech seconds before going on stage; and if Sir Ben Kingsley is in the audience, do not suggest to the gathered social and political elite of Belfast that he might care to don a ginger wig and play Martin McGuinness in a bio pic.

(2) along with everyone else, get fit. Having torn my cruciate ligament and broken my hand in the same comical football accident I have to get the finger out, get fit and return to the field of dreams (Eddie Irvine's 5-a-side pitch. Not name dropping here - as opposed to above, where I was - he just owns a big complex outside my home town).

(3) stop prevaricating and get started on the one after next novel. Ghost Town comes out in May - it may surprise a few of you, because it's crap. No, I mean, it's different - because I'm tackling an unusual subject and it has taken me a bit out of my comfort zone. Interested to know what you think. But the book after that could, should, may be Mystery Man, which could, should, may be the start of a new series. It's set in a mystery book shop called No Alibis in Belfast - which is of course, a real place - but this will obviously be a highly fictional version of the store where I launch nearly all of my books. If any of you have been to my readings or have read the short story The Case of Mrs Geary's Leather Trousers then you'll know that the book version should guarantee a lot of laughs.