Thursday, 10 July 2008

Calling Radio Copeland

The books will always be the main thing, but I write them relatively quickly. Because I can only really publish one a year I've a lot of time on my hands, so I like to try different things - hence last year's documentary or King Billy the Opera (which is now unlikely to appear any time soon, as the company involved didn't get the funding it needed). You might say, I'm Divorcing Jack of all tradesm master of one.... But I do have a kind of 'to do' list, one of which involves scoring for Liverpool at Wembley, and another has always been to write something for radio. Actually, one of the first things I ever wrote was a radio play for a BBC competition - needless to say I didn't win!

A few months ago I contributed to a radio documentary marking thirty years of punk in Northern Ireland - it was produced by Owen McFadden, originally a member of the very fine Protex - and we got talking about me maybe doing something original for radio. Fast forward to....well, NOW, and lo and behold I've written something called Radio Copeland which has been greenlit for a pilot and which we'll hopefully start recording in Belfast after the summer. Not much I can tell you about it apart from it's set in a radio station on a fictitious version of Copeland Island and has been the most fun to write of anything I've done in a while. Is it funny? Well it will be once we've added the laughter track.

I will, er, keep you posted.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Allo, allo

I've just returned from the 11th Festival Inernational du Roman Noir held at Frontignan in the South of France - well someone has to go to these things, and the alternative was a children's book event in Rotherham . It was, basically, four days of consuming a lot of rose wine and struggling with my limited French. And by limited I mean NONE. I was appearing on two panels discussing religion and politics in the first case and in the second, Sartre's comment that 'hell is other people'. Yes, all very intellectural; needless to say I failed to rise to the occasion and blamed most of everything on albinos.

Cracking weather, of course, which is a bit of a nightmare for The Big Freckle, but I was able to just about survive by darting from doorway to doorway and shadow to shadow.

Met up with some nice people - crime writer Jake LaMarr, artist Miles Hyman, film maker and writer Doug Headline - who also translated wonderfully for me in one of the panels,but was also very fortunate to meet up with a friend from my home town who has lived just outside Frontignan for the past twenty years.

The great thing about hearing the Northern Ireland accent spoken outside of the old place is that sometimes you hear things you've long since grown so accustomed to at home that you don't notice them any more. In this particular case my host had retained the Northern Irish habit of adding 'so I do' to the end of sentences, or variations of the same, so she had. We both got hugely into the way of it, and I'm going to have to work it into a book somewhere, so I am. I think it hugely enriches any sentence you might care to think of. I was washing the car today, so I was. We had brilliant sex last night, so we did. And not only sentences, what if some of the most famous sayings of all time got the so I was treatment?

We will fight them on the beaches, so we will.

I have a dream, so I do.

One small step for man, so it is.

And of course it would be perfect for any wedding. Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?

I do, so I do.

Thursday, 3 July 2008