When I began this blog, it was suggested to me that readers might be interested in what I was doing with my time, and I still haven’t found a good way of talking about that. Interruptions to my regular working pattern – the preparation for An Education, and now the filming, and the paperback and European publications of Slam – mean that I can’t start a book, so I’ve been talking about, and meddling with, projects that can be wedged into broken weeks and broken days. Some of these, inevitably, will come to nothing, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting to me, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they take up any less of my time; the only trouble is that when a project is posted in cyberspace, it stays there forever, and in ten years’ time a German journalist will ask me whether I’m still working on something that will probably be abandoned in a couple of weeks’ time. (I am still having trouble convincing people that the script I was writing with Emma Thompson was abandoned a couple of years ago.) But of course if I don’t talk about things that might come to nothing, then there’s nothing to talk about at all. So here’s a little list:
- In the last few weeks I’ve been meeting with some bright and talented people who are interested in making an animated film. I came up with a story – or a setting, at least, and a scrap of plot – and they’ve come up with some drawings, and if nothing else I’ve got some beautiful prints for the office wall.
- SLAM has been optioned by DNA Films, the people who made 28 DAYS LATER. I’m going to be adapting it myself, something I haven’t done since I wrote the UK version of Fever Pitch more than ten years ago. I passed the last four books on to somebody else because I wasn’t entirely sure how to turn them into screenplays, and because I’d had enough of them. But SLAM, it seems to me, would be a more straightforward adaptation, especially since I “borrowed” a couple of key elements of the book from cinema anyway.
- I’ve been co-writing what may or may not become a radio comedy series with a friend. After reading Graham McCann’s ‘Spike & Co’ I have decided a) that collaboration is missing from my life and b) I would like to be living – working, anyway – in the early 1950s. Bring back steam radio, and audience figures of millions!
- This too Graham McCann is responsible for, indirectly: I have been asked by Steve Van Zandt’s Rock’n’Roll Forever Foundation (www.rockandrollforever.org) to contribute an essay to a text-book for schools that the organisation is putting together. It was suggested that I write about John Osborne’s play ‘Look Back In Anger’ and its influence on the 1960s in the UK; I decided I wanted to write about ‘The Goon Show’, John Lennon’s favourite comedy series. Comedy, it seems to me, was more important to the vast majority of young Britons during the 1950s than rock’n’roll. Or theatre.
And then there are the Believer columns, and the rewrites that have to be done on an almost daily basis for the film…There’s plenty going on. Only time will tell whether any of it was worth doing.