Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Off Balance

I shall miss George Melly. You never heard much of him but when you did it was always a joy to know he was still around. I never met him, but I passed him at Paddington Station once, standing in the middle of the concourse in his orange zoot-suit and eyepatch, a behatted Nero surveying his empire. He had the manner of one entirely at home in the world, not uncommon among old jazz men. He had cool, certainly, but it was an earned cool.

I hate to say it but I've actually gone off Big Brother this year. The last couple of series were a challenge to sit through at times but this year they're all just too stupid. There's nobody to sympathise with in the slightest: Ziggy has turned into a pathetic man-baby over Chanelle, Nicky has turned into an insecure nightmare and all the new people are docile vegetables. The only consistent person in there is Charley, who has been a consistently angry vegetable. And the twins do not count. They just don't.

In an effort to plug the sudden yawning gap in my life I have started another novel - a short and furiously dark and unpleasant one, to balance out the fun and light-heartedness of my ongoing project. I would never ordinarily recommend writing two novels at once because of the potential for bleed-over - characters, situations and phrases have a habit of repeating themselves in simultaneous works if one isn't careful. I am hoping that the thematic distance between them stops all that.

I have finished two extra stories for the reissue of Paying For Breakages, my short story collection of many years ago: it is late (the shopfront says 'Spring' - sorry) because I am a bit stuck on the cover. The original design was pretty low-tech and low-res, not to mention needlessly abstract... I want something better for the Redux version but my Design Mind has gone blank. I have added this to the list of things I have to do when I get a holiday from work, which I hope is soon but will almost certainly be swallowed up entirely by said list rather than any actual holidaying.

There is something about this summer that makes me uncomfortable. Not sure if it's the slightly half-arsed terrorist attacks, the half-arsed Big Brother experience, the bizarre weather, Catherine Tate returning to Doctor Who... I have a feeling this will be the year of unfinished, not-quite-right projects for everyone. Perhaps there is some Zodiac-related reason for this. I've never set much store in horoscopes (I'm a pagan, not an idiot) but there seems something oddly star-crossed about 2007 so far.

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