Friday, 27 July 2012


I wonder if any of the popular press are going to have the guts to say that quite a lot of the Opening Ceremony was a complete mess?  Or is Danny Boyle going to get an instant knighthood just because he created a programme of British whimsy with flashes of brilliance marred by trying to cram too much in?

The Industrial Revolution scenes were inspired as the smoke stacks from dark satanic mills rose belching from beneath the ground.  The James Bond/HM/helipcopter sequence was highly amusing.  The Mr. Bean episode was hilarious.  Even the NHS bit wasn't too bad but then it all started to go horribly wrong. 

A cacophony of modern music blared forth with great groups of seemingly random dancers prancing about all over the place texting each other.  Was that meant to be cool or what we used to call modern?  I remember the Chinese with their rigid, regimented lines and jaw-dropping aerial acrobats.  I remember the Catalans with their insanely grotesque though fascinating figures and I know they were a tough act to follow. 

But Danny, darling, less is more!  And you chose not to showcase what we Brits do best: pomp, ceremony, circumstance and pageantry.  I know we've just had all that with the Jubilee, but if we had the Red Arrows again, why couldn't we have had the Horseguards or the Busbys or a Coronation Coach or two?   So colourful, rousing and quintessentially British.

I don't think the Queen appreciated hearing the Sex Pistols or Prodigy - I know I didn't.  And at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old woman, yes, we've always been at the vanguard of popular music but Paul, Paul, Paul sweetie: next time you're asked to sing live, just say you're washing your hair that night.  Let us remember you the way you were.

Beckham was Beautiful. The Fireworks were Fabulous. The Torch was Tremendous. And the 16,000 athletes from 204 countries are what it's all about.

So can we please now get on with it so it can all be over and we can get back to normal and I can drive through the West End and go about my business without having to fret about whether I'm going to get a £130 fine for traversing one of those blessed lanes?  And all those sodding dignatories who've caused major disruption in our fair city can buzz off back from whence they came and give us Londoners back our London. (On the plus side, however, there will be lots of muscly men in tight Lycra to watch so Bring Them On!)

Good luck athletes!  And good effort, Boyle but maybe rein it in a bit next time.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


If one more person says to me: "You could have written that - and better!" I shall have to thump them. "You think I don't know that?" I reply between gritted teeth.

It's like standing in the Royal Academy in front of a white canvas with a black dot in the middle that's been highly acclaimed by the (f)Art World as a tour de force.

The point about: "I could have done that..." is that you didn't. Someone else did and yes, I'm jealous as hell and want to scratch her eyes out then get hold of her credit card and pin number.

The zeitgeist of what's hot, what's not, what's coolish and what's foolish is that you just never know. Maybe 50 Shades of Beige - A Fashion Guide for the Dullhamshire Ladies Guild - would sell like hot cakes. But would I compromise my writing integrity and bash out a sleazy piece of shit-lit just to make a squillion quid? YES I WOULD.

As most writers of soft porn will tell you, it's not easy to get it right. Legs have to be placed just so, ditto, lips, hips, sighs and thighs. Good sex scenes are best expressed with a mélange of eroticism and vaguery. This is titilation not do-it-yourself gynaecology.

So no, in case you're wondering, I have not and will not read 50SOG. I downloaded a free sample onto my Kindle just to see what all the fuss was about and only because I value my e-reader did I not lob it against the wall.

And so I continue my struggle to write well while a fairly large part of me wishes I wrote less well but more lucratively!