So, just to describe the state of my brain at the moment; within the last week I have spent nearly a minute looking for a pen I’d just been using (it was in my other hand), spent several minutes looking for my mobile (I was on it at the time), and walked into a full-length mirror in Next and apologized to myself.
To prove that at least some cells are firing, I’ve just got a fabulous writing gig. I’m adapting David Walliam’s wonderful children’s novel Mr Stink for a national tour next year. It’s beautifully written. I love the juxtaposition between some of the down-to-earth, matter-of-fact prose and the accentuated eccentricity of Mrs Crumb and Mr Stink. I’ve only written fifteen pages so far but I’m having loads of fun. So many opportunities for comedy along with very touching moments, at the same time driving through some really serious points that David’s subtly written into it: Snobbery, wearing a mask to pretend that you’re someone else, two-facedness, and discovering who you really are. More details in later blogs, but Heartbreak Productions will be doing an open-air national tour with the play in the summer of 2015.
My publishers (Whiteley Publishing) and myself are also madly marketing The Last Taboo. This is my first novel and is the coming-of-age story of a footballer who has a gay relationship. I’m determined to get the novel to as wide a readership as possible to get everyone talking about homophobia in football. The idea is to get it moving up the book charts and into the media and consequently spark more open debate and awareness of what is the ludicrous situation of a micro-society living in some bygone, judgemental era when people’s freedom was massively curtailed. I’m a football fan; many of my friends (both gay and straight) are too. I know that the vast majority of fans wouldn’t care in the slightest if a footballer admitted to being gay. Unfortunately, as with so many areas of life, it’s the five percent at the extremes who shout and threaten the loudest. What we need is the ninety percent of us fair-minded people in the middle to be the most vocal for once. If us fans (and players) say it’s OK to be a gay footballer, I’m certain that, within a very short time, we will have openly gay players, and one of the last bastions of homophobia in this country will be eradicated. People and organisations such as Stonewall, the Rainbow Shoelaces Campaign, Joey Barton, Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry have done so much superb work toward the cause; I want to add to that with The Last Taboo.
The CD of WW1 poetry that I’m producing (and reciting) is nearly ready for its debut on Amazon. Just have to sort out the graphics – which basically means me whinging until someone with a modicum of technical skill gives in and does it for me. Tom Baynton has arranged the songs for me and Robbie Durham has recorded them. Rob Tofield and myself have done a final mix, so we’re just about there. I love War Poetry. There should really be no words that could possibly describe this utter devastation, but these amazing poets find them. I was lucky enough to recite two poems at the memorial service, for all the London Theatre workers who died at the front, held at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. I had to choke back the tears on a few occasions; it’s almost overwhelming.
On a lighter note, I’ve just bought the box-set of Sherlock. Yeah, OK, four years after the rest of the world. It’s just…..well, it’s just FANTASTIC!! Brendan Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Stephen Moffat, et al – you’re all absolutely wonderful. I know everybody knows this already, but I just had to share. It’s simply superb in every department.
Anyway, enough of me bouncing up and down like a six year-old.
Take much care and have much fun.