Congratulations Ireland (and other things)

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while since my last blog, for which, many apologies. I’ve been a tad busy finishing the adaptation of David Walliam’s wonderful novel, Mr Stink, managing a major marketing campaign for my debut novel, The Last Taboo, writing my new play, 20:40, marketing my War Poetry CD, We Will Remember Them, selling my little house ‘oop Midlands’, planning the screenplay for The Last Taboo, working three jobs and occasionally having a spare nanosecond to look up the word ‘Relationship’ …….My OED defines it as ‘Something other people have’!

The marketing for Taboo is beginning to create a bit of impetus for the novel. Word appears to be getting round and the reviews continue to stun me with their lovely comments. I think (and hope) that people now realise that you don’t just have to be a football fan or gay to enjoy the novel. I’ve had emails from straight football-loathing readers who have said how pleased they were that they read it, as it’s equally about coming-of-age, life-affirmation and the need to eradicate ‘label’s from our lives. Labels are a poor excuse to wear designer blinkers and wilfully ignore anyone who doesn’t agree with you. I’m really hoping that we can get as many people as possible talking about it and move the subject of homophobia higher up on the agenda. If my novel can help in any way to make players become openly gay, I’ll be a very happy man.

And on the subject of all things gay, I just want to congratulate the Irish nation for their open, fair and broad-minded decision to legalise gay marriage. As a side aspect to this, it’s great to see the people having a say on such important issues (unless, of course, it allows MP’s to side-step contentious decisions by being able to ‘blame the public’). Perhaps we could do this a little more often; government by the people for the people, blah, blah. It may even create more affiliation between us and the government, whatever wing they may lean toward.

Mr Stink has just started a three-month national tour. It’s been huge fun adapting David Walliam’s lovely novel. I love the fact that he doesn’t shy away from issues that some people might think would only be in the adult domain. I believe it’s important that children are introduced to subjects early and create their own opinions; shelter kids where necessary but allow them their say. To be honest, I often find that they come up with far better solutions to problems than adults; mainly due to the fact that they haven’t created barriers, formed soundbites or remained stubbornly repetitive because of political leanings. They see things as they are and they say what they think, to the detriment of diplomacy but to the benefit of honesty. I’ve tried to stay true to David’s novel, but obviously added my own personal touches and dialogue. I think it’s the perfect family entertainment; there’s lots of humour and a real moral story. And, in the burgeoning friendship between twelve year-old Chloe and Mr Stink, there is a beautiful connection between adults and children, with both learning from each other.

I’m SO enjoying writing my new play too. 20:40 is the story of Michael at the ages of twenty and forty. Through a series of memory flashbacks the Michaels play out the significant moments from their life, seen from both ages. It covers all of life’s moments of beauty and also its horrors: marriage (we won’t say which category that comes in), first love, school, soul-mates, leaving home, the breakdown of relationships and why we say ‘them’ when we talk about ourselves as teenagers. What changes? Where do ‘they’ go? It especially takes a long look at the subject of depression, and how people so often suffer in silence. I hope to have finished the play by mid-July.

And I’m starting a major fitness and de-stressing purge. I’m at the gym three times a week anyway but, recently, it’s been a chore rather than something I enjoy; bit like doing the housework in a straitjacket. I saw a photo on Facebook of a friend who had just run 5K in the middle of the night, just for the sheer hell of it. He looked so happy, and it must have triggered something inside me that made me smile and sent a surge of happiness and optimism through me. Going to give Mindfulness a go too. Have met several people recently who said it has reduced their stress levels immeasurably. Let’s face it, we can’t really operate properly unless we’re relaxed with ourselves and with life in general. ‘Do things slower’ is my new motto. Will probably only last till next Thursday, but it’s a start!

If you’d like to get in touch about anything, please use the Contacts page on the website. I’m always up for a chat.

Have an amazing summer,


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