… author of Escape From Furnace, The Fury, The Inventors, and the brand new Devil's Engine series

Radio Head


Last night I went to the launch of Radio Head: Up and Down the Dials of British Radio by my good friend John Osborne. It was a really great evening, with John reading from the book and also performing a hilarious poem about Pat Sharpe in his wonderful, inimitable style. It’s a brilliant read, and well worth buying, especially if you are in to radio, but even if you’re not! Here’s the blurb:

John Osborne has long been a fan of radio – from late night sessions of John Peel to Test Match Special at dawn, he has always enjoyed tuning in to the riches of our best broadcasts. When his dull temporary job became drearier than ever, John decided to remain attached to his headphones all day to listen to some of Britain’s more unknown stations as well as revisiting the mainstream to fully experience the breadth of our radio output. The result is a funny, disarming ride through aspects of Britain that are uplifting, informative and sometimes plain bizarre. Throughout his month of intensive radio listening, John flits through talk radio, sports shows, dips into the mainstream and the minority, exalts in specialist music shows, comedy and local radio before expanding his mind with an experimental arts channel. It seems there is something for everyone at the turn of a dial, whether that is the ranting of the permanently enraged, the gentle tinkle of a string quartet, West Indian stomp or the sound of frozen peas being thrown around Elephant and Castle underground station.John also gets under the skin of the radio business by interviewing presenters such as Mark Radcliffe and Nicholas Parsons as well as industry insiders. John’s daily life is directly affected by his radio habit as he finds himself organising a poker night during exposure to The Jazz, and Zane Lowe’s energy on Radio One goads him into cooking his stir fry at the same speed as Morecambe and Wise prepared their breakfast. Finally, John decides to turn his life around and radio becomes his saviour.

It never ceases to amaze me just how successful my friends are, and how many of the guys I went to university with have already got book deals. John is already working on his second, for Simon and Schuster; Tim Clare is about to have his first book published by Ebury, We Can’t All be Astronauts; Joe Dunthorne reached the giddy heights of literary fame with his first novel Submarine; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Anyway, enough gushing. Well done, John, I hope the book is a huge success!

The Stagnant Cast!

While I’ve been busy strutting my stuff on the dance floor at weddings, Kate and Simon have been photographing the cast of Stagnant. Although we’ve decided we’re only going to film the trailer this year, and use that to pull in funding for a feature in 2010, it’s great to see the cast all lined up! From left to right, Marc Kerr as Manny, Jack Cramer as Alex, Dan ‘Spike’ Price as Heff, Carina Birrell as Ellie, Matt Milne as Tom, James Ball as Steve, Jamie Biddle as Nick.

So cool!

Wedding No. 2!

It’s been a pretty grotty week as I’ve been bedridden with flu. I thought it was Swine Flu at first, then I realised that it was something even worse: Man Flu! The most horrible kind of flu ever to be diagnosed. So it’s been a week of lying in bed blowing my nose at least five hundred times (where does all that snot come from?! Surely it’s impossible to generate that much fluid in your nose!!!) and overdosing on Lemsips. Normally I quite like being ill because it gives you an excuse to lie there and not do anything (it’s usually the only excuse I’ll ever give myself to stop working). And I certainly did have a lazy week, most of which was spent either playing Professor Layton on the DS (which is AMAZING), or Civilisation 4 on the laptop (which is simply the best game ever for people like me who dream of one day being Emperor of the World). But I’ve got so much work to do, and now I’m really regretting taking so much time off!!!

It wasn’t a total loss, though, as I did manage to get the copy edit of Furnace 3 finished and sent off. Luckily there wasn’t too much to change, just a nip and a tuck here and there. Trevor, the excellent copy editor, also thought the ending should change a little, which at first I resisted, then realised it would be so much better the way he suggested it. That’s the one thing I love about the editing process, the fact that for the first time somebody who isn’t you gives the book a good once over and spots things with fresh eyes. You don’t have to change everything they suggest, but at least hearing what they have to say makes you think ‘actually, this isn’t as great as I thought it was, and maybe…’ and it bumps you out of the rut that you often fall into when you’ve finished writing. Especially when you’re stubborn like me and think that once a book is written nothing can or should be changed! Uncle Frank also read through it and produced his usual invaluable list of suggestions, thanks Frank!

Anyway, I was starting to feel a little less snotty on Friday, which is just as well as my friend Joel was getting married on Saturday. I thought I’d probably better try on my suit, knowing that I’ve, er, maybe put on a pound or two since I last wore it. My worst fears were realised when I tried to pull on my trousers and they wouldn’t get over my butt. Argh! Luckily I’d left the jacket in a pile upstairs and it was creased and absolutely covered in orange sawdust, so I had another excuse to go out and buy a new one. I opted for pinstripe this time because I’d never had a pinstripe suit before and it looked like something a gangster would wear. I got a black shirt, red tie, and, to make myself look even more like a gangster, a belt buckle shaped like a bloody cleaver. Cool!

It was a great wedding, even though we totally did a ‘Four Weddings’ and got there late. It wasn’t my fault, Sally had forgotten a prop that Luke needed for his Best Man speech, and we had to nip back and get it. What followed was a series of ‘Wildest Police Chases’ style car maneuvers as we tried to bomb out of Norwich to the Sprowston Manor Hotel. Luckily we were only one minute late, and everybody was standing up as we entered so only a few people noticed. I’m glad we didn’t arrive just a few seconds earlier, as then we’d have walked in with the bride, which would have been awful! It was another great bash, though, with all the old uni crowd present. I don’t see many of them very regularly, so it’s always fun catching up. And it’s so good seeing Joel and Fran get married, as they really are a darling couple. Congratulations!!!

I just wish I’d been able to wear my kilt again!

Anyway, I’ve got so so so much to catch up on, not least writing a new book, so I’d better get on!

And the diet definitely starts today!!! I ate a whole large bar of fruit and nut yesterday, in about half an hour, and had a MacDonalds for tea (with an extra burger). I’m going to eat myself into an early grave at this rate!

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