Alexander Gordon Smith

Archive for the Category Cinema

 
 

First Post from the New Office!

I’m writing to you all now from my lovely new office in the heart of Norwich (which, for those of you who don’t already know, is the cultural, financial and political heart of, well, the world)! It’s so amazingly cool to have a proper office again – the last one, inside an amazing old shoe factory, is fast becoming an Asda as we speak. This place is great, an old hotel where Laurel and Hardy once stayed. It’s full of weird-shaped rooms and strange, narrow corridors that lead all over the place. I’m pretty sure it’s haunted too… Cool!

Anyway, that’s my office in the photo above. It’s partly mine, and partly Inkling Studios’, which will be nice as it means I won’t be in here by myself all the time. That’s one of the best things about having an office that’s separate from the home – you get to speak to real people, rather than just the cats! Essentially, though, an office isn’t about having a place to go to work, it’s about having a place to go home to. When I work at home, my house becomes an office – I end up spending all day working because there’s no divide between work space and leisure space. Now I have vowed never to work at home, only in the office (apart from actual writing, that is, which isn’t really work at all). Which is great because I can get home and really enjoy being there, rather than thinking I should be working all the time!

Awesome!

Anyway, aside from moving into the new space I’ve mainly been chilling. I’m still pretty frazzled from writing Furnace 5, so I’m treating myself to a break. We’ve been going swimming loads, which is great, and we’ve been to the cinema a few times too. Karate Kid was good fun, made even more so as we could identify some of the moves from our own classes (yes, it’s Kung Fu he learns this time, not Karate). Although the martial arts were better in the remake, and this one had the legendary Jackie Chan, I think I still prefer the original…

We saw Inception too, which is amazing. Just one of those films which is immensely satisfying on every level. Really, really worth going to see. The soundtrack is brilliant too, as you would expect from Hans Zimmer – great writing music!

On the writing front, I have pitched the synopsis for my new series, so I should hear back from my agent about it pretty soon. Faber sound keen on the idea, so keep your fingers crossed for me! I’ll let you know all about it as soon as I get some news…

Right, off to unpack some more office stuff!

Oh, I nearly forgot the most exciting news: I booked a week in Centerparcs for later this month, yay!!!

Hai Ya!

This weekend was a busy one, preparing for our Kung Fu testing on Sunday. We did our first grading three months ago – learning the basic stances, blocks, kicks and punches for our white fringe. Going for the yellow fringe is a great deal harder, however, as you have to have mastered the first three forms – long, complicated routines of punches, kicks and stance work. I love doing forms. They are difficult, but extremely satisfying once you’ve committed them to memory. And they’re great exercise too! So on Saturday we were about to start training when Jamie dropped a bombshell – he didn’t want to do Kung Fu any more! It’s such a shame as it was something I really enjoyed doing with him, but the last thing I want to do is force him to do it. Hopefully it’s just a phase and he’ll come back to it when he’s ready.

So, sans Jamie, Lynsey, Lucy and I headed over to our Kung Fu school on Sunday afternoon, all extremely nervous and convinced that we’d forgotten everything. There were quite a few people doing their testing this time round (which is good in some ways as you can hide at the back behind them all) and we all passed without a problem! So now we’ve all got our yellow fringes, which really does feel like quite an achievement. Well done everybody! We start learning the forms for an orange fringe today, and they look DIFFICULT!!! We rewarded ourselves with a big dominos pizza (well, three of them actually) plus loads of chocolate and then the four of us played poker and watched the first Harry Potter film.

The weekend wasn’t all work, though (not that you can really call any of that work…). On Saturday afternoon Jamie and I went to the cinema to see The Final Destination. We’re both big fans of the previous three films, and the fact that this one was in 3D made it unmissable! The plot was EXACTLY the same as its predecessors. And I mean EXACTLY the same. Only with different death scenes. But the death scenes were what we were going to see, so that’s okay! Every time I see a 3D film I’m amazed by the technology, and this was the first time I’d seen a live action movie in 3D. Absolutely stunning. It really looked like there was blood and guts spurting out of the screen. Lovely! So I’d recommend going to see this at the cinema as on a 2D screen at home it will just be a rubbish horror movie!

And last night Nathan popped round for another Fallout 3 session. I just love this game sooooooo much. I still wish I lived in the Wasteland, how cool would that be?!

Anyway, I’d better do some writing this week as I’m getting a bit lazy… Life can’t be all Kung Fu, cinema and computer games. Can it…?

My New Best Friend!

Yesterday was an amazing day, I got to meet the legendary Guillermo del Toro! He has been a huge inspiration for me, creating such darkly fantastic visions and telling such wonderful stories, and it was so exciting to actually meet him in person. He was signing books at Forbidden Planet, and despite the fact the queue was almost round the block he took his time with each person, shaking everybody’s hand and talking to them. He was very impressed by my Flash Gordon T-shirt, telling me that the film had inspired some of his creations in Hellboy. So cool! I also managed to slip him a copy of my book, which I know was a little cheeky but I couldn’t really pass up on an opportunity like that, could I? Maybe he’ll read it on the plane home and think ‘I’m going to make Furnace into a film!’ You never know… Anyway, he is a wonderfully personable and friendly man, and I am convinced that he is now my best friend.

It was a really smashing day all round. I finally had the chance to meet up with some intermates who I’d met through blogs and Twitter, including the wonderful Liz and Mark, from My Favourite Books, the delightful M. G. Harris, author of The Joshua Files, three other lovely bloggers, Gavin from Next Read, Ana from Book Smugglers and Sharon from Dark Fiction Review, the charming Matt the Librarian, who I have met before at a Faber event, and the delightful Kaz Mahoney, a YA writer whose first novel is currently doing the rounds. They were a fascinating bunch of people to hang out with, all absolutely obsessed with books, which is brilliant! We all went for lunch at Wahaca, a Mexican place near Covent Garden, and just chatted about writing and publishing and the like. Truly awesome!

Here is everybody:

After that I headed up to the Royal Academy to see the Utagawa Kuniyoshi exhibition, which was just wonderful. His prints are spectacular, especially the ones full of ghosts and skeletons and demons and bloodshed. I was hoping to buy a couple of prints but they hardly had any left, and none of the ones I wanted, boo. It finished today, but if you’re in London and at a loose end I’d definitely recommend it. The only drawback is that it was so busy. This was my favourite print, spooky!

So anyway, I haven’t blogged for a while, sorry about that. It’s been a chaotic few weeks of editing, trying to get Furnace: Death Sentence – the third book in the series – finished. Now I absolutely love writing, the flow of it, the way you feel pulled along by the words, like you’re on a raft bombing down a category five whitewater stretch, with periods of calm in between the rapids then moments of sheer explosive drama as you catapult off the waterfalls. I love being on that ride with the characters, feeling out of control, not knowing what’s about to happen or who will survive. I LOVE it! But I hate editing. For me it totally ruins the flow, ruins that adventure. Instead of speeding along the river at full pelt feeling the spray in your face and the adrenaline in your veins you are plodding along a pathway occasionally splashing in a puddle or picking dog poo from your shoe. Okay, that’s a crap analogy, sorry, but you get the idea. It’s just a slow, lumbering, unrewarding process and I HATE it! But at least it’s done now, Furnace 3 is wrapped up and ready to go to print, which is soooooo exciting!!!!

And speaking of exciting, Furnace Solitary is now back from the printers!!!! Which is awesome!!!! Seeing it next to Furnace Lockdown on the shelf is amazing, they complement each other so well. I can’t wait to see all five in a row! I only have a few copies at the moment, but there are enough to send out to a couple of people and I’ll be sure to do so. I imagine another box will be arriving very soon, so the rest of you won’t have to wait for long!

Because of the editing I haven’t been doing a huge number of school visits, but I did have the pleasure of visiting Monk’s Walk School in Welwyn Garden City last week. I had a brilliant time, thanks to all the brilliant Year Nines and especially the enthusiastic Year Sevens who made the visit so much fun (and yes, Abel, I do remember how to spell your name…). I hung around for some lunch afterwards with Adam, the librarian, who is doing some really innovative and brilliant things in the library to encourage the kids to read. And a thoroughly lovely chap as well! Thanks for the invite, it was a fantastic day!

In other news, my good friend Tim has just had his first book published, which is actually a book about getting published. It’s called ‘We Can’t All Be Astronauts’, and has the hilarious subtitle ‘Your friends are successes. You’re a failure. One last chance to reach for the stars…’ It’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and also very poignant too, and very frank about the Publishing Dream in a way that I think all authors should understand. But mainly just laugh-out-loud funny – I was getting some very strange looks on the train yesterday as frequent snotty chortles burst out of my nose. It’s also pretty cool that I’m mentioned in the book, albeit as one of Tim’s ‘talanted, spawny, b*****d friends!’ This makes more sense when you know that the jist of the book is Tim’s lifelong quest to be an Author, and the fact that quite a few people in our friendship group got there first, including me, as Tim writes: ‘Gordon, whose first novel came runner-up in a national televised competition, then got bought for an advance five times the size of the winner’s – a book that he wrote in a week.’ I really can’t praise this book enough, and it is worth reading by all writers, published or unpublished.

Another bit of fantastic news lately is that I am now a godfather! Me, a godfather, who’d have thought it?! My great friends Luke and Sally have just had their first baby, a very healthy boy called Aidan John Wright. I’m so thrilled for them, and I can’t wait to meet my godson and start teaching him bad habits! Thanks guys for the honour of making me godfather, I’m stoked!

What else… I guess most of my free time of late has been spent hanging out with the gang and doing fun stuff during half term. My cousin Allie was down for the week as well, which is always brilliant as he’s a total star. He’s a musician, and his latest tracks are just stunning. I’ll see if I can get permission to post one here. We went to see Coraline 3D, which is superb, if TERRIFYING. We went to see Night at the Museum 2 as well, which was disappointing. I loved the original, but this just felt remarkably flat and unoriginal. I hated Frank Azaria’s cheap jokes most of all, I think, and the whole script and performance just felt lazy. Having said that, Lucy loved it, so that was cool. We also went to the beach, which was gorgeous in the sun, although I think in retrospect it was maybe a little too cold for swimming in the sea…

I’m bound to have forgotten something that I meant to blog about, but never mind. I’ll try and stay more regular in the future, I bought some fig rolls yesterday so they should help… With the editing now over I’m going to try and get back into the swing of writing, as it’s been a good long while since I did any. The trouble at the moment (not that it’s any trouble at all, actually, it’s wonderful) is that I’ve just got too many ideas and I want to write them all, so I start something, then start something else, then something else, and nothing gets finished! But I’m going to pick something this week and stick to it!

See ya soon!