Tuesday, 28 July 2009

On Boxrooming

Most of you will know that I "co-host" (i.e, giggle in unison) a podcast with my lovely bloke and fellow geek, Marty. The Boxroom podcast (the name picked in random desperation after we'd realised all the clever sci-fi related names were taken) has actually been doing rather well recently, and I thought it might be groovy to have a wee update about that alongside the endless boring posts about writing (sorry about that!).

Those readers who have met me will know that I am largely quiet, opinionated when drunk (ahem) and mostly horrified by any kind of recording device. When, a few years back, some of my nearest and dearest friends got together to make a Highlander spoof (called Lowlander. It was aces) I was frozen with terror at the thought of possibly appearing on camera at all, let alone my voice actually being recorded- consequently I appear in a fabulously tiny cameo where I draw on Marty while he's asleep.

Getting slightly off track here, but the point is that I continue to be amazed that I'm helping to record an almost weekly podcast, and that people do appear to be listening to it. And responding. And recording marvelous, witty, and above all geeky feedback! I'm enjoying it immensely, and find myself looking forward to the meandering couple of hours a week where we break all the sensible rules of podcasting and talk about such various subjects as Nicole Kidman's merkin, Jonathan Frakes possible motive for making terrible films, and why Muppets are always a plus.

A big thanks to all you people who support it (You know who you are. None of you are remotely crabs. You are the Buck Fucking Rogers of Awesome) and special thanks to the mysterious Rob, who is responsible for more of the content than will ever be publicly known, and the less-than-mysterious Lee, our frequent guest and Token Beardy.

Now lets go listen to 31 again, it's a cracker!


Sunday, 26 July 2009

Life sits on the writer and squashes her a bit

Alright, I've been rubbish at updating this thing lately (I wonder how many blogs across the blogosphere begin with that?) so it's time for a quick sum up of recent weeks. If that's possible.

In my last entry I was very excited about my week off, and all the tremendously writerly things I was going to do. Every day. Yep, every day, I would do writerly things.
Well, as often happens, life intervened that week, and I ended up not doing quite as many of the little jaunts that I had planned. Pyra, our small and cheerfully destructive cat had to be taken to the vets to have stitches removed, and this turned out to be more traumatic than I expected. She had a bubble of fluid under the scar, which the vet proceeded to remove with a needle (much to the combined horror of both Pyra and I. Having to hold her down while he carried out this procedure meant I felt like the evilest cat-mummy that has ever lived). It wasn't the cleanest scar, and I spent the next couple of days watching Pye constantly, convinced she would start leaking or something.

Also that week, the electrics in the flat started to play up wildly, resulting in a few days of electrician visits, a further traumatized cat, furniture turned upside down and ripped up floorboards. Oh, and me being stuck in the flat making tea for electrician chaps (who were very nice but, you know, I sorted of wanted to be elsewhere).

All this meant that my writerly trips were rather cut short, but, I got enough done to feel like I had a good week off. I went for a wander up Ludgate Hill, where an important scene happens in A Boy of Blood and Clay, and actually went all the way up to St Paul's (I've never been close enough to touch it before). I walked down Cannon Street to look at the London Stone, which is both tiny and largely unremarked- I peered through the grill to look at it only to find a man looking back at me from behind it; apparently it's just in front of an office window. I went to Monument, looked at some old street names (Fish Street Hill, Pudding Lane) and spent a long time in some pubs writing and writing and writing (the London Stone pub has it's toilets hidden behind a fake bookcase, if you happen to end up in there).

I also had a few trips to our local pub, which is becoming one of my favourite places to write; it's light, spacious and usually quiet, with an "interestingly" arty clientele. I find that I get much more done away from the flat, where the temptation is to watch telly, read or listen to the radio.

So that was my week off. In the week since then, we've had builders in to rip out our bathroom (*sigh*) and having been chucked out the flat early every morning, I have been spending a couple of hours before work writing (in another pub) and consequently, A Boy of Blood and Clay is coming along nicely. Now, if only I had the discipline to get out of bed early every day to do that. Oh, and blog regularly.

If this works, here are a few pictures of the London excursion:

Saturday, 11 July 2009

A break from London in London

It is finally here. The week off. The week of freedom.

This is a very good thing, because I was beginning to approach the London Commuter Boiling Point of Doom. If I don’t count Christmas (which I don’t, because I had flu throughout the entire Christmas holiday- yippee) I haven’t actually had a full week off work since last September, which is roughly, oh, a frigging long time. What I find when I don’t have a break for a while is that my temper gets shorter and shorter, and I develop a tendency to do foolish things, like call people twats if they push in front of me in Sainsburys or quietly seethe because some weirdo insists on sitting next to me on the bus even though there are plenty of empty double seats available.
It’s when I’m walking down a London street scowling and muttering to myself that I realise I really need a break from the 9 to 5. As soon as possible.
This coming week I will be spending quite a bit of time at home because our little cat Pyra still has a bit of a sore tummy, and I still need to keep an eye on her in case she does any crazy things like swinging from the lampshades. She has some ninja in her heritage somewhere.
The rest of the time I will be making short trips up town (as my brother always points out, I am already in town, but you know what I mean). My plan is to go to different places in London that I haven’t been to before, have a scout around and an explore, and then find a cafĂ© or a pub and do an on location writing session.
A Boy of Blood and Clay isn’t just set in London, it’s about London; it’s history, mythology, and stories. This coming week I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting to know the city that I love a wee bit better, and hopefully getting a fuckload of writing done at the same time.
So if anyone has any tips or favourite places to visit in London, a particularly atmospheric street, a busy park or an interesting building, I’d really love to hear about them!