Friday, March 30, 2007


No word on the radio work, so I'm stuck not knowing if I need to see any films this weekend. Hmmm. Think I'll see what's on, then decide.

On the flip side, I've had my first free day in a couple of weeks to work on that spec script, and I'm happy to say it's sounding a lot less like Balamory in Space. In the grand tradition of that noble script-tease Russell T Davies I can reveal that it contains the words 'Newgate', 'sordid' and 'ferrocite'.

You can sleep easy now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Video Spawned the Radio Star?

When I first arrived in Perth back in July I spammed every media outlet in the city with my CV, hoping to pick up some work.

I got my first bite a couple of weeks ago.

A radio station needs a movie reviewer, and I got a call asking if I'd like to audition. Over the next couple of days that turned into 'Can you record something for us and if we like it we'll use it'. Not having seen any films at the cinema since Casino Royale, however, I needed to get my contacts in order and go watch something first.

So after ten days of frantic phoning, emailing and, ultimately, viewing, today was the day I was supposed to hit the studio.

Up I turn, reviews in hand and eager as you like ... and the producer I'd arranged to meet was off sick. So was his assistant.

No one had the faintest idea who I was or why I was there.

Finally I was put in a studio and got on with it, still with no one - not even myself - knowing quite what I was supposed to be doing. And it went alright, once my tendency to talk at Warp Nine was dealt with. Should find out tomorrow whether anything's going to come of it all.

Meanwhile I've noticed that since transferring the Tyranny from Regular Blogger to Revenge of Blogger, my age on the profile screen has increased to 251. I'd like to assure my more credulous readers that this was a mistake and I'm fixing it right now.

Two ... four ... nine ... Sorted.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Checking the Male

I wouldn't normally post something like this, but I've been so moved by the tales of woe from Tyranny-followers Ruby Tuesday and Reality Chick that it would be wrong not to share this information with them.

Girls, forget all this talk of a man drought, it's no longer a good excuse.

New figures show that there is not a shortage of men in WA but a dearth of women - and the situation is getting worse.

There are now 1.035 million men in WA compared with 1.026 million women, a mismatch between the sexes of 9397.

Just over a year ago, the difference was 6461 suggesting that the overall strength of the economy is sucking more men into WA than women.

The West Australian, 23 March

All right, so a man surplus of 9397 isn't huge, but it's still a surplus and it's growing.

BA have flights for 2,283 pounds, Ms Tuesday, while Virgin Blue will get Reality Chick's lot over from Sydney for a far more affordable $309. Get packing.

There you go then: good deed done, warm feeling inside achieved.

Tyranny of the Blank Page is sponsored by Tourism WA. Ladies should note that available men may be located in small mining settlements several hundred miles from civilisation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Getting the Boot

Perth's suddenly become the focus of Australia, with the news that footballer Ben Cousins has been suspended from premiership-winning club the West Coast Eagles for an indefinite period.

Cousins has a colourful - almost comedic - history of foul-ups. The best of the bunch was his decision to abandon his car and run away from a police breath-test unit last year, opting to swim a river and crash through a restaurant (where he claimed to be his own twin brother after someone recognised him. He doesn't have a twin brother ...) rather than face the music. There are all sorts of reasons mooted as to why he's been canned now - drugs, drink, violence, all of the above. For UK types unfamiliar with AFL it's the equivalent of Wayne Rooney being told he can't play for Man Utd any more because he's a rogue element who's gone utterly out of control.

Alright, maybe not Wayne Rooney then, but you get the idea.

I'd been hoping for a quiet morning, but bad-boy Benny's axing had me chasing details for Sydney, with varying degrees of success. This has meant the all-important parent-teacher newsletter I've been roped into editing for my daughter's school has been postponed yet again. Quite how everyone will cope without the news of who got elected to the fundraising committee I'm not sure.

All the activity of the last week or two has also meant I've fallen behind on my 52 Books in 52 Weeks drive and at 12 weeks it looks like I'll be pulling out my first Cheat Book, one so thin I can whip through it in a day and get back on schedule. All assuming nothing else comes up.

Like that script I've got gathering dust ...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Now Get Tapes of That

You did read the previous post, didn't you?

No? Off you go then ...

All done? Right.

One other thing to arise from my fondness for continuity clips has been remembrances of other old BBC shows. One that gets a prominent mention in the clips on the New Beginnings set is Now Get Out of That.

You can find out more about the programme here, but essentially it was a game show that pitted two teams against each other in the great outdoors, giving them a series of puzzles and tasks to complete as part of a spurious espionage scenario. Think of it as an early precursor of reality TV.

The continuity announcement that brought it all flooding back stated the airtime as after 11pm, which suggests I watched it on videotape, but I remember absolutely loving it. I'm sure it'll seem dire, watching as an adult, but if anyone's got any old tapes (or, dare I say it, a DVD) drop me a line - I'd love a look.

And Now, On Tyranny of the Blank Page

Received my copy of the Doctor Who: New Beginnings boxed set the other day, courtesy of the lovely people at Roadshow. The triple-disc set, for those not in the know, covers the transition period from Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor to Peter Davison's Fifth, programmes that originally aired when I was around ten years old.

Now it's well known that the quality of the BBC's 'Classic Who' discs is superb - it's not exactly common for a DVD of an old TV show to have special features that make a lot of Hollywood blockbuster releases look spartan. No exception here, with audio commentaries, interviews, production text and more besides.

I've noticed, however, that whenever one of these discs arrives, it's not the show itself that I spin through to first. Nor is it the commentary. Not even the undeniably interesting behind-the-scenes pieces.

It's the continuity announcements.

Yep, the bits I love most are the little bits done by the BBC voiceover man. You know, the ones: 'In 25 minutes, it's The Generation Game, but first a new adventure for Doctor Who'.

Now I know that this admission is going to get me pillioried as a sad bastard, but there's sound reasoning here, not to mention evidence that I'm not alone (these little continuity snips used to be easter eggs on the discs, now they're a feature in their own right. Surely a sign of their popularity?).

The kind of person who buys Doctor Who DVDs will like as not have seen the show on the disc five, ten, fifty times already. For me, there's little or no association of time or place left with it - my memories of seeing it could just as well be from a repeat in 1985, as on a video in 1992, 1995, 1999 or 2002.

But to sit down and watch the clunky graphics and the blue and yellow spinning globe of the BBC, with the voiceover 'And now on BBC1' ... that could only come from one specific viewing, when I bounced down in front of the TV, an excited ten-year-old, to watch a brand new episode for the very first time. Watching these announcements, I recall the room, the furniture, the smells, the textures in a way that multiple viewings mean I no longer get from the show itself.

To have something so evocative of a particular place in the past ... well, that's time travel.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Where There's Smoke, There's Ire

The big rush on work is over for now (it all begins again in a couple of weeks - you have been warned) so normal service has been resumed on the blog, for a while at least.

Got to say it feels strange but not unpleasant to work a nine-to-five shift - even if it is from home - and then clock off for the weekend. Makes a change from the usual 'nibbling' at jobs I do, seven days a week. Big hello to Brooke, meanwhile, who's been holding my hand through various celebrity scandals and who was tempted to check out the Tyranny when she really should have been doing something more exciting.

So anything, really.

Obviously my having been chained to my desk means that there's not a great deal for me to report personally, so here's something that caught my eye in the paper today. One of my many mini-jobs is to scan the local rag and report to my higher-ups in Sydney, in case there's a story they'd like to go national. This one didn't make the cut, but it made me smile, if only for proving that smoking really can damage your health ...

Two very thirsty chaps got into an argument at River Vale's High Road Hotel on Tuesday, with one accusing the other of pinching a cigarette.

The cops were called about 8pm after the drinker who claimed to be the victim of the theft left the hotel and came back looking for the alleged thief, with a chainsaw in his hands - and it was running.

The fag fiend bolted. The tired and emotional chainsaw operator was charged with disorderly conduct.

The West Australian, 16/03

Please direct all jokes along the lines of 'What a tool!' or indeed anything to do with chain smoking to anyone other than me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Profit Means Loss

Right, back now (but only for a little while).

All creative writing projects (yes, that includes this blog) have been put on hold for a little while after a sudden and quite unexpected glut of bottom-line work. It seems that after weeks of occupation desolation every one and their mag suddenly needs the assistance of a jobbing west-coast writer. Can't complain - it'll fund that replacement DVD player - but it does mean that there'll be no progress on the 'fun stuff' for a while.

This week I'm filling in for the news editor on one of the national gossip and entertainment mags that my wife devours each and every week. That means - to her annoyance - that I know exactly what's going to be in it a week before she does. Still, the other day she spent an hour going through pictures of strippers for her job, so at least there's an element of balance ...

Please Hold

Sorry about the wait, someone will be with you shortly.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stinking Hot

Today's our second consecutive day of 42 degree weather. Such lung-scorching temperatures inevitably combine with our house's lack of air-conditioning to evaporate my will to live, never mind my will to work. This comes, if you'll pardon the funny, hot on the heels of a public holiday on Monday (no school for the kids, no work for me), so the sum total of useful writing I've done since last Friday is bugger all.

By a strange coincidence 'bugger all since last Friday' also described the progress made by our plumber on fixing the blocked drains. Unable to locate the problem before the weekend, the extra day off on Monday meant all work ceased until Tuesday afternoon. And that meant more shit to deal with.

When I informed one amusing social commentator that I've been shovelling excrement around for the last week, it garnered the response that I should be used to that, having worked in the magazine business for so long. In actual fact, I had gotten used to it, and dousing waste in industrial strength disinfectant before burying it had become relatively normal. Until the mercury topped 40, that is: even the cockroaches started to cross the street to avoid the smell.

At last, our fine pipesman located the cause of the blockage - the roots of a nearby tree had grown into and clogged the system.

'It's rooted!' he chuckled from astride the reeking pit.

Oh, my sides.

Actually, that could have been retching.

Still, it's not just been sewage bubbling away around here - I've had the basis for a new short story fermenting in the back of my head since waking in the middle of the night convinced every item of clothing in the house had been stolen. (That's nothing to do with where the story idea came from, it's just what woke me up). Got the broad strokes down today, now need to think on expanding it - short story or comic strip, for instance. More likely to sell it if it's a strip, but it could go either way.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Had a nice clear block of time today to work on the script, interrupted only by a call from Sydney asking if I'd keep my ear to the ground about the identity of Western Australia's $11.7m lottery winner (sadly it's not me).

Hammered away busily until the littlies crashed in from school, took an hour off then read back what I'd written.

Think a bastard cross between Thunderbirds and The Bold and the Beautiful.

Some days it just all clicks ...