Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Writer's Black and White Heat

Been wallowing for the last week or so in what I like to call Writer's Black, that peculiar brand of depression in which you suddenly realise that the story you've been working on so long and so hard is actually ... well, crap.

That's not to say it's not salvagable. What it does mean - for me, anyway - is that I'm far too close to be objective. So I ditched the job and I've done nothing but read and play rubbish computer games since last Wednesday.

And I'm happy to say that's done the trick. Looking at the story again today everything that made it crap suddenly seemed not only obvious but also eminently fixable - hooray!

The book I've been filling my hours with in the meantime is White Heat by Dominic Sandbrook - one of those rare authors who can make history not just accessible but entertaining too. Centring on Britain between 1964 and 1970, it's a comprehensive account of not just the politics but also the music and movies, fashions and fads of the time. Amusingly it takes just four pages for Doctor Who to get a mention ...

So here's one of the many things that made me laugh therein. It's a story quoted by Sandbrook about politician and alcohol fan George Brown attending a reception for a delegation from Peru

'George made a bee-line for this gorgeously crimson-clad figure, and said, 'Excuse me, but may I have the pleasure of this dance?'

There was a terrible silence for a moment before the guest, who knew who he was, replied, 'There are three reasons, Mr Brown, why I will not dance with you. The first, I fear, is that you've had a little too much to drink. The second is that this is not, as you seem to suppose, a waltz the orchestra is playing but the Peruvian national anthem, for which you should be standing to attention. And the third reason why we may not dance, Mr Brown, is that I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima.'

White Heat, pp 365-366.

I thankew.


Blogger Peter Pan said...

Of course, he had to stop at 1970, so he can start with my birth for 1971. Because that changed everything ....

8:32 PM  

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