I interviewed writer Jonathan Harvey (Gimme Gimme Gimme, Coronation Street) about the 20th anniversary production of his play Beautiful Thing. I saw the dress rehearsal for the London run at the Arts Theatre, Leicester Square, and I’m deliriously excited to see it again this evening at the Liverpool Playhouse.
I’m perched on the toilet, paperback in hand. I don’t have an audience – as far as I’m aware – but if I did, they would see the widest smile ever break across my face. I’ve just reached the end of Jonathan Harvey’s 1993 play Beautiful Thing, the Liverpool-born writer’s sweet tale of teenage love in inner-city London.
Channel 4 filmed it in 1996, with a screenplay by Harvey, and a quick Google search reveals that the stage show has hardly been out of production in recent years. Indeed, any time of the year, there’s a Jamie and a Ste discovering each other somewhere on the planet.
In Beautiful Thing, it’s 1993, and sixteen-year-old Jamie Gangel lives with his feisty mother, Sandra, on the Thamesmead council estate. Classmate and next-door neighbour Ste flees his …
Read the rest at The Double Negative.
(I’ve also been added to the Little Black Book, the The Double Negative’s directory of contributing freelance writers and creatives.)
Today, on the day of Lady Thatcher’s funeral, former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore spoke to Radio 5 Live’s Nicky Campbell. His comments about “relatively less important” parts of the country caused some controversy.
Here’s a video of the entire interview, followed by a transcript of the relevant portion (4:44 onwards), for context:
There are certainly parts of the country that are more anti-her than others, but I think they tend to be the parts – and this extends my point about where the left might go – they tend to be parts that have become relatively less important. It doesn’t mean their feelings are not to be respected, but it does mean that if you think of how you’re trying to lead a political party in the twenty-first century, you have to find the places that are rising, where opportunity is spreading, and be able to speak to those people rather than simply speak to those who live in areas that are declining, where populations are falling. I think that’s important. You need to think about those left behind, but you shouldn’t merely be the party of those left behind, because if you are, you, too, will be left behind.
Sod the Walt Disney Company and its Haunted Mansion, with its big budget and shiny new CGI technology. Give me the old-fashioned British ghost train experience, where not knowing whether the rattling, rusty screws will hold your carriage together till the end of the ride is just as frightening as the badly painted ghouls and goblins leaping out at you.
As a child who never passed up the opportunity for a cheap scare, I always made my way directly to the ghost train on entering the fair, whether it was the theme park or the travelling fairground. Roller coasters were not enough. This eighties Liverpool lad preferred the musty smells, dark turns and gaudy thrills of a ride through hell in a carriage for two.
You stepped on board and braced yourself for the jolt as the car, after a bit of a push from the ride-owner, set off along the track and bumped its way through the double doors and into the darkness. The crescendo and …
[Read Room for One More? Boarding the British Ghost Train at Bedlam]
A step-by-step guide to the basics of becoming a published writer
(Republished from 2010)
Do you write, even if just for your own pleasure? Congratulations: You are already a writer. But perhaps you are thinking about taking it a step further, sharing your work with others, getting published and establishing yourself as a professional writer. This short guide will take you through the essential steps towards fulfilling your writing goals.
Step One: Write
It sounds obvious, but always dreaming and never accomplishing is easily done. The editor and best-selling novelist Sol Stein said that a writer is “someone who cannot not write.” Write regularly, setting aside even 15 minutes or half an hour a day, for example. You may want to carry a notebook with you, so you can jot down notes and scribble out bits of writing at any time, as events grab your attention, or new ideas seize your imagination. Keep a private journal, or set up a blog, where you can post short articles as frequently as you like for others to read online and comment on.
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I’m rather delighted to see my name alongside those of Stephen King, Clive Barker and Alexander Pushkin on this poster for a Halloween event. Montreal playwright and director Michael Mitchell invited me to write a short script for this reading of Macabre and Supernatural plays, taking place at McGill University on October 26. Although I’ve been experimenting writing plays since I was eight (read the sorry saga of how Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera overshadowed my own adaptation here), this is the first time I’ve had something performed as an adult.
My short horror play — titled simply The Play – concerns a husband’s nocturnal habits and his wife’s novel proposal to rescue their troubled marriage.
Robert JE Simpson and I have established a successful creative partnership as editors of Diabolique magazine, which we regrettably left in July. We are, however, pleased to announce a new horror publication: Bedlam is a journal of horror and the macabre, and its first issue will be out in digital and print format in January, 2013.
In the meantime, visit the Bedlam website to find out more. And if you are a writer or creative with a passion for exploring life and culture’s darker realms, click here for our submissions guidelines.
Joint statement from Robert J.E. Simpson and David L Rattigan,
former editors of Diabolique magazine
Tuesday, 31 July 2012, UK
Following our sudden resignations on 24 July as editors of Diabolique magazine, we would like publicly to disassociate ourselves from Horror Unlimited, and specifically the partnership of Greg Petaloudis and Dima Ballin, publishers of Diabolique. We had no knowledge of their past business dealings, and if we had, we would not have become professionally involved with them.
We resigned with great regret, due to ongoing concerns over business practices, professional conduct, and tone and content of both internal and external communications; concerns which were regularly dismissed as quibbling over minutiae. Shortly after resigning, our fears regarding the integrity of the publishers were confirmed when we uncovered extensive evidence of Greg and Dima’s shared business history, which included a string of fake book and documentary projects, through which rare images and valuable stills were procured from horror fans and collectors under false pretences. These activities are now known to have been running concurrently with the founding of the Horror Unlimited website and Diabolique magazine.
This had been kept from us, although it had the ability to severely affect our reputations as professional writers, editors and creatives, not to mention the reputation of our contributors.
We are proud of the intelligent, entertaining, high-quality magazine we produced for 11 issues. We are thankful for the efforts of our many skilled contributors, generous with their work, time and support, who as we did, invested themselves in the Diabolique vision with little or no financial remuneration.
While this is the end of our association with Diabolique, we intend to continue our professional relationship and will be refocusing our attentions on a new project.
Robert J.E. Simpson (former editor, Diabolique)
David L Rattigan (former assistant editor, Diabolique)
My main gig at the moment is editing Diabolique, a print and digital magazine exploring the horror genre across media, including film, theatre and literature. You’ll have to buy the magazine to see the very best of the content I’ve edited or written myself, but here’s a rundown of a few of my Diabolique articles you can read online:
Some say that allowing same-sex marriage redefines marriage for everyone. It will make the definition of marriage hazy, consequently undermining a crucial social and cultural institution.
(I use that weasel word “some” quite deliberately: “Traditionalists” sounds like an insult; “opponents of same-sex marriage” makes them sound “anti”; “Christian” and “conservative” wouldn’t reflect the diversity of people with this opinion. So it will need to be “some.”)
Others say allowing same-sex marriage is a matter of equality. Gay men and women have just as much right to choose their life partners, and they have every right to call it marriage.
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In the recent case of Lesley Pilkington, the Christian therapist suspended by the BACP for misconduct, one thing stuck out for me personally.
The most egregious aspect of her conduct was, undoubtedly, telling her client — who turned out to be undercover journalist Patrick Strudwick — that childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a family member was to blame for his homosexuality. He denied all memory of it, but she insisted it was there, repressed. The part of the case that stood out for me personally, however, was what she told her client about Freemasonry.
Was there Freemasonry in his family? Pilkington asked Strudwick. Its presence can have a “spiritual effect” on males in the family, she claimed. Freemasonry, she said, “often encourages” homosexuality.
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- Ian Stuart on Charles Moore on ‘Relatively Less Important’ Areas of the UK
- Bob Ballantyne on Charles Moore on ‘Relatively Less Important’ Areas of the UK
- Dennis Richards on Marriage Is Big Enough for All of Us
- Bedlam: A Journal of Horror & the Macabre | David L Rattigan on Diabolique Magazine
- Jacquie on Christian and Agnostic
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