Monday, February 11, 2008


I took part in a recording of Radio 4's Banter last night. It was recorded at The Drill Hall in London which anyone who has been will tell you is every bit as glamorous and exciting as New York's Radio City Music Hall.

I think it was the first thing of its ilk that I'd done in ages. I must have done far less other shows in 2007 than I normally do. I have to if I'm writing a book.

Normally when I'm writing I start each day by re-writing the stuff I wrote the day before. I find it helps to keep the tone consistent, gets me back into the right frame of mind by the time I start writing new words and helps me to pick up a few silly mistakes made through tiredness the day before.

But if I take a day off I have to go further back and instead of spending the morning picking through the last day's work I end up spending a day revising the last couple of days. If I'm forced to take a week off I virtually have to go back to the beginning. I end up getting far more done in five uninterrupted days than I do in ten days spread over, say, a month.

Which is why I said no to almost everything else last year - including lots of things I'd normally say yes to. I reckon with Annually Retentive, the editing of America Unchained, Genius on the wireless and the one-off tellybox episode I had more than enough distractions from the writing as it was.

Once Genius was out of the way in November I basically went into hibernation and committed every day to writing full time. I was amazed by how productive I got. It was strangely manic and exciting to do but also strangely debilitating at the same time. In six weeks I don't think I travelled more than half a mile from my front door which is just odd. So now I feel like a pit-pony blinking as it emerges into sunlight for the first time in ages as I try to remember how the world works when it isn't just me, a computer and the sound of typing.

With the film going out last Tuesday and the DVD being released today I eased my way back in by promoting the film hither and thither but Banter was the first show that I was doing purely for its own sake. It's hosted by Andrew Collins and last night's panellists were Richard Herring, Russel Howard, Dillie Keane and myself. I was feeling rusty beforehand and was slightly regretting saying yes to something where I thought I might be found out as the underprepared fool that I was but when it came to it the show was great fun and far more to do with conversation than with prepared material. Which is as it should be given the name, Banter.

They probably record about 90 minutes worth of material during each show with an hour of it being far too scurrilous (or downright rude) for broadcast. They're recording four more shows and I'd recommend it as a cheap (free) night out if you're down London way. You can get tickets from the inappropriately named who should have thought about the fact that it wasn't just TV when they started.

In other news, I saw a finished book cover today. Always an exciting moment and it's a nice way to be reminded that the hard graft involved in writing 120,000 words isn't in vain. It's real and in April it'll be out there... looking like this.


Unknown said...

I'm looking forward to the book very much Dave, I've already got it on pre-order! I should also have a copy of the DVD winging its way to me through the ether. It's just a shame I can't support the spirit of it and buy from independents, because there are no independent booksellers or entertainment shops anywhere near here. I had to resort to the corporate behemoth that was A****n...

Jayne said...

Hi Dave - out of curiousity, when did you start writing the book and when did you finish? I'll be getting it in April, am interested in all sorts of things that I think it will cover, and besides, I like your writing!

Anonymous said...

I must say you're looking very well endowed in the beard department in the cover of that book.

Anonymous said...

Any of your pictures on the cover this time?

The debilitating effect of sitting down and just writing and not venturing very far probably wasn't helped by the short winter days. That sort of thing is enough to make me want to climb the walls at work even. I'm the sort of person who ticks off the days until the clocks change for summer time.