I was brought up, a long, long, long…oh okay I’m getting on a bit so…long, long time ago, in the days when men were men (is that sexist in anyway?) and as a child in a lower-middle class family I was told to work hard and school and get a nice job, something 9 til 5 and, in the words of Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers) “Not something you’d like, that’s not allowed.”
I tried it, I really tried it in many, many ways. I tried accountancy, yuck, I tried hotel and restaurant management, oh the hours (I know, not 9-5 but stop being so pedantic or I’ll block you) , I tried Speech and Language Therapy. I was privileged to meet Michael Palin when I worked at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in 2001-2. I was really good at this job and I loved working with the children but … sorry I’ll stop there otherwise you’ll get about a hundred pages of ranting and raging and this story will hopefully have a happy ending.
In 2009, I was on long-term sick from work with depression and was watching an episode of the wonderful Ripping Yarns, written by Michael Palin (I met him while working at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children). The particular episode was ‘Golden Gordon’ (eight one, eight bloody one) I commented to a friend (ex-friend, the relationship is no more, it has ceased to be, it’s gone to meet its maker, it’s pushing up daisies, its joined the choir invisible etc. etc. etc.) that we could write something similar, I wouldn’t say better as I’m not that arrogant and also because I’d actually met Michael Palin while working at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in Islington.
After the first screenplay I was hooked. I decided that after twenty seven years of trying to carve out a career that was considered respectable (ish) I really wasn’t cut out for a ‘proper’ job and so I continued writing. I attended courses, red bucks, attended sessions at Northern Film and Media, watched lots of YouTube videos (some of them actually about writing) and learnt and developed. There was only really one drawback, a pretty big drawback… I didn’t know what to do with the things once they were writted.
In 2016, the government raised the student loan age limit to 60 years old. I decided that since I’d written five films and had ideas for many, many, many, many more, this was an ideal opportunity to learn how to get at least one of the things made, ….
This is my journey.
P.S. Did I mention that I met THE Michael Palin while I was working at the Michael Palin Centre for stammering children in 2001/2002?
I also cooked a steak for Jeffrey Archer while working at the Green Man Beefeater Steakhouse in Trumpington, Cambridge, but the less said about that the better.