Holiday, writing, reading…

Just to recap before the film…

Actually I’ve checked the cinema listings for tonight and there’s not one thing I want to see. Except the film with Eric Cantona in and the only showing of that was 12 midday. As it’s about two million degrees I might give that a miss.

I’m pleased Eric became an actor. I remember when he hung up his boots he said he was going to become a poet. As Simon Armitage, real dogs-bollocks poet, said, ‘You wonder how long he’d last, setting off on a pissing-wet Wednesday for a train to Redditch, to read to three men and a dog in a cornered-off section of the library then back to a B&B… and the world snoring champion in the bed behind the cardboard wall.’

I’ve just booked a B&B myself, although I’ve discovered they are called ‘boutique hotels’ these days. The brilliance of their websites. One listed all their rooms one by one, each had a name, ‘the Hunstanton suite’ and so on and then at the bottom in capitals,


New? Global warming I presume leading to the reposition of the oceans.

The worst ones are where the owners themselves feature in the photos. They glare out at you trying to look welcoming but instead manage only to look like a smiling Rose and Fred West.

We’re going to ‘sunny hunny’ Hunstanton on sea.

“Has the room got a tv?” Will has already asked. “Cracking line up for Wimbledon tomorrow.”

I’ll be ok, I’m currently reading 5 books. Although this is not strictly true. I’m listening to one. Edward Hogan’s Blackmoor. I bought it after seeing that it won some young writer award. It took him 6 years to write apparently and he’s only fifteen now.

Normally I get these audiobooks and I never listen to them fully. They’re the blanket which help me sleep. This one though, I’m hooked. It reminds me of Ian McEwan mixed with Ruth Rendell. Both compliments.

For the last two evenings, exhausted, I’ve been lying on my orange sofa listening to it. I’ve also been alcohol free. Then to bed early to read.

Like the movies I like the idea of tv but books always seem a better option. I’ve been off work for ten days now, holiday not ill, and I don’t think I’ve watched one tv programme. That I’m exhausted is because I’ve been exercising every day.

Yesterday at the gym I was watching this bloke running. ‘I want to look like that,’ I thought although why I would suddenly develop dark Hispanic features I don’t know.

Then I went on the running machine myself and this old bloke with legs up to his nostrils appeared next to me. He ran 5 kilometres in 18 minutes. It took me 26 minutes to get that far and then one of the personal trainers came and slapped an ‘out of service sign’ on me.

I’ve also been working, writing. When you’re writing time collapses. You can sit down and three hours have passed, on consequetive days.

I’m going with the flow at the moment. The main section of the book, first draft, was almost finished. Then I had this idea for a prologue. 25,000 words later…

I wonder if there’s any precedent for a novel having a 25,000 word prologue?

In my head I’m thinking of The Insult by Rupert Thomson. That finishes with someone telling a story about 100 pages long. I’m hoping this will work like that but in reverse. And in my head I think it might be pretty cool to read a novel where chapter 1 starts on page 112.

In my head also is the thought that perhaps it’s a disaster.

Right now, I don’t care. I’m loving it, you see. I’m telling a story. I’ve got characters. Next scene is a break in on a Russian base in the Antarctic. Then there’s a suicide mission across the ice to find the ‘holy grail’. Then there’s a suicide mission to find the person who’s gone on the suicide mission.

This story is within a story that is part of a letter that is sent to the character with which chapter one opens.

Perhaps I should go to the movies. There I might learn how plots work.

Currently reading: All Points North by Simon Armitage, 31 Songs by Nick Hornby, The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross, Blackmoor by Edward Hogan, As You Step Outside by VG Lee.

Currently listening to: Michael Jackson. Aren’t we all? And I only wrote about him last week too…


2 Responses to “Holiday, writing, reading…”

  1. June 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Funny – though disheartening that a poet’s life should be so unglamorous, so Alan Bennett (much as I love him), while footballers attract such hideously overpaid, unwarranted attention (in my view). C’est la vie, Cantona.

    And wouldnt it be cool if we could just morph in to different looks (‘dark hispanic features’) at a whim or even randomly, keep us guessing who we are…

    Boutique hotels – i can thoroughly recommend one in Berwick on Tweed should you ever be in that neck of the lierary woods (called 1 Sallyport, check out the website, its nice, really).

    Keep making us laugh so poetically

  2. September 11, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Drew, Did you ever get to see Looking For Eric? It’s my film of the year. Absolutely brilliant film-making that left the few strangers I was watching with actually talking to each other. I think it’s because Loach takes huge risks with the plot in several sections, but they all come off. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, but as Eric would say, “This film has got balls! I like this film.”

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Drew Gummerson

Drew Gummerson is a writer. In 2002 his first novel, The Lodger, was published and was a finalist in the Lambda Awards. His latest novel, Me and Mickie James was published by Jonathan Cape in July 2008. He works for the police. Visit his website here.

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