I’ve written a first draft of a telly comedy. And my ginger cat Charlie has already shown his opinion by sitting on it, and leaving behind a suspicious brown smear on the title page. Apart from writing sketches, all my major stuff so far has been in radio, and with television you have to think in the opposite way – visually. (DUH) I’ve got to read it and see if it’s . . well I was going to say ‘any good’ but now I’m thinking more of ‘salvageable’. I have written stuff in the past and returned to it months later, and thought it was better than I realised. Or blushed with shame to think that I was even considering inflicting such toss on the public.
It was like that with my teenage diary – one long moan about my so-called life, and full of great thoughts and original insights. The Prophet for modern teens. I read it years later and was convulsed with hysterical laughter at my naivety and teenage pomposity. “I feel we have a spiritual bond” I wrote about the man I was seeing – the thirty five year old who sprayed his mouth with Gold Spot breath freshener before he stuck his tongue down my throat and lived with his mother. And later on when I got bored and dumped him I wrote “I will never love like this again”, only to fall in love a few weeks later with a gay man. How could I not see the comedy in this? Because I was a teenager. But at least life and age, (though mainly age) have taught me that sometimes you have to put something in the bottom drawer for a while to settle before you can really appreciate it. Or realise that it’s shite. Pity you can’t do that with people.
And that’s another thing. With writing, acting, art there’s grey areas. We all know of famous actors who have less range than a brick or artists for whom we feel our dog with his tail dipped in a bucket of paint could do better. But with singing – specifically the X-Factor, you can either sing or you can’t. So why do we constantly hear the plaintive cry of “Singing is my life” and on they come and open their mouths and out comes the sound of two cats fighting in a bucket? It’s a level of self-delusion that leaves me baffled. And highly entertained. Watch this audition while I stop bloody procrastinating and read the script.