Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Alcs and Alkies

Okay that's enough BBC bashing. I don't like kicking a man when he's down.

On the back cover of the current ALCS magazine are a couple of interesting quotes from an interview with Alan Plater. Why it's on the back cover I don't know.

''Writers are essentially the court jesters. This is of course the best job in the court, which is why so many people (including pretenders) want to do it.''

I think these are very carefully chosen words. The court jester was one of the most precarious positions in the court. While it was going well the jester was a powerful figure with the ear of the king. Keep performing and life was rosy.

BUT ..... fall out of favour and it could be a one way ticket to obscurity, or teaching.

''Corporations have no interest in writing, only in the market, which by definition has no real integrity''

Amen. The counter argument goes that the market will find it's level and if an audience wants thoughtful intelligent progamming then the market will eventually provide it. But that doesn't work. The market is controlled by corporations who have a vested interest in mass appeal. Even if that means creating that 'appeal'' by mass marketing. How does MacDonalds manage to sell so much crap?

''But if all we want to be is rich then we shouldn't be writing in the first place. Radio and theatre, for me, remain the oases of sanity''

Heck I've got no beef about getting rich. And I think if writers were properly rewarded for what they do then getting rich and writing quality material don't have to be mutually exclusive. But I can see where he's coming from. Radio and Theatre are probably the place where the writers voice is given the most respect. It is also relatively poorly paid compared to TV and film. I guess that's the trade off.

And Alkies? It's all over the news this morning that booze is the curse of the middle classes.

It always was. You just don't see them staggering outside a nightclub at 3 in the morning. At least I don't when I'm there.

But for a writer especially, spending long hours alone in front of a computer, wrestling with various emotions, there is a temptation to have a glass of wine or 3. When that urge hits me, I stop writing. Because I know I won't be writing in the same voice or tone after a few drinks.

That's just me. Some prefer to have a few to loosen up before they even start writing. Either way, my tip for healthy drinking? Always use a clean glass.


Lucy said...

Back in 2001 I wrote a script report drunk once. Said writer phoned me up, abused me, invited me to do better. I met him down the pub to have a go back at him, we got drunk, ended up going out for 6 months. It's a true story. He even sent me a card when I got married (not to him, obviously). Life is def stranger than fiction, hey?

Helen Smith said...

Hello E D

Have you read Stephen King's On Writing? There was a period when he was out of his head on drink and drugs most of the time and he talks about it in the book. He says Cujo is his favourite book that he's written and he just wishes he could remember writing it.

I often think about that. I can't get over the fact that he managed to produce work in that state. I can't even write with a hangover.