Never meet your heroes (except when they’re awesome)

The podcast is a real treat this week as I got to interview a couple of my TV writing heroes. Rob Grant is co-creator of the legendary science fiction comedy series Red Dwarf, and Andrew Marshall is probably best known for the sitcom Two Point Four Children, though my favourite show of his was a black comedy he co-wrote with David Renwick called If You See God, Tell Him… It was so pitch black that it was only ever screened once, here’s a horrifying trailer…

 

Rob and Andrew have been working on The Quanderhorn Xperimentations. A very funny parody of The Quatermass Xperiment, which they’ve produced as a BBC radio comedy and as a novel. I was lucky enough to speak to them at the MCM Comic Con in London recently and it was like my own personal comedy writing masterclass. Luckily, I recorded it for you, dear listener, so you can hear the podcast here, which includes an exclusive clip from the audiobook.

There’s a busy month ahead on the podcast, and we have some fantastic authors, including a 90-year-old eBook pioneer. Here’s a quick trailer…

 


So don’t miss out and subscribe on your podcatcher of choice!

Also this week I interviewed Sam Missingham. She runs Lounge Books, which provides expert marketing advice for authors both indie and trad for £10 per month. The episode is absolutely fascinating and won’t go live for about a month, but our Patreon supporters will be getting the episode later this week. It’s so good I want them to hear it right away (once Dave has done the editing bit!). Check out our Patreon page here.

Oh, and I’ve had a few people tell how sorry they are that they missed the crowdfunding for The End of Magic. To them, and to you, I say YOU CAN STILL PRE-ORDER THE BOOK AND GET YOUR NAME IN IT AND ALL SORTS OF OTHER COOL STUFF. Just click here and hit “Pledge” – thank you!

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My Robot Occupation Movies #4 – Reservoir Dogs

Fourth in a series – Imagine for a moment that the world has been invaded and occupied by an army of robots, and you could only grab a handful of DVDs before you were incarcerated… what would they be?

“When I’m getting serious about a girl, I show her RIO BRAVO and she better f-ing like it!” says Mr Tarantino of his prospective dates. Now, putting aside whether or not someone should “test” one’s sweetheart, or indeed what that says about your attitude to relationships, the desire for the film fan to share their favourite films with those close to them is a strong one. And we’d be lying if we didn’t judge people based on their responses. It’s entirely wrong, of course, but I’m sure sports fans do the same when they take their beloveds to the big match (do they still call it that? Who cares…).

Then, imagine my trepidation when taking the girl I loved to see RESERVOIR DOGS for the first time. Our first date film had been HOOK, a crashing disappointment, and so a lot was riding on this exciting debut that I’d read about in Empire. I’d like to pretend that I was cool and knew all about the Hong Kong movies that had inspired Reservoir Dogs, or that I was entirely cognisant of how he was subverting the genre, but I didn’t. All I knew was that this was the film that everyone was talking about, and I just had to see it. Also, he worked in a video rental store and so did I, so maybe there was hope for me yet. Back then, an indie film like this rarely got a chance to be seen outside of London (actually, that’s pretty much the same now), but the UCI cinema chain used to run Director’s Chair screenings of foreign and indie films on Tuesday nights, and Dogs was showing for one night only. The lights went down and we sat through 99 minutes of mayhem, violence, betrayal, torture, and the finest on-screen swearing since GOODFELLAS.

And she hooted with laughter throughout!

It was then that I knew I had met the woman I would marry. Not only could she tolerate A-grade film brutality but she also knew that what we were watching was essentially a black comedy with great dollops of psychological drama. At the time we were both auditioning for drama schools, and we were in awe of the acting chops on display. I asked Claire about it today (yup, we’re still married!) and she said that she’d never seen a film like it before. She’d always seen nice family movies like ET and BACK TO THE FUTURE, so what Reservoir Dogs was, as she just put it, “Opened her up to new experiences…”

Which is why our next date movie was BASIC INSTINCT. But that’s another story…