Thursday, February 21, 2008

For a writer, television can be distraction or it can be research. I want both, as Pooh said when Rabbit offered him honey or condensed milk with his bread. (Pooh was polite enough to add 'Don't bother about the bread' which is how I feel about media news coverage.) Currently I'm following Lark Rise to Candleford, BBC's soft-as-putty Sunday night costume drama, which this week took inspiration from its title, being filmed in the dim ruby luminosity of candlelit night parlours when not in dewy soft-focus through leafy glades. The storyline was especially puttyish: a little girl abandoned alone. Exquisite as a porcelain doll she was, and touched the hearts of all around including, rather belatedly some might feel, that of her mother. "Put her in your bed, Laura" said Dorcas as little Polly reached round 3 of pass-the-parcel from cottage to castle. Nobody mentioned nits, though.

And the very wonderful Ashes to Ashes, as well as celebrating the Return of Gene Hunt (regular readers may recall my ode on this subject & will envisage the throaty appreciation inherent in these words), also features a left-by-her-mother little girl. Candles too, though these are cake candles so their function here is merely poignant. Will DI Alex Drake psychologically-profile her way out of the 1980s in time for her daughter's birthday...? Frankly my dear I don't give a damn, I just love the characters, the humour, the music, the narrative pace and most of all the terse laconic dialogue. Unmissable for any writer. Taster here.

The Words@FromeFestival team met on the night of the lunar eclipse (sadly cloud-covered before the dragon began to bite at 2am) to dot the I and cross the T of 'Literary' in the summer festival. Still time to enter the story contest!

Friday is the start of the London Word Festival which the posh papers are already lauding in terms like 'gritty' and 'illicit joys'... "Rap-inspired verse" whispers the header in the Times, adding quickly that "if that thought turns you purple with rage, you are probably not quite the target audience." Tee hee. Much as I like purple as a colour, I'm more of a mint green with envy I can't get there, so if you can, do!

This week's non sequitur: Strictly Come Duck Dancing on Ice - the frozen lake at Stourhead.

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