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Friday 14th July 2006

I am almost four months late on my Channel 4 comedy drama script. I don't quite know how this has happened. It's an idea that I like and that I am quite inspired by, but for some reason I have not managed to get much done since I was commissioned. more recently that has been due to having loads of other more urgent things that needed to be done (or at least things that the deadline for is an actual recording or gig and so I'll look stupid if I don't do the work), but back in March and April I seemed to waste nearly every day doing nothing. Even if I had written just a page a day I could have got it done, yet was incapable of rousing my brain. I was a bit ill and a bit tired, but mainly I was a bit scared of committing my heart to another project that might not end up getting made. Which is stupid obviously. Try again, fail again, fail better. Rather than play internet poker and watch Deal, No Deal and don't bother trying. Beckett would have got nowhere if that had been his advice. Especially as there was no internet or Deal, No Deal then.
So some days or months writing seems an impossible and painful process and then suddenly you'll get a day like today where it seems effortless and easy and stuff is tripping out of your brain. On days like today one can't really understand how it's possible to have a week where you write nothing, because surely you can just sit down and write something and then if it's shit you just throw it away and you’re no worse off. You curse the stupid you of four months ago who was self-indulgently moping around thinking that writing the script was impossible. If he had only put in an hour a day you could be concentrating on your Edinburgh show, but because of that stupid, lazy, poker playing idiot you are now up against the wall, having to dash off a script and come up with an Edinburgh show.
As you'll know if you've been reading for the last three and a half years, these are patterns I go through quite regularly and inspiration and motivation are unpredictable coquettes who so rarely arrive at the same time. They were nowhere to be seen yesterday, mainly due to my birthday hangover, but today and on my actual birthday they were there, pushing me on. I still didn't do half as much as I could have done, but stuff was coming out and it wasn't bad and I felt good about the project.
I was also having ideas for stand up. So many in fact that I wasn't able to write some of them down and then five minutes later when I had time to get out a pen I couldn't remember what they were. This happens quite a lot. I guess the brain is off in a slightly dream-like realm when it's firing stuff out like this and like dreams you can get carried along by something, only to snap out of your reverie and have totally forgotten what was so engaging just seconds before.
One of the things that I was thinking about was the way that people are very snidy about so-called "One Hit Wonders", as if having only one hit makes you a failure of some kind or devalues your achievement of having had this hit. Yet nearly every single person who will mock the One Hit Wonder has never had a single hit of their own. They manage to make themselves feel superior to someone who is a whole infinity per cent better at having hits than them, even though they are clearly inferior. If you're Paul McCartney or Elvis Presley or Cliff Richard or ELO then yes, you can maybe look down your nose a bit at the person who has had just one hit (but I bet none of those people do. They know it's hard to have one hit and just cos they have had more doesn't make them belittle the artist who has only done it once. With the possible exception of Cliff Richard who is probably a bit of a twat about it, I'm guessing).
There's this horrible schadenfreude behind it all, where the None Hit Wonder is feeling good about themself because they're thinking, "Yes, you had a hit, but it was only down to luck and you couldn't do it again and now look at you." But without even the self-awareness to think "But I couldn't even do it once. I couldn't even come up with Shadduppayaface. That's how rubbish I am." So that's taking delight in the misfortunes of others without even being able to see that you yourself are less fortunate. The Germans will have to come up with another word for that. Is it better to live a life of total mediocrity or to have a mainly mediocre life with a little blip in the middle where you did something that worked (for whatever reason - so yeah Chico Time might not be anything to write home about in terms of art, and Chico will probably have only one entry in the Guinness Book of Hit Singles- but that's one more entry than me or probably you). Let's start mocking the None Hit Wonders. In fact let's mock the None Hit Wonders who take the piss out of One Hit Wonders and yet have never even tried and failed to have a hit themselves. It's hard to create stuff. It's easy to sneer. It's a triumph of a kind just to keep trying I guess. Samuel Beckett is no idiot (I mean the playwright, but it applies to the Quantum Leaper too to some degree).
I had a happy day enjoying the fecundity of my brain, but then had a gig at the Red Rose where I dealt badly with a tableful of fools who were only mildly disrupting a show that everyone else was enjoying. I let their comments get to me and for the first time in ages my response was over the top, too aggressive and not amusing enough. This job pulls you one way and then the other. You've gotta love it.

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