A few thrilling moments

DEBBIE: That’s it?
DEBBIE: That’s ten years?
DEBBIE: I would hope for a great abduction story or something.
MARTIN: Well, I’ve had a few thrilling moments, here and there.
(Grosse Pointe Blank)

You’ve seen enough “What I Did in my 2007” blog entries, I wasn’t going to burden you with another. Except, I like how Jason has done his. No fuss, no messin’, just a list of the good and the bad. Not 100% sure I can remain concise, but.

So even if this solely for me to read in, oh, a year’s time, here’s my 2007. No clue what the order is, other than good followed by bad.

“Time and the Conway Twitty Appreciation Society”: my first produced stage play. And all the attendant goodness, from the writing of it to the offer to work on a showcase, most definitely also the rehearsals. From my noggin’ to a professional company at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

Meeting Verity Lambert. Hard to see this as entirely, or solely, good, because it made her death seem all the more shocking. But she’s been one of the drama people I’ve most admired, despite my not being fussed that she did Doctor Who. And another good side: she liked my scriptwriting. Gave me some notes, precisely as perceptive as you’d expect, but genuinely liked the piece. The only thing that makes me happier is that in the same week she emailed me, a producer I had zero respect for, working on a TV show I think is a joke but a very good joke to get on your CV, also emailed me about the same script. She was rejecting me for several key reasons, every one of which was something Verity had singled out as being good.

I’ll try to be shorter. Cardiff. (You know who you are.)

UK DVD Review podcast reached its 100th episode. You can’t tell this when you listen, but it’s highly scripted – and that was one of the points of starting the project. I am, as I hoped, a better writer for having to write a ten-minute script every week. Just before Christmas, one listener set up a Facebook group about the show: last time I looked, it had over 20 members. Wonderful.

Facebook. It was the yawn of the afternoon sometime early in the year, but it became great: although I’d joined, looked around, got bored and left, an old colleague came looking for me over it a few months later. So suddenly I’m talking with people from my career before last and it’s tremendous; they’re all the people I would’ve liked to keep in touch with but didn’t. Almost all of them are. He most entirely definitely is, in case he’s wondering.

Blogger. Similarly, an old hospital radio colleague found me because of this blog. I like doing this, I like talking to you, it was a tremendous bonus to talk to this friend I’d often thought of. But you can’t believe the stories she’s got.

Joking Apart. Sat in on an audio commentary session for this, with the entire cast wondering who the scruffy man was, and later wrote the booklet that’ll be appearing in the series 2 DVD: find out more right here.

Filming for Radio Times. All these years of studying drama paid off: I can frame footage, I can film for sequences. Like any other filming, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait, but RT’s art staff is great and each time I’ve got strong shots from unusual and precarious angles. I’m happy. Learnt some smart Photoshop tips from people on the shoots, too.

Lots of things for Radio Times magazine and website: some I can’t talk about yet, but don’t mistake brevity for my not realising how lucky I am in this line.

RT’s On This Day television history piece crossed a milestone: I delivered my 150th week of copy during the summer. Long may it continue. I think I passed a milestone on the magazine’s TV Stats too, but there I’m just hoping I can continue to enjoy those yet not keep waking up in a cold sweat.

Working with Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres on Radio 4 proposals. This is still in progress and in fact you’re hearing this before they do: I’ve completed a script we were developing and I’m not only pleased with it, but it’s made me write in ways that really stretched me. Currently the script is in a drawer while I try to step back from it, ready to rewrite, but whether I’ve actually pulled off what I think I have, the thing is that I think I have and that’s a pretty glorious feeling. We’ll see where it all goes, though.

Speaking of going, I got a new car. Well, not new. Well, I only got it because my last one was a write-off. But, still. It’s got a nice radio.

And speaking of going, I’d promised my mother for years that I’d take her to New York City and I finally did in early summer. Whether it makes any sense or not, just stepping out onto Manhattan’s sidewalks makes me bloom. And she said it was the greatest thing that had ever happened in her life. She did say that in the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, but I suspect she meant NYC. Doesn’t that beat everything?

Speaking of Apple, I got an iPhone. Everything good that you’ve heard about iPhones is true. If anything, everything good you’ve heard is a just pale outline of the truth. It’s been a life-changer and I honestly am not kidding.

Netvibes.com, Photoshop CS3, and Rogue Amoeba’s Radioshift (like a Sky+ for radio) haven’t changed my life but I rely on them, and increasingly enjoy relying on them, every day.

Veronica Mars was cancelled upsettingly early but I’ll keep it on the good side of the ledger because its final season was as strong as ever. Rafi, a listener to my podcast, said on air that he felt empty now the show was over: I envy him that line.

Dar Williams finally released a DVD. It wasn’t very good, but she’s so spectacularly talented that it’d have to be a DVD by someone else before I’d allow it onto the bad side.

And, if only because Dar didn’t release any album this year, the song of 2007 for me was Born to Hum by Erin McKeown. She recorded in 2003, I’ve just this second found out, but I only discovered it this year. Mind you, I’ve been listening to a lot more music this year than lately; a standout is Suzanne Vega’s Beauty and Crime album. You know how you get a tune stuck in your head? At times I have the entire album in there. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s The Calling was the soundtrack to my New York trip, though I don’t think my mother knows that.

My wife Angela was diagnosed with breast cancer. And that one sentence outweighs all the above, doesn’t it?

Prognosis is good, though, and she’s now in chemotherapy. And for all the bad, there has been good, too: we’ve shook with gallows-humour laughter at points. And people have been tremendous, most especially folks at Radio Times. Funny: people I’d have expected to be good, haven’t been so much yet others I wouldn’t have thought would even know have turned out to be exceptional.

A friend’s got prostrate cancer. I’m trying to be exceptional, yet also not be in the way.

Radio Times competitions. I never want to hear about these again, and that’s entirely my fault.

Cornwall. (You know who you are.)

That’s it, I think. Let me know about your 2007, would you?


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