Heads and tales

I don’t think you need to be a writer to have choked up a little over the word “Madam” in the phrase “Madam Vice President” this week. I do suspect you’re a writer if you’ve spent as long as I have trying to work out whether it should be spelt “Madam” or “Madame”.

Anyway. Watching the Inauguration felt like it was safe to come out of my head and look around. Then BBC News had a strapline saying Boris Johnson had congratulated President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration ceremony — before it was even a fraction over. That’s not someone feeling choked up over the word Madam, nor the word Madame, that’s a man who staffed out what he’s supposed to do.

Since then we’ve had the UK refusing to treat EU diplomats the way every country treats every diplomat and it feels like England wants Europe to beg to be our friend. I see that going very well.

And I see me going back into my head.


This is a week when I could weep for my own government but actually got a little teary watching the US one. It’s a week when I wish we had politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and am glad we don’t have Ted Cruz.

But it’s also a week where, by chance, I got into more conversations with other writers than usual. Plenty over email, many over Messages and Messenger and WhatsApp, a couple on the phone — that’s couple as in more than one call, not that I spoke to two people in a relationship — and of course Zoom.

One in particular, though, was a conversation about writing television drama. I am a writer at all because of TV drama and we are in the longest continuous Golden Age of it that I think there ever has been. So I get to talk about TV quite a bit, but this time it was with people in the industry and it was about both the dramas and that industry.

And it was invigorating.

I think I am at my happiest when I am in script. When I’m writing a script and am a good chunk into it. Doesn’t matter overmuch whether it’s going well or not, it’s the using of those muscles and the being in that space that works for me.

And after that quite short natter, I came away knowing what script I’m going to be writing next.

In a week that’s been a little tough and a lot long, you just need some good words to keep you going.