Yesterday, I was reading John Inverdale’s column on sports in City AM. Inverdale is a supposed sports journalist who recently, famously, nearly lost his job with the BBC by making sexist comments live on air about new Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. So I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to be the sharpest tool in the journalistic toolbox. But I was nonetheless amazed to see him saying the following in a column decrying the practise of knighting sportsmen and women whilst still active:
Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins are waiting in cycling’s hall of fame for Sir Chris Froome, who must surely receive a similar accolade – why is his Tour de France win this year less remarkable than Wiggins’ 12 months ago?
Sir Chris Hoy was knighted after winning his seventh Olympic medal (six gold and one silver), making him the greatest British Olympian of all time, taking that accolade from… Bradley Wiggins. In 2012 Wiggins not only became the first British man to win the General Classification (a.k.a. Yellow Jersey) of the Tour de France, he also won Olympic gold in the time trial at London 2012, to go with the medals he’d previously won at Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. That total of four golds, one silver and two bronze made him the most decorated British Olympian of all time until Chris Hoy overtook him a few days later.
So Bradley Wiggins has a Tour de France win, plus seven Olympic medals, four of them gold. Chris Froome has a Tour de France win, plus one Olympic bronze medal.
With respect, those two records are not comparable. Froome’s Tour de France win is one hell of an achievement, but the Tour de France win was only a part of what got Bradley Wiggins a knighthood. Given that Chris Hoy got a Knighthood purely on the basis of a similar Olympic medal haul to Bradley Wiggins, it’s arguable that Wiggin’s Tour de France win played only a minor role in getting Wiggins his knighthood, that he might have got it anyway.
John Inverdale is supposed to be a sports journalist. Is it really possible that he doesn’t know that Bradley Wiggins is one of only two Britons in history to win seven Olympic medals? Is it conceivable that he doesn’t know what Wiggins got his knighthood for?
Or was he just skipping facts to make a lazy point in his column?
I’m not sure what’s worse.
To those who believe that George Zimmerman is innocent…
Imagine that everything happened pretty much as Zimmerman claimed it did, with one difference: he wasn’t able to get off a shot and as a result Trayvon Martin beat him to death. You’d say that Martin was guilty of murder right? You’d say that if you were on a jury, you’d convict him, yeah? Really?
Let’s say that the police arrived to find Martin standing beside a dead Zimmerman and he gave them the following story:
“I was coming home when I realised a guy seemed to be following me. He didn’t look like a cop or anything. I tried to walk faster, but he kept on following me. I even tried taking short cuts, but he still kept following me. I was getting scared. I wasn’t in an area where I felt safe knocking on people’s doors. Eventually, I doubled-back and told him to stop following me. I thought I needed to stand up to him. Let him know that he couldn’t just follow people around at night.
“Then he pulled a gun out. Now I was really terrified. I thought maybe he was some racist out to kill someone black, for kicks. He didn’t look at all calm or in control, like he was hyped up or something. I didn’t have a gun myself. I knew I couldn’t run because he could just shoot me in the back. But if I did nothing, he could just shoot me whenever he felt like it. Then he looked away, just for a moment. I knew this might be my only chance, and I knew I had to seize it right away.
“So I jumped him. I knew I had to move fast and not let him get a move. I knew that if I let up, just for an instant, he’d be able to get his gun on me and shoot me. I got on top of him and started to bang his head on the sidewalk, again and again. I didn’t like doing it, but I knew I couldn’t stop until he was completely out of it. Otherwise, he’d just shoot me and kill me.
“Eventually, I felt him just go limp and I stopped. I realised then he was dead. I didn’t want to kill him, but he pulled a gun on me.”
Imagine then, at the subsequent trial, his defence’s argument basically boils down to:
“Zimmerman followed our client in a highly suspicious and threatening manner and then, when confronted, pulled a gun on our client. Our client had reasonable cause to fear for his life, and given that he was unarmed himself had no option but to use lethal and sudden force to defend himself. It is for this reason that our client is pleading not guilty to the charge of murder.”
Are you really saying that you would convict him in this case? Are you really going to argue that a man doesn’t have the right to defend himself when he finds himself being followed by an armed man?
Wouldn’t you decide that Trayvon Martin had the right to stand his ground?
As discussed previously, last week an article of mine about Monopoly went viral. The article is on the Critical Miss website (www.criticalmiss.com), but since that’s now merely a subdomain of my main Jonny Nexus site, visits to it appear in the overall site’s webstats. For the first time since the whole kerfuffle hit, I’ve just found time to look at those statistics. Here’s the main usage graph.
May was clearly quite a month. I’d say that to receive 150 thousand visitors to your website is not a bad achievement. But when exactly within May did this happen?
What’s interesting there is that we had an earlier, mini-viral peak around the 16th to 18th May – which was when Penny Arcade published their piece about the article. This then almost dropped away, before exploding back on the 26th. Of course, at the time this all passed me by: I don’t make a habit of browsing my server stats. The final question is where all these readers are coming from? Well here’s the top ten of visitor countries:
That’s pretty much what I’d expect based on the surveys I did back in the Critical Miss days (the top four’s identical to the results I got then). But it is an interesting illustration of: a) what an interconnected world we now live in; and b) just how widely Hasbro (Parker Brothers as was) have licensed Monopoly.
Seven years ago, as part of the penultimate issue of my gaming web fanzine Critical Miss, I wrote a short filler article about an interesting fact I’d discovered about the board game Monopoly (which was that if you land on a property but opt not to buy it, it gets auctioned off by the bank). Critical Miss was never serious; pretty much everything in it was very tongue-in-cheek and not to be taken literally. I’m not actually expecting you to start invading people’s space at wedding receptions or introduce yourself to complete strangers in the street, for example.
Yes, they’ve even done a version for Brighton
I always aimed to give Critical Miss articles a good angle and a snappy title; for my Monopoly article I wrote it using the narrative conceit of a “campaign for real Monopoly”. There was never any campaign. It was just a neat story angle and an eye-catching title. The issue came out and a good few people read it, but I don’t recall there being much in the way of comment about that short filler article about Monopoly. And that was that. Except that it wasn’t, because in the digital age of the Internet, nothing truly dies; like Great Cthulhu it merely waits, sleeping.
The article first woke nearly two years ago, after someone – I was never able to track down the “patient zero” who’d started it all – found it, read it, and tweeted about it, causing it to go viral. For three days the link was passed around the digital world. According to the web stats of my web site, around 40,000 people read it during this period, and it even found its way into an online blog published by the Washington Post. That was cool, but it pretty much passed me by. The pre-Twitter, pre-Facebook (pre-blog even) technology and design of Critical Miss was so old that none of it traced back to me in any way. It wasn’t my Tweet that was being retweeted, and so I got no “digital dividend” from the attention my article was getting.
Then, last Wednesday, when I was on holiday in Spain with my family, I received a text from my friend who back in the Critical Miss days had gone by the nomicker of “Bubba”:
Your monopoly post just hit twitter, buzz feed and gizmodo.
This was news to me, as with data roaming turned off on my phone, I was completely out of the digital loop. I didn’t expect this to be anything other than a rerun of the “viral event” of two years before, but I figured I ought to just touch base with what was going on. So when we got back to the hotel I bought a 24 hour wifi card and hauled out my laptop. (I wouldn’t normally take a laptop with me on holiday, but I’m just in the process of finishing off my latest novel, prior to submitting it to agents, and so had been sitting in beach cafes for an hour or so a day, working on it).
What I found waiting for me was pretty stunning: an email from someone working for the BBC World Service, asking if I’d be available for an interview. Within hours, other requests were coming in, from stations in the UK, Australia, Ireland and, for British expats, in Spain.
The Daily Mail (Spanish edition) from Thursday 30th May 2013
The next day things got even stranger, when my article hit the newspapers, with pieces referencing it being published in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, Metro and the New Zealand Herald to name just some, to go with the online articles at Buzzfeed, Gizmodo, AOL, news.com.au, the Huffington Post, Yahoo Games, FoxNews.com, Time.com and Penny Arcade (who might have been the people who started the event, as their piece was dated 16th May). Even my favourite paper, the Guardian, mentioned it, albeit tacked onto the end of an article about single mothers.
But the newspapers had completely misunderstood the nature of my article as well as getting certain details incorrect (in a manner that showed all their articles had come from one common news source). The situation was actually summed up rather nicely by Mark Green (@mgreen) in a post on Facebook:
I can’t believe that several actual newspapers today are running a story about “Are you playing Monopoly properly?” and talking about the “Campaign for Real Monopoly” run by Johnny Nexus and his “London-based gaming blog”, Near Miss.
- The guy’s name is Jonny Nexus, not Johnny Nexus.
- The site is a fanzine, not a blog.
- It’s called Critical Miss, not Near Miss.
- The “Campaign” thing was just the article title, not an actual organization.
- The article was written in 2005.
Seriously, what the heck news agency managed this one?
When I talked to the various radio stations, they all turned out to be operating under the same misapprenhension: that this was an actual, real campaign that I was running now, as opposed to merely an article I wrote seven years ago. Obviously, I wanted to get onto the radio. What aspiring author wouldn’t? But equally I didn’t want to go on under completely false pretences, nor have to pretend that I was actually running a serious campaign on this issue. After all, while being on the radio is one thing, being an apparently obsessed nutter on the radio is something quite different. So when I had a chance to discuss things in advance with a producer I made sure to explain the full situation to them, whilst stressing that I was still keen to go on and discuss my “tongue-in-cheek” campaign.
BBC Radio 5 Live dropped out after this discussion, although in a very nice email they said it was because they’d decided to go with stories about the Mary Rose and Simon Schama, and I’ve genuinely no reason to doubt that. I’d also been in talks with a programme on the BBC World Service (which apparently also goes onto NPR in the US), but that fizzled out. And finally, I was asked if I’d be available for BBC Radio 4′s Today programme with John Humphrys, but while they did go ahead with the feature, it was with a Monopoly world champion explaining what I’d said rather than me, a decision which I am in no way bitter about. Honestly. But I did end up doing four interviews:
- The Peter Levy Show on BBC Radio Humberside.
- iTalk FM (an English-language station broadcasting in Spain to the expat community).
- Call Kaye (with Kirsty Wark standing in) on BBC Radio Scotland.
- The breakfast show of Phantom 105.2 in Dublin (this is a pre-record that will go out some time this week).
Monopoly is more than eighty years old. In that time, great advances have been made in game design and better games have been created. Two that I would recommend, for both adults and children, are Mississippi Queen and Trans America.
In each one, I ended up making the same points. I wasn’t running a campaign, but if I had been, it would have been for people to see board games as a reasonable leisure pastime for adults.
That in the English-speaking world we have a weird attitude to board games. Unless it’s Chess, Scrabble or something that uses playing cards, we think it has to be targeted at children. As a result, we dumb down and sanitise games in order to render them child-friendly – making them, as a result, boring for adults – only to then make the circular argument that board games are only for children because adults find them boring.
And finally, that the way we consider Monopoly to be the archetypical board game which defines what a board game is and who it should be enjoyed by is a stupid as it would be were we to use the Wizard of Oz to define what a feature film is and who it should be enjoyed by. Children can be entertained by a cardboard box; do we really want to restrict and retard an entire category of leisure pursuits to fit in with their tastes?
It wasn’t all plain sailing. It turned out that the direct line into my hotel apartment didn’t work, so I did the first interview standing up at the reception desk after sprinting across the complex, using the reception desk’s phone, and hoping to God that no-one tried to check in or complain about their toilet not working or ask when their bus to the airport was arriving (because they’d have been standing right next to me). For the other three interviews, the hotel was kind enough to let me use their admin office, although this might just have given me more time and space in which to worry.
Since getting home, I’ve listened to two of the interviews via the wonderous tool that is the BBC’s iPlayer. I think that narcissists aside, listening to yourself being interviewed on the radio is always going to be a cringe-worthy experience. It’s bad enough hearing your voice as others hear it, rather than as it sounds after vibrating up through your skull; but to know that tens of thousands of people were listening to you is a truly weird thought to have. I’ve always hated the sound of my recorded voice; to me I sound a bit posh and just a tad pompous. But having listened back to two of the interviews on iPlayer, I actually think I came across okay.
Since then, I’ve been interviewed by the local Brighton Argus, and hunted down a few links, but I think that for now my little viral Monopoly adventure is over and it’s time to get back onto the novel. I’ve enjoyed it though. It’s been fun. It’s very cool to be able to put appearing on radio on my writers’ CV. And I’m walking away knowing that in one trivial, but hopefully fun way, I’ve changed the world a little bit. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that hundreds of thousands of people now know something they wouldn’t have known had I not wrote that article seven something years ago.
And you know what? That’s a pretty cool feeling.
It’s been several years now since the 020 code was introduced in London, and yet I still see people putting the code 0207 (or 0208) in their phone numbers, on signs, business cards, web pages, email sigs, and so on. So here, again, is the quick primer to the way that London’s phone numbers have evolved, and how they should be written. Let’s imagine someone back in the 1980s living in central London, with the following phone number:
01 123 1234
There are three elements to this code, reading from right to left: the number, the area code and a regional code. If you were dialling that number from anywhere inside of London you would dial:
If you were dialling from outside of London you would dial:
01 123 1234
However, by the late 1980s, after the Big-Bang fuelled explosion of activity in the City, London was running out of numbers. So it was split into two areas, one for inner London (071) and one for outer London (081). So now, if you were phoning from inner London, our number would still be:
But if you were dialling from either outer London, or from outside of London, you would dial:
071 123 1234
This new solution lasted a few years, but by the late 90s the entire country was running out of numbers. In addition, there was a desire to rationalise things such as premium rate numbers and mobile numbers. So as an initial, interim measure, all land-lines had a one added at the start of there regional code, after the zero. This meant that our number now became:
0171 123 1234
But of course, as always, if you were phoning from the house next door you would only have to dial:
That was only ever an interim solution, and of course, the intention was to use the extra numbers thus released. London needed still more numbers, so an ambitious plan was arrived at. All the London area codes would be expanded from three digits to four, but at the same time the two London regions, inner and outer, would be consolidated back into one big region, just as it had been fifteen or so years before. The effect of these two changes was to increase the numbers available by a factor of five (adding an extra digit to the area codes increased the numbers by a factor of ten, but combining two areas back into one then halved it).
The new, all London code, was 020, which meant that our number would be:
020 x123 1234
The question was: what would x be, the number that would be added to our area code? Well given that previously, both the inner London (0171) and the outer London (0181) regions would have had an 123 area code, they clearly needed to have different values of “x” to avoid them clashing. The nice, easy solution picked was to give x a value of 7 in the old inner London area, and 8 in the old outer London area. Obviously, this only applied to the old codes, with a whole load of new codes now available with initial digits of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9. So our number would now be:
020 7123 1234
But if you were calling from anywhere inside London (inner or outer) you could just call:
But what your number would never, ever, ever be, is:
0207 123 1234
That’s just wrong, and if you don’t believe me try dialling 123 1234 from inside London and listen to the automated error that you’ll get back. It’s not 0207 (or 0208), there’s no such thing as 0207, and there never was.
There’s been quite a bit of controversy about Transport for London’s New Bus For London (or as the press and public have inevitably christened it, the “BorisBus”). People say that it’s an expensive vanity project for Boris Johnson that puts nostalgia above practicality and which wastes money that could better be spent on existing off-the-shelf buses.
My own party, the Greens, have been particularly critical of it. But personally, and practicality be damned, I like the idea of designing a bus for London, and I’ve long liked the sound of this bus. And then, a little while ago in London, I finally got to see one in the wild.
It came round the corner and headed away from me. I’d just finished taking pictures when two blokes ran past me, sprinting for it. The first jumped on but then, as the second bloke neared, the bus started to pick up speed. I didn’t think he was going to make it, but he really dug in, pushed hard and then – just as it was about to really pull away from him – put in a final burst of speed and with a big leap made it on board.
It might be 2013, but there’s still something right about an open-platform bus in London.
It’s been a little while since Stone Skin Press kickstarted the New Hero, their short story anthology featuring my Pete Stone story, a fair while since the cover was revealed, and an even longer time since I revealed my part in it. Now, finally, the Kickstarter edition is out, and I’m very, very chuffed. My Kickstarter package came today (from Leisure Games) and it also included a bonus sampler of four stories plus an Aesop print.
It’s very cool to think that in a space of a few days, a couple of hundred people are going to be getting a book with my story in it. And according to its Amazon page, as from 11th April, the book will be available on general release.
It features stories by Ed Greenwood, Adam Marek, Richard Dansky, Monte Cook, Julia Bond Ellingboe, Kyla Ward, Jeff Tidball, Maurice Broaddus, Graeme Davis, Monica Valentinelli, Kenneth Hite, Chuck Wendig and Alexandra & Peter Freeman.
I can’t wait to hear what people think of the book, and my story in particular. Assuming they like it, of course!
Ocean’s Eleven directed by David Lynch. Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas by way of Dante’s Inferno. The Hangover meets The Prisoner. A new style of RPG by James Wallis, named by Robin D. Laws as ‘the godfather of indie-game design’, with art from this year’s winner of the World Fantasy Award, John Coulthart.
Long time followers of mine will know that one of my big heroes, both personally and in the fields of writing and gaming, is James Wallis. James is charming, witty and charismatic and very much the geek I metaphorically wanted to be when I grew up (metaphorically, because I was already grown up when I first met him, he’s only a few years older than me, and frankly it would have been a bit freaky for me to turn myself into some kind of stalker clone). A few years back I even (jokingly! honest!) created a fake Internet religion around him, “The First Church of James Wallis, Sanctified”.
Back in the day, James produced (writing one, publishing the others) a series of revolutionary RPGs. Between them, The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Münchhausen, Pantheon, Puppetland/Powerkill, Violence and De Profundis extended the possibilities of what it meant to be a roleplaying game, and arguably led to the development of indie, story-telling games. Now James is back (in the tabletop RPG field, in the geographical sense he’s been living in Clapham all along) with a new RPG which promises to be just as revolutionary, but more importantly, just as much fun. Perhaps it’s best if I just let him explain what it is:
James is publishing via Kickstarter, which for those who haven’t yet come across it is a crowd-funding site that allows members of the public (you, me, that bloke on our morning train we’ve spent the last five years avoiding making eye-contact with) to become patrons who fund creative works or new technological advances. This is your chance to both help Alas Vegas get out of the door as well as being among the first to get hold of it. James has already got past his initial £3000 target, which for you means two things: a) the game is going to get published; b) lots of extra goodies are being unlocked via stretch goals.
To find out more visit the Alas Vegas Kickstarter page. You can also find out more by reading the interviews James has done with OgreCave, Starburst Magazine, RPGnet and Farsight Blogger.
To the editors, journalists, proprietors and readers of the Sun and the Daily Star. She was not “The Blade Runner’s Lover”. Her name was Reeva Steenkamp. She was a law school graduate, an activist for women’s rights, a model, and an aspiring TV presenter.
Her tragic death deserved to be marked with dignity, not treated as an excuse to turn the front-page of your newspaper into little more than a wank mag for sick and perverted men.
Decent newspapers bothered to talk about her, and her life. Would it be too much to ask that you do the same?
I was just about to write that yesterday evening, I found myself at the Waterstones in Brighton to witness the launch event of Beach Hut Writers, a new Brighton based authors’ group. But I won’t, because to do so would be to use the lazy, throw-away language that – among other things – the authors giving the talk were trying to educate the audience out of.
I didn’t “find” myself there; I’d booked a ticket some weeks beforehand having found out about it via Facebook from my friend Mark Barrowcliffe (a.k.a. M.D. Lachlan, a.k.a. Mark Alder), who is one of the members, and was one of yesterday’s speakers.
So instead, I’m going to try again, with a first line that incorporates two (count them!) of the pieces of advice given out yesterday. Here goes!
* * * * *
The mood in the Waterstone’s third-floor Costa outlet was dark and ugly, and the dead Slovak lying on the floor with a wine stain on one side of his chest and a bullet hole in the other wasn’t much helping.
It is possible that I might have misunderstood what they were saying.
Hm. Let’s try again.
* * * * *
The title of the event was “The writer’s journey to publication: an evening with Brighton’s bestselling authors”. It had drawn a crowd that was both impressive and depressing: impressive in its size, given that this was a new group in a provincial town; and depressing given that it once again demonstrates just how many people are attempting to break into writing.
(As always, I’m reminded of the fact that while there are no magazines in WH Smiths covering roleplaying, there are two – Writing Magazine and Writers’ Monthly – covering the craft of writing, meaning that as hobbies go, “Wanting to be an Author” is a far more popular and mass-market pastime than “Playing Dungeons & Dragons”).
I’ve been to quite a few of these sorts of things, enough to know that in the end it mainly boils down to: “The odds on getting a book published are very, very small, so you’ll need to work very, very hard to make your book the best it can possibly be; but if you’re prepared and able to do that, you’ll find that your odds of getting published are now actually quite good.”
So there wasn’t much new in what was said for me. But what I can say is that it was probably the best such talk I’ve been to, as it managed to pack pretty much everything I’ve got from five years of such talks into one evening, starting with the classic lesson of “Show, Don’t Tell”, and going right through to handling bad reviews after you get published.
As a totally irrelevant, and frankly self-indulgent aside, when “Show, Don’t Tell” was being explained a line appeared in my brain that is either a pithy way of explaining it, or sick. I’m not sure which. It is:
Don’t tell your readers that a character is a violent misogynist; instead show them, by having him punch his wife in the face.
Probably sick. Oh well. It’s a good job I don’t do one of those blogs where aspiring, and as yet unpublished, authors try to pretend they already are authors by dispensing lots of writing advice. (That wasn’t a joke, by the way – I’m genuinely trying to not do anything like that).
Although the group boasts more than forty members, there were seven of them lined up on the table in front of us, in the manner (as they pointed out), of a police press conference about a missing child. If I was any sort of journalist I’d have thought to have taken a picture of them. But I’m not, and I didn’t. (On the plus side, I think I am a pretty good computer programmer – yeh me!)
According to the blurb I’ve just googled, the seven authors were:
Sarah Rayner, Simon Toyne, M.D. Lachlan, Julia Crouch, Kate Harrison and Emlyn Rees
The three of you who are still reading might at this point have noticed that there are only six names on this list. Well there’s not a lot I can do about it now, because I didn’t take any notes, and I can’t remember the names. Again, I really am quite a good computer programmer.
One of the four women, whose name I’m sorry to say now escapes me, chaired, and the other six panelists then gave a series of talks, each one covering one aspect of the process:
- Writing the manuscript.
- Finding an agent (Simon).
- Getting a publisher to take on the manuscript (Emlyn).
- Dealing with criticism (Mark).
It’s at this juncture that I realise with horror that I can remember which bloke did what subject, but have no idea with the women. I’d like to say that it’s because there were four women and only three men, and one of those three men was a mate of mine, but I fear the answer is more rooted in the latent, but still extreme, sexism in which we are raised and its resulting effects on our thoughts and memories. Personally, I blame society. And the fact that I didn’t take notes1.
But all the six talks were genuinely good: all informative, all entertaining. It was especially heartening to hear several of the participants describe just how much rewriting they’d to do of their novels before they were published. A hybrid composite of what several of them said might be: “I worked on it again and again until it was perfect. Then I managed to get an agent and he/she told me everything that was wrong with it. We broke it down and put it back together again and it was brilliant, much better. Then we got a publisher, and they told us everything that was still wrong with it. So we broke it down again and put it back together. And now it’s so, so much better than it was, and I’m so relieved I didn’t lose faith back then and self-publish what I now realise was a far inferior work.”
But having said that it was largely confirming advice I’ve heard at previous such events, there was one “new” thing which made me pause, think, and ultimately convince me to change tack in one critical area. Several of the participants made mention of “100,000 words”. Now they weren’t stating that as a minimum length of a novel. Instead, they were using it more as a shorthand, as in, “Okay so you’ve bashed out 100,000 words and you think that’s your novel finished, but in fact, you’ve only just started.”
But it got me thinking, because I’m just coming to the end of a reasonably stiff pruning draft of my current work in progress (5th draft, for anyone who’s counting), at the end of which it will have shrunk to around 80,000 words. I collared Mark at the end, and asked him what he thought the minimum length of a piece of general fiction was. His answer was, “80,000 words, but if you’ve got 90, that’s a novel”.
Thing is, when I start submitting again to agents, I want my novel to be the best I can make it. (Although I say that knowing that they’ll help me take it apart and make it even better). I don’t want to go in with a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that it’s a bit lacking in length. I certainly don’t want to put a figure of 80,000 words on my covering letter if that’s a figure that might give them negative thoughts before they’ve even read my first line.
Luckily, I think there’s a natural point in my plot – where obscure Clue A leads them to Man B – where I can seamlessly insert more storyline in. So like the makers of the R101, I’m going to cut it in half and stuff an extra gasbag in.
Here’s hoping that’s not an omen.
1I know that 15 minutes on Google would probably enable me to track everyone down and probably work out who did which bit, but I: a) wrote this on train coming in to work; and am b) posting it in something of a hurry during my lunch break. And I figure it’s probably funnier and more honest to leave it as I wrote it. But I would like to stress that absolutely no offense is intended, and I’m sincerely hoping that none will be caused.