(December 1 – 7)

The Christmas horror story continues (the actual story I’m writing; not a reference to my christmas plunging into despair and chaos). As mentioned last week, I’m taking a first-draft story from last year (which, much to my surprise, turned out to be complete) and working it into something new. That first draft never felt quite right. So, for this ‘refreshed’ version I’ve kept the bones, but twisted a few bits into new shapes, added a few new scenes here and there, and tried to generally improve the language. I like where it’s heading so far.


After spending several years waiting for the BBC’s new adaptation of War Of The Worlds to land, it was something of an anticlimax when it suddenly arrived with minimal fanfare—especially as I was expecting it to be more of a Christmas schedule ‘event’. Unfortunately, I found the adaptation itself to be a bit anticlimactic as well.

It was one of those curious affairs (a little like the last season of Doctor Who) where I liked almost everything about the show–every choice made, all the visuals, etc, etc–but found something lacking. In this instance I think the writer forgot that he was meant to be doing a War of The Worlds adaptation and opted instead to tell a story that happened to be set against the backdrop of the classic H.G.Wells narrative. 

I’m generally in favour of disrupting traditional storytelling, especially when there’s a good analogy to be struck, or outdated conservative mores to be played against, but it’s important to tell a compelling story first and foremost. If you don’t do that then everything else you’re trying to do with your narrative comes to nothing. In the case of War Of The Worlds, you also run the risk of commentators deciding that ‘woke’ narratives just don’t work and I worry that we’ll end up sliding back to standard white male heroes, and traditional ‘safe’ stories.


My exciting new listening experience this week is the Radio Gaga podcast (and I can’t remember who told me about it, but they would be receiving my profuse thanks right now if I could). Simply put, Radio Gaga tells the stories behind famous albums (and, occasionally, famous songs). I love getting the behind the scenes scoop on films, books, music, anything, so this is right up my street.

The first episode I chose to listen to focused solely on Elton John’s song, Tiny Dancer. After listening to this, I genuinely have a new appreciation for the song. I then listened to the episode on Bohemian Rhapsody (also excellent), before checking out my first album-focused episode covering Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill.

With every episode I’ve learned things I had no idea about, and have come away wanting to re-explore the music—to the extent where I’ll likely be checking out episodes about albums I don’t know just so I can be led into some new music.

The host, Justine Piehowski, has a huge passion for music which comes across abundantly in her narration (and she has a voice I am more than happy to listen to, which isn’t always the case with podcasts). The production and sound quality is also top notch, which makes a huge difference. If you’re into music, then I’d say this is a must listen. I’ve already got another dozen or so episodes lined up in my queue.