Unpredictable Natures (…and United 93)

The last few days gave been a strange experience. After an intensive burst of writing, I went a bit loopy, and got some bits and bobs done on other stuff, but needed to metaphorically step outside so that I could repressurise. I’ve got the first six chapters of the book together into a vaguely readable state, and I have sent them out to some people just to get an idea of what’s working (or, more likely, what isn’t). It’s currently running at 55,000 words. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever written, and I’m nowhere near the ending yet. Tomorrow, I kick back into gear, and start full-scale rewriting and construction on chapters 7-12. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I’m taking it one step at a time, and I’m not going to stop until this thing is properly done.

Last night was the Arthur C. Clarke Awards- which was my cue to descend on the throng and drink plenty of booze. It happenned in the Apollo Cinema, just off Picadilly Circus, and while the whole thing was a bit of a crush, it was tremendous fun. I ended up having a wonderful (and not at all geeky) conversation about Doctor Who with China Mieville, author of Perdido Street Station, and I also accidentally ended up tasting one of the most ludicrously unpleasent ice creams I’ve ever sampled in my life. They were handing them out free as we entered the auditorium where the ceremony was taking place, and I was briefly cheered and happy- until I tried some. And then, I discovered that the name “Chilli Red” wasn’t some kind of metaphor, or a description of the colour. Actual, honest-to-god, chilli-flavoured ice cream. Thankfully, I survived this ordeal, and ended up going out for Pizza afterwards, and staggering back onto one of the last tubes at Midnight.

I spent most of today recovering, sorting out some paperwork stuff (particularly relating to my tax return), and this evening, I had a screening. It was UNITED 93, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been quite as shaken up by a film as that. I heard about it first via a trailer, and my first thought was, I will admit, “I”m really not sure if that should be made.” The fact that it was Paul Greengrass directing peaked my interest, but it was the kind of thing that I was both fascinated to see and slightly dreading at the same time. You can debate the “too soon” issue until you’re blue in the face, but taking it just as a film, it’s an amazing piece of work, using a documentary-style edge, constructed through improvisation so that the level of reality is nothing short of horrifying. And yet, it’s a film that needs to be seen. It doesn’t cheapen the story. It doesn’t go for the political angle. It just tries to show, as closely as possible what happenned, and what may have happenned, and it does it magnificently. Film isn’t just supposed to entertain. Sometimes, film is designed to do what UNITED 93 does. I’m not going to be in a rush to see it again, but it’s a truly magnificent piece of work.

Time to relax for a little, and then bed.

3 thoughts on “Unpredictable Natures (…and United 93)

  1. I’d eat chilli ice cream. Of course, George is currently icked out because I would also eat wasibi ice cream, given half a chance. Being off today, she missed today’s random nibbles – dried broad beans and lumps of crystallised ginger.
    I thought that phrase was “picqued my interest.” I have seen it spelt this way on teh internets, assumed THEY were wrong and I was write – *is curious*
    What’s United 93 about?


    • I’ve probably spelled it completely incorrectly- don’t go by my stream-of-consciousness method of writing. Most of the time it’s right, but sometimes it’s v., v. wrong.
      Sorry about not mentioning the subject- one of the downfalls of being a ‘film person’ is that you always assume that everybody knows what film you’re talking about. UNITED 93 is basically the first film to tackle 9-11 upfront, following the story of the one plane on September 11th where the passengers were able to find out what was happening and stormed the cockpit, causing the plane to crash with no survivors. It’s the kind of thing that could have made an incredibly embarrassing, cheesy and manipulative Hollywood ‘true life’ drama, but instead it’s an absolutely tremendous piece of work. It’s very very tough stuff, though, and definitely won’t be to everybody’s taste.


      • I heard there was a film about that plane – had the same “oo-er, this could be horrific lump cheese,” reaction. Glad they didn’t go the Hanks/Spielberg route. Especially as it’s so recent the families would be vulnerable.
        Still envying chilli ice cream. Do you know Harrods food hall takes i.c. orders for bizarro flavours out of your wildest imagination? G + I were brooding about it recently.


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