SMSC MYSTERY MAP DISCOVERED

This map was recently discovered on the floor of a customs examination room at Athens airport. A dazed official stated that he believed the owner of the map was an American male from Santa Fe with one finger missing on his left hand.

THE SANTA MONICA SUICIDE CLUB

The roots of this novel are wrapped around the time when I kicked a heavy smoking habit. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Naturally it did not take place in Slough or Pinner but in the Pacific Palisades in 2000. To stay sane I wrote a short story about an English priest seconded to Santa Monica and coming up against gangsters in nearby Topanga Canyon.

I wrote two stories and along with many Trebor mint wrappers stuffed them into a drawer. Seven years later, I dug them out and put them in the blender and the S.M.S.C unfolded. Father Tony the priest is still there but has been nudged off the centre stage by a new character. M is a failed British actor turned private investigator based in Santa Monica. Hooked on Trebor mints, he drives an expensive old Swedish car and is desperate for cash, a decent case and female company. Like buses, three things come along at the same time.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO NED

Good things take time to come to fruition. This is a story about a Russian cat living in London who is the only witness to a grisly murder and kidnapping. Grandson of a genetically engineered cosmonaut cat, Ned is not an ordinary cat- which is highly convenient considering the nature of the villain he forces himself to pursue. The book is being developed as a graphic novel.

THE CHARLIE WALLER MEMORIAL TRUST

Due to co-writing ‘You don’t have to be famous to have manic depression…’ I was very fortunate to be invited to speak at a seminar on depression earlier this year. The event took place at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and was titled Depression and What You Need to Know. The other excellent speakers were Professor Roz Shafran and Doctor Brian Marien. To be among such great minds was a fascinating and humbling experience. Anyone in need of good practical help regarding depression and what to do about it, should check out www.cwmt.org. I am going to be giving more talks entitled ‘How to Stay Sane in an Insane World’ later this year.

TWO STEPS FORWARD

A play about an Englishman and American sharing a condemned cell in Afghanistan. They have been together in the cell for three years and become used to an amusing daily routine until one day they hear some bad news about their long term future. Plans are underway for a London production in 2011.

TALES OF ECCO

Jane with EccoDevastated to be bumped out of the leadership contest for the Liberal Conservative Coalition government, Ecco has enrolled in the London 2013 First Dog on Mars programme….A keen space enthusiast, Ecco has agreed to accompany Boris the Mayor of London, on a trip that will take in visits to Mars, the South of Saturn and of course, Sirius the dog star. Her training has already started…by accompanying HRH on a charity run on July 8th for Cancer Research RUN FOR LIFE… a highlight of the event was meeting the definitive Truman Capote actor, Toby Jones.

FILMS

To be recommended:
THE WHITE RIBBON
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO
I LOVED YOU SO LONG
FANTASTIC MR FOX

BOOKS

To be recommended:
HARUKI MURAKAMI –South of the Border, West of the Sun.
IAN RANKIN- Exit Music
BERYL BAINBRIDGE- The Bottle Factory
WENDY MOORE- Wedlock
RICHARD COLE- Stairway to Heaven.

HBO EUROPE HIJACKED BY MR MURDOCH

I did appeal to HBO to set up HBO Europe in my last posting here. Now it appears that Sky TV has grabbed the opportunity by backing the entire HBO back catalogue.

MOUSSAKA AND OTHER ANIMALS?

NINE MONTHS LATER…

Some people think it necessary to dump a blog onto the Internet every day. Not the author of this web site. We’ve got it down to a fine art of once every nine months.

Most extraordinary but no TV company has taken up my previous suggestion of launching a reality TV showwhere sub primal bankers, hedge fund managers, Berlusconi and Madoff & Co are given a multiple dunking in a slimy Russian lake on a pay to view broadcast basis every Sunday night after the Antiques Road Show.

THE SANTA MONICA SUICIDE CLUB is in its final few months of gestation and looking good on the ultra scan. It’s going to be a boy but one with a girl’s name. No more information until February 2010.

It’s never a good idea to read too much when writing a novel but here are three books I would recommend:

RAYMOND CHANDLER – A BIOGRAPHY by Tom Hiney.

Fascinating to read about Chandler’s early life, his subsequent battles with alcohol, and devoted obsessive love for his wife Cissy. And that his first novel, The Big Sleep was not published until he was 51. Also that he attended Dulwich College, the same school as the great PG Wodehouse

THE LADY IN THE LAKE –by Raymond Chandler.

Muscular, tough and often funny story that takes you in into the fictional world of Bay City (Santa Monica) and Gray Lake (Silverlake). The book provides a great peepshow into a 1930’s unsentimental world of a private detective, bad cops, secretaries wearing nylons, men wearing hats, uppers and downers, loneliness, violence and despair.

Did anyone find out whether Chandler and Wodehouse had the same English teacher at Dulwich College?

CHILD 44 – by Tom Rob Smith

A serious thriller set in Stalin’s Russia. Partly based on a true story this is beautifully written novel is disturbingly compulsive and something to keep you up all night. Makes one think about what Russian people have had to endure over the last eighty years.

FILMS

Three recent films I would strongly recommend are:

  • FISH TANK- directed by ANDREA ARNOLD
  • SIN NOMBRE- directed by GARY FUKUNAGA
  • MID AUGUST LUNCH- directed by GIANNI DI GREGORIO

All three films are beautifully made and are totally different from the others. One set in Essex, England, one in Mexico and one in Rome.  See them on DVD, if they are not at your local cinema but please see them. Should any one of these directors feel inclined to direct TAKING LEAVE… we of nine monthly updated web sites would be honoured and delighted.

HBO EUROPE

An appeal to the owners of Home Box Office Inc to create a European based broadcasting network.  To fund, make and broadcast film and television material in Europe.  Run the network on a subscription basis where viewers could see new movies and television drama no longer being made by British broadcasters. A channel that could show movies from all over the world, uncut versions of films such as Revolutionary Roadand US TV shows such as Weeds and John Adams.
Begin it now, please.

FRIENDS OF ECCO

Grave news (well, nearly.). Plans for the greatest state funeral since that of Queen Boadicea were nearly set in motion recently.

To summarise, having breakfasted on minced quail and Weetabix, Ecco was chauffeur driven to Cattersea Park for her morning constitutional. As per tradition, once inside, 99% of other dogs and their human owners bowed, nodded or curtseyed as she trotted past. The sun was shining, the air full of resplendent dog smells, another perfect dog day morning… until suddenly… a slobbering white Staffordshire Bull Terrier shot out from beneath a park bench, pinned Ecco to the ground and sank its teeth into her neck and wouldn’t let go. Blood, fur, yelps, and barking accompanied by Mrs Thomas’s screaming replaced the tranquillity of Cattersea Park. The owner of the Staff tried to pull his dog away from Ecco, so did a distraught Mrs Thomas, other brave souls tried, but still the bull terrier’s teeth sunk even deeper into Ecco’s neck, blood now spurting like a children’s playground fountain. A swat team in a helicopter arrived overhead, a man shouted through megaphones but the Staff remained firm in its wish to terminate Ecco. Something had to be done, before it was too late! Just then a ghostly figure of a large black cat ambled up to the psycho dog and sank both sets of front claws into the dog’s nether regions. The effect was instantaneous. The dog yelped a high pitch scream, released Ecco from its jaws and charged off at high speed after the athletic cat…

Ecco was air lifted to a private clinic in Chelsea and given emergency surgery. After nine and a half weeks of recuperation she was able to return home to celebrate her thirteenth birthday. Mrs Thomas shed a tear of relief and took herself of to Moscow to see Patrick Barlow’s ‘The 39 Steps.’ Meanwhile many other people are wondering just who that brave black cat is…

ARCHIVE: THE SECRET LIFE OF A MANIC DEPRESSIVE

EMMY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY

November 20th 2007

For something that was conceived around a farmhouse table in Castle Cary four years ago, it does seem we have come a long way.

In New York on Monday night, The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive garnered an International Emmy award for Best Documentary.

Read more here…

May 13th 2007

BE SURE TO CHEW BEFORE YOU SPEAK

STEPHEN FRY: THE SECRET LIFE OF THE MANIC DEPRESSIVE

Following its recent rebroadcast on March 9th, this documentary has been nominated for a Bafta award in the best series documentary category. The award ceremony takes place on 20th May. Congratulations and best wishes to everyone concerned.

 

9th March 2007

Plague of dentistry, angst and bank charges

It hasn’t been all bad though! Great time was had signing books down in Worthing’s Methven Books. Thanks to Jen, Andrew and Carol. Viva Worthing beach! Being married to a VIP has many advantages. One of them is to have lunch with the wonderful Mr and Mrs Searle once a year in France. They don’t make men like Ronald Searle anymore.

Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of The Manic Depressive repeated on BBC2

NEW! For all those who missed it on its first showing the BBC were being clever enough to repeat the fabulous documentary that the uniquely talented Dr. Hughes and I helped to make about Manic Depression; Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressivepresented by the inestimable Stephen Fry himself in March.

On a serious note: I’ve been touched at the response. It’s seriously heartening to have heard some of the wonderful things people have told me about what the documentary and the book have meant to them.

But I am glad that it has all struck such a chord with the Great British Public – proving that we really are growing up a bit and not actually the stiff upper lipped idiots as we are still portrayed overseas.

I salute once again all the people who let cameras and Stephen Fry into their homes and lives, and gave their time and their life stories to help others understand or begin to come to terms with being MD, or other related difficulties such as depression.

New funkier edition of You Don’t Have to Be Famous …

NEW! – There is a lovely new funkier edition of You Don’t Have To Be Famous … with easy to read new cover. Available in all quality bookstores near you from 13th March 2007. Be the first to have two copies. Or wait for the flimsy but still excellent value paperback version in October 07. Thanks going out to Katy Szita, Sarah Rollason, Kate Adams and last but by no means least Louise Moore for all their patience, hard work and chirpiness …

Allegedly, Britain is experiencing an epidemic of mental ill health at the moment, so I’m very happy if our book – written as a ‘Rough Guide’ for those with mental ill health or those who know them – has been of use. It would not have been possible to write it without both the TV documentary, or the director Ross Wilson, co-producer Lindsey Douglas, and of course the people who generously gave their stories and allowed them to be printed. It takes a lot of guts to put your story out there like that, and both Tony and I are really grateful.

A friend of mine with a nasty chronic illness told me that she found much of the advice in the book useful for her condition and that it was one of the few books out there with humorous but honest advice about living with something that will, however much you try to not let it, change your life, and how to manage to live well with it. (She forced me to put this bit in.) So once again, I’m very glad that the book has been so well received.

Manic Depression Fellowship talk on March 24th

NEW! If you’re around Yeovil, Somerset, on Saturday 24th March 10.00am you can hear me give a short(ish) talk to the South West of England meeting of The Manic Depression Fellowship.
Taking Leave is now available at Borders, Waterstones and WH Smiths

NEW! Taking Leave is now available at Borders, Waterstones, some WH Smiths, as well as all leading independent bookstores. I would like to commiserate with Gerard Noel, Taking Leave’s publisher, who whilst running to the Post Office to post some books to eager reviewers, tripped and broke his foot.

ARCHIVE: IN PROGRESS

Work in progress

PASS THE PARCEL UNTIL THE MUSIC STOPS?

December 16th 2008

THE SANTA MONICA SUICIDE CLUB

The book is in the dark and brooding comic workshop and taking good shape. Difficult to estimate when it will be finished but sooner than later is the phrase that comes to mind.

TWO STEPS FORWARD

June 2nd 2008

After much tinkering in the garage, the play was finally ready for a public reading. Top thanks are due to director Michael Eaves for his hard work in bringing the play to fruition, to producer Alison Matthews and Tania Ouzo at Sayle Screen. Most importantly, my thanks to the wonderful actors listed below, who rose so well to the occasion. Despite the sweltering heat, the fifty two members of the audience appeared to really enjoy it. Strong interest has since been shown in terms of developing the play for radio and film. Watch this space for news of first stage production in London and Athens.

It is about the last thirty six hours in the lives of two men sharing a condemned cell near to Kabul.

The play’s inherent twitchiness can possibly be explained by the fact that the first draft was written in Los Angeles during a tense period during which I gave up smoking!

 “Two Steps Forward”
A new play by Jeremy Thomas
Directed by Michael Eaves

Cast 
John Moraitis 
 Matthew Field  
Youssef Kerkour

WHO KILLED JILL DANDO?
WHY DO CATHOLICS EAT FISH ON FRIDAY?

August 3rd 2008

I think I have been busy writing a new novel, launching a stage play and enjoying the after effects of a publication party for paperback version of ‘The A-Z Guide to Good Mental Health/You Don’t Have to Be Famous’. However, when I stare bubble eyed at the web sites of Lynne Truss or Carl Hiaasen for example, I realise I am a nothing but a constipated tortoise in comparison.

TAKING LEAVE AND PATMOS MAY-JULY

July 1st 2008

THE SANTA MONICA SUICIDE CLUB

Since May I have also been writing a new novel on the island- about which I am now prepared to reveal a little. It is intended to be the first in a series of dark tales concerning a half English Santa Monica detective who suffers from anxiety and an addiction to 70’s soul and jazz funk music. He is however, an excellent lateral thinking sleuth who would be able to answer the two questions posed at the beginning of this piece. In the story he is joined by a good looking Gaelic football playing Roman Catholic priest and female Futures trader from London. Hold on to your hats.

IF ONLY YOU CAME OUT IN GREEN SPOTS

April 11th 2008

NEW WORK

Many things such as The World According to Ned, Eating, and the paperback version of Taking Leaveremain either in the repair shop or aircraft hangar.

Watch this space and listen out for live play reading in Soho, London on the 16th June of stage play: ‘Two Steps Forward’ A new novel set in Los Angeles is underway. Have faith.

OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Pleased to have forecast that Tilda Swinton would win the Oscar for best supporting actress in Michael Clayton. Also for predictions for No Country For Old Men. Shame about the cinematography but can’t be right all the time.

SIMPLE AS A PIMPLE

February 1st 2008

TAKING LEAVE, METERS, EATING, NED WORLD OF, TWO STEPS JOYOUS SUICIDE CLUB

All the above literary vehicles are currently off the road and in the workshop for repairs and surgery. More news anon.

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