Tag Archives: iPod

1980’s Popcorn

Phil: What’s your favorite film from the 80’s?

We’re putting something together that would benefit from a few old film references so I posed this question to my Facebook friends. They came up with the following suggestions:

Beetlejuice
The Shining
Bladerunner
The Breakfast club
Flight of the Navigator
Back to the future
Brazil
ET

I think this probably says more about the sort of people who are likely to want to be my friend than anything. Where else would Brazil get two votes ? The Shining – I think I’ll have to be careful next time I meet at least one friend in the future. Bladerunner makes it in as well but presumably not the version with the unicorn voiceover at the end. Both are excellent films but pretty useless for our purposes as we want some subtle references for a story. References that ordinary people are going to get.

Anyway, what this makes me realise is that despite being a teenager in the 1980’s, I actually remember very little that is of any use. Maybe if I was looking for TV references we’d be in safer territory. I mean we have the Gold Blend Couple, Capital City, Miami Vice (the best of Jan Hammer is on my iPod), Hong Kong Phooey (Panriffic !), Knight Rider, Roobarb and Custard (I can still play the theme tune to this on a kazoo) and The Tripods, to name a few that spring to mind. I nearly said Gladiators too but according to Wikipedia that was 1992 so it goes under “TV that should have been in the 1980s”, pity, it has a great catchphrase.

Referencing films in books needs to be carried out without ramming it down the readers throat so the choice needs more care that you might think. Back to the Future ought to be good, chuck in a character called Marty, or even have the band McFly playing in the background on a radio and it works. Was there a catch phrase though ? Not that I remember. In fact the only phrases I do recall from the period are “Luke, I am your father” from The Empire Strikes Back and “Phone Home” from ET.

So, more help please dear reader. What was your favorite film released between 1980 and 1990 ? Answers in the comments please and in a few days, you’ll find out why we wanted to know. If they are good, I might even let you have my last Rolo.

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Filed under Phil, Writing

Being a product of your environment

Rocky Road CakePhil: Are we all products of our environment ?

The question occurred to me after visiting the Home of Metal exhibition in Birmingham. It’s an excellent event which tells the story of heavy metal from its earliest origins to the modern-day. For those of you reading this and not wearing tight black leather trousers while being deafened by the latest ditty from Napalm Death on the stereo, the genre was born in the heavy industry of the Black Country. The name stems from the sort of work on offer there – heavy engineering, more particularly metal bashing. The environment was run down and dark and this begat heavy and dark music.

Very few people born in Wolverhampton grew up thinking of show tunes.

Which brings me back to the book. After the exhibition we were sitting in central Brum enjoying  a ROCKy road cake (see what I did there ? ROCK – y road ! I’ve got loads like this) and pondered that the book is very much like this. It grew out of the situation we found ourselves in at the time. They say you should write about what you know and that’s kind of what we did.

But there is more. The characters are also products of their background. Kate, our protagonist, has a back story and this has led her to where we find her in the book. She doesn’t know it at the start but it also provides the basis for the dilemmas she faces during the story. So even though she is fictional, we’ve had to create a history for her – just like every author before us. In fact if you write for a soap opera you find yourself locked in a room before starting, to read the official story of each character so you don’t get it wrong – bad news for Dr Who writers as the character is several hundred years old so it must be a fat book. When we got started we wrote some short character biographies ourselves. Needless to say this is now out of date and by the time we get to book 5, keeping track of it all will be a challenge.

Mind you, we never actually sorted out Kate’s musica tastes. There is a brief mention of her iPod but that’s in the gym and surely this doesn’t count ?

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Pole dancing in the office?

Candice: Yes really, we were pole dancing in the office, it was a very progressive place, this quango.

No, seriously, back in the time line of how this little beauty of a book  came about there were some very weird situations. 

Once we got in the flow of writing, ideas came thick and fast, some of them autobiographical and some I have no idea where they came from but they just popped into my head. 

So Phil and I would be writing chapters at home and then emailing them to work for the other to critique.  Sometimes, due to the fact the company was closing down and work was getting thin on the ground, we could crack on with editing and doing some writing in the office.  Being a progressive company we were allowed to wear iPods, and once the Pod went on I’d disappear into the world of KOD never to be seen again.  In fact the number of times an email came in to do some work and I’d be like, “Hang on, I’m right in the middle of something, and now you want me to do some WORK!”

So imagine the surrealness, sat in an open plan office of about 40 people, who are in differing states of depression due to the fact they have just been given their marching orders, and you are chortling in the corner because you’ve written a cracking line or Phil’s sent a suggestion over.

The number of times I had to pretend I had something stuck in my throat, “No I’m not laughing, honest!”

So, we come to the pole dancing.  To create tension, Kate has a love interest, Dave, her old university flame; but a co-worker takes a fancy to him too.  Now imagine Tracey, we all have one in the office; office flirt, likes to wear minimal clothing what ever the weather or situation, and if you see a man you like, she wants him too!   But our Tracey has a taste for clothes from net a porter, due to her inheritance, and for tequila.  One too many and she’s pole dancing for Dave. 

So I’m busily writing this situation and around me people are making tea, discussing office politics and getting more documents printed.  Too bizarre for words!

Of course there would be cake too – as that always helped the creative processes.  Today’s representation is from yumm in Zellig at the Custard Factory – topped with a red nose to celebrate comic relief.

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Filed under Candice, fashion