Grim pills progress

In case anyone’s wondering, my blogging output has been low recently because I’m working on a book. It’s a commission, there’s a concept (not mine, the publisher’s), a target word count (30,000) and a deadline (March 31st). I’ve had to get cracking, put other writing on hold and keep the blog merely ticking over. Normally I don’t like a deadline, it goes against the grain of my natural laziness and indiscipline, but at least a definite end in sight means this daily drudgery won’t last forever. The manuscript is now ¾ completed and a distant finishing line is beginning to hove into view.

What’s the book about? Cardiff, of course. I don’t want to give much away about the content at this juncture – mainly because I’m reluctant to tempt fate. After all, I could get run over by a bus – presuming there were any buses on the roads to be run over by – or have a terrible domestic accident involving a hot bath, a pair of tweezers and a phone charger, or throw in the towel and settle for the quiet life creating peculiarly apt bespoke anagrams for The Great and The Good (£20 per anagram, send name to be anagrammed and brief biographical details to

You might ask what I’ve got left to write about Cardiff, having had a 200,000-word, 225-page doorstop on the subject published only a year ago. To which I would reply: I haven’t scratched the surface yet, muggins! Incidentally, when I say “you” in these blogs I of course mean “me” – call it poetic licence.

I’m aiming for the literary equivalent of a high-wire act without a safety net, a book to be held at arms length with tongs and read peeking through the fingers of the hands, each page crammed with frightening facts, unexpected shocks and scandalous revelations (memo to publisher: will that do as a blurb?). I want it to be abstract, elegiac, impressionistic, operatic and unique, a bonkers stream of consciousness containing enough highly offensive spoonerisms to provoke stampedes for mimulus flower remedy. And underpinning it all will be my chiselled-in-stone guiding principle: whatever BBC Wales and Media Wales do, do the polar opposite.

It’s essential I also make time for exercise, as I’m stuck in front of a computer all day, so I regularly take a long jog – in fact I’m off out now for a pant in the country.