Saturday, 25 May 2013

After a week of migraine...

After a week of migraine, today - feeling at least able to get up and think a little - I wondered what had happened to the paper copy of the migraine article I wrote in 2008 for The Herald.

I've spent about 2 hours going through boxes of files (You idiot! Ed.) and wasn't able to lay hands on it (though I have located more or less every other form, article, rejection letter, script idea, proposal, thank you letter, birthday card and photograph for the last 20 years).

Before doing a physical search of boxes and files, I'd spent half an hour online trying to find a cached copy of it from The Herald's archives, but it had been deleted. (Google seems to have removed their helpful <cached> facility - when did that happen?) I'd already searched this computer, but wasn't able to find any track of the original document.

Eventually - exhausted and annoyed at my own stupidity (and you're so impatient, couldn't this have waited? Must you be obsessive? I wonder if that contributes to the condition, hm? Ed.) - I wondered when had been the last time I'd 'seen' it, or read it. I thought I'd sent it to a friend quite recently. Who? When? More searching, this time archived mail.

Ah. Yes. That's where I should have thought to look first.
My muddled thinking is possibly down to the residual effects of days of pain.

If, like me, you're a sufferer, or know someone who is, or if you're just interested in what migraine is, where it comes from, why it's so hard (for some of us, anyway) to get a diagnosis or adequate treatment for the condition.. I hope this might be useful. 

It's apparently beyond me just now to get these pages to post properly or to line up neatly.  Grr.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Stories in your ears

This morning I discovered that the trilogy of stories I wrote for BBC Radio 4 in 2011 - Portrait - is now available online, on AudioGO and on iTunes.

This came as a complete surprise to me - the BBC hadn't notified me they were making my work commercially available.

At first I was indignant that they'd not asked my permission or had the courtesy to inform me of their action.

Then I was really glad that the stories were out there and could be heard (because I think they're good stories, and good readings).

Then (quite possibly because I was doing all this before breakfast) I became irritable in an all-round writery fashion... so I dug out the original contract (over which there had been a lot of tricky negotiation, in which I was very usefully advised by the Society of Authors) and inched through the complex clauses I'd forgotten about since signing it, namely the rights to commercial usage.

Ah. Yes, it was in there, but written in language that hadn't stuck in the crevices of my mind. And yes, some miniscule percentage of the original fee will trickle my way in the fullness of time. I intend to keep my eye on that.

So they are legitimately available, and I'm relieved and glad and far less irritable. I still think they could and should have alerted me!

Below is the original BBC R4 blurb about the stories themselves -  they're a sequence which builds to form a whole, much like painting a portrait in stages...

If you listen, I hope you'll enjoy them.

Download them for 99p each

PORTRAIT: A Triptych - 3 stories looking at the significance of a portrait. 
First broadcast August 9th, 10th, 11th, 2011 - produced by Sarah Langan at BBC Bristol.

1-The Painter's Story, read by Burn Gorman - Tom meets Nic at an arthouse cinema. She's out of his league, but he throws her a line about wanting to paint her, and one day she turns up at his studio and agrees to sit for him. By the time the canvas is finished, Tom realises she means more to him than just a female form he can observe.

2-The Model's Story, read by Federay Holmes - Nic wakes up in a hospital; she's battered and bruised, and as memory begins to return, her husband turns up. But is he there to console her, and will she go home with him? And what happened about the portrait of her painted by Tom?

3-The Voyeur's Story, read by Bill Paterson - screenwriter Andrew meets painter Tom on the set of a detective series, for which Tom has supplied the original artwork in a story about revenge. What's the real story behind the canvases, in particular the beautiful nude?