Friday, April 27, 2007

Final Score

Okay, so here – finally – are my five goals. Compared to disclosing some of my dirty little secrets, this proved to be a difficult one in terms of coming up with sensible answers.

It didn’t help that the head cold that snuck on me quickly upgraded itself to creeping death. Three days virtually out for the count dealing with rusty water (if you don’t know, don’t ask), an inability to retain my balance or stare at a computer monitor for more than a couple of minutes without my aqueous humor starting to boil, and the kind of whiplash-inducing dry sneezes that, in a world of cartoon physics, would have sent me flying thirty or forty feet backwards through a wall.

At least the time spent virtually flat on my back afforded me the time to decide on my five goals in life. Although I’m still trying to decipher some of the scribbles scrawled down on the scratch pads littered around the flat. Hell, even Bletchley veterans would have trouble making sense of them.

Before I was laid low, the best I could come up with was Make it to the finish line with some semblance of dignity and go peacefully and painlessly. From somewhere in the eye of the fever, one scribble simply read: Get fit. Get focused. Get fucked. Nice and succinct, certainly, although it’s only three out of five.

For a while it seemed that being asked to declare your goals in life is more a young person’s game, especially if you want a flavour of the exotic. Then again, there’s a difference between setting out goals and blind wish-fulfilment. The years give you not just experience but different priorities. So what I have are:

Rearrange my body mass

For anyone my age with a relatively sedentary profession that’s probably first on the list, right? Having logged some of my formative years on a farm I was actually buff for a while with firm meat on the bone. The proof is readily available in a set of alternative Christmas cards a photography student shot while I was at The Esteemed School of Art.

From long hours at the House of Mouse to all the companies thereafter, usually sat at a desk, everything started to soften up and head south. On occasions I got back into the whole exercise thing when I could be bothered, but it still needs more work.

Eating less food is easy but that’s only part of the solution. Filming for the NOF a year or so back we learned that any fat on your midriff means fat around your heart. So it’s more about good health than bullshit narcissism.

Be less scattershot

This is the Get focused part. Or put another way, stop drifting and have my hand on the tiller and the wind at my back. Maybe it’s down to my folks having had a number of different businesses: a hotel, holiday flats and farms, as well as being property developers before they cashed in during their early fifties and retired abroad.

Rather than stick with one profession I’ve tended to bounce about between whatever took my fancy following a “been there, done that” approach. (A tee-shirt I picked up some years back in New Orleans stated Been There Fuck That which, in some instances, was more appropriate).

It wasn’t always a smooth ride, but the strategy meant that the goals I had twenty years back have pretty much all been achieved – which is nice. But there are a couple outstanding, still to be ticked off the list, that I need to focus my efforts on. I guess I have to decide not only which one to try and tackle first but, with my priorities gradually changing, whether they are actually worth pursuing.

Stick with sticky situations

I think it was Mark Kermode’s interview with Steven Spielberg for The Culture Show that the director referenced The Greatest Show on Earth as one of his influences. I don’t want to sound at all cynical but working in various divisions of the entertainment industry has seemed like taking part in a three-ring circus without a circus master. In fact the scene in DeMille’s film where the train carrying the performers and livestock has a head-on collision pretty much sums it up.

Having worked with, or encountered, a good number of artists, writers, screenwriters, actors, directors, producers, and other arty types, a good few of them were decent, honourable hardworking individuals. Quite a lot were horrible self-centred ass-clowns, fuckwits and self-aggrandizing scumbags who, in any other profession, would have been shot feet-first out of a cannon.

The point? Of late there have been instances of giving up on leads, deciding, “fuck it, it’s not worth the aggravation.” It would be nice to get something we’re writing up on the screen but Work Buddy and I have figured it’s not the be-all and end-all. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I guess it would be nice to get a few more credits on my IMDb page – apart from the existing ones that aren’t listed.

Only write right

There are a few times when I’ve been a complete and utter whore and did it solely for the money. But not when it comes to stringing words together. Being a hack writer is something I find completely abhorrent, which has meant there have been times I’ve spent longer than necessary searching for the perfect sentence when deadlines are looming. (Work Buddy can fill you in on a time I virtually drove him to distraction waiting for my copy to arrive).

It’s nice to be inside, writing in the warm. And it’s a whole lot better than being outside, digging ditches in the rain. But to simply do it for the money and not really give a shit about how the text turns out really isn’t the done thing. Even when I had to write over 3,000 words a day when I ghost-wrote for the Designated Author they were very long working days with every word considered.

There are things I still want to write and hopefully get some return from. I guess the thing is to do them on my terms rather than simply finger-cuff. I mean, if you don’t get it right, what’s the point? (Hopefully this doesn’t sound too completely and utterly fucking prima donnaish).

Together or alone?

Years back I worked part of one summer in a grubby little studio (long gone) in some particularly ratty building on Wardour Street. Every Monday morning the particularly useless PA would plonk herself down behind her desk and call up a succession of friends until she had made arrangements for every night of the week.

Sometimes she would get quite desperate when it looked like some evenings she would be left to her own devices. This was a woman who simply couldn’t bear being in her own company. I’m her polar opposite. Having grown up in parts of the Westcountry where it wasn’t convenient to meet up with friends after school, I indulged in books, comics, television and movies to keep myself entertained, which in turn lead to the writing.

But there are times when something’s missing. I’ve already written about past relationships. A couple of girls in particular I loved more than I realized but in the end I have a habit of pissing people off in one way or another. Obviously the older you get the more baggage you bring to a relationship, which isn’t always a good thing. I’m wondering whether to keep trying or realize I gave it my best shot.

So, there you go. Finally, my goals in life. Or, ignoring all of the above I could have simply merged them into:

Figure out what I want to do when I grow up

That one speaks volumes.

I know right about now I’m supposed to pick candidates to carry this on but this time it’s up to you. Want to take a shot at it? Be my guest and knock yourself out.


At 9:57 am, Blogger potdoll said...

are you going to scan and upload that alternate christmas card then?

At 7:41 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Honeybun, I'll not sure I'd want to damage your delicate sensibilities.

Oh, and it wasn't just the one card but a whole series.

At 9:06 pm, Blogger Lara said...

"Quite a lot were horrible self-centred ass-clowns, fuckwits and self-aggrandizing scumbags who, in any other profession, would have been shot feet-first out of a cannon."

Nah, they'd be getting ready for the elections, surely? ;)

GD, your last one is too sad. Remove it immediately and write something more postive.

At 10:04 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Lara, well yes, when it comes to politicians that's a whole different category of scumsuckers.

Had an email from a friend who read the last goal and wrote:

Don't ever give up trying. Never. Not Ever.

which was lovely of her.

It wasn't actually meant to be sad. at all. The goal is simply to decide whether to put the effort into looking out for someone or not. While I do tend to eventually annoy folk - with my winning personality, unbelievable I know - I also just as easily get bored with people.

BTW, have you got a sister? ;-)

At 12:14 am, Blogger potdoll said...


At 12:21 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Oh, don't you be starting with me you little minxy minx.

At 1:41 pm, Blogger Lara said...

Lol - no sisters here, I'm afraid.

Just read your current post "Party Favours" and I think the last para says it all - personal life strategy also!

When you least expect it, mate. Honest. ;)

At 7:10 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


I think you're right on the money there, honey.


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