Raw Meat .. Nicola Batty's Newsletter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Nicola's January Editorial...

So we’re leaping into 2007, brimming with optimism and energy… forgive my sarcasm but January is always such a horrible time of year. The weather is bloody awful… the winter seems to drag on and on. I’ve always hated new year; it seems so artificial, everyone has to be positive and look forward, but I’d rather not make too many plans because they never work out! For this reason I don’t think I’ve ever made a new years resolution, and I feel sure that Oscar Wilde would have agreed with me. There’s something about making a resolution which makes it equally inevitable that failure will follow… which sounds totally cynical! Anyway, who’s to say what 2007 will bring? Resolutions or no resolutions, life goes on…
Tomorrow sees the official end of the Christmas festivities, with the dismantling of the crimbo tree. As that pine tree smell is one of the best things about Christmas, we got ourselves a real tree in a big pot and Andy’s job tomorrow is to somehow plant it in the front garden and so that wonderful smell will be gone! About 25 years ago, when I was going through my religious phase I wrote a poem called The After Christmas Blues. Although I’ve never thought much of my own poetry, I can still remember several lines from this. I’ve got the after Christmas blues and I don’t know what to do, I’ve got the after Christmas blues even though I never knew the Christmas Truth. It’s really embarrassing to repeat… how can the memory of it stay with me all this time? It should have been packed up and shoved into the cupboard with all the rest of the tinsel… the question is, did I ever really believe in such “truths”?
All in all Christmas itself was a very quiet one, just me and the boys. Andy cooked the full Christmas meal, not with turkey but goose. Or at least it claimed to be goose! Andy said it was a long necked duck… but what’s the difference anyway? I wasn’t that enthusiastic about duck but the organic cranberry sauce from my Christmas hamper was yummy! Jack spent most of the day reading his Kevin Smith books which he’d just been given by us, which he loved. Kevin Smith is a cult film director who always appears in his own films as a character called Silent Bob, who only rarely speaks!
Still on the subject of Christmas geese, I went with Jessica, Jack and Jack’s friend Justyn (all these Js!) to see The Golden Goose at the Library Theatre. I found it extremely difficult to follow as I don’t know the story that well. There was only a small cast so instead of there being a long chain of people stuck to the goose, in this version there was only two. What’s so crazy about two people being stuck together anyway? Why should the serious princess laugh? I found out all this about the play afterwards, when I talked to Jessica. I find it difficult to grasp what’s happening at the theatre, particularly if the story is slightly changed in some way.
But that’s quite enough about the situation with my sight, something I’m still adjusting to. Not being able to see the Christmas tree lights is still horrible; but this year I was amazed when Jack showed me his new lava lamp and I could see the red light! I had to get several people to describe the lava lamp to me – I’ve never seen one before, which Ruth was absolutely stunned by. “But how can that be, Nic? Everybody had them in the 60s,” she asked incredulously. I merely shrugged and said, “Well… I’ve led such a sheltered life, you know”. However the lava lamp now exists for me in my imagination. It looks wonderful!!
Time to decide on a new book to begin reading now that we’ve finished My Dirty Little Book Of Stolen Time. All in all this was a crazy yarn, wonderful and far fetched in the extreme… though perhaps a little too sentimental in places for my liking. So… what next? I think it may well be The Tragedy Of A Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel which has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for six months! Although this novel has a terrible title (in my opinion), I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to a tale based on the life of Lizzie Siddal, one of my favourite Pre-Raphaelite beauties. As well as being amazing to look at, with her long red hair and soulful expression, she was also the wife of Rosetti and an artist in her own right. Several years ago I went to see an exhibition of her work in London which was quite amazing. She died young, of an opium overdose, and although her death was never officially acknowledged as suicide, it was pretty obvious that Rosetti’s affairs had been at least partly to blame. The novel should also be useful for me in that I may get some tips on life in the Victorian age or even just on basing fiction on historical fact.
To Be Suggestive will be the title of the novel I’m currently working on, so I guess I should start referring to it as such. The Space Between will be the title of the trilogy and each of the three novels will have its own individual title. Anyway, as you see in Raw Materials, it’s continuing to go fine. I’ve been thinking about Wilde’s life after his imprisonment, which was pretty brief as he died just a few years after his release! I was reading a piece about Rupert Everett getting involved in a film about this last part of Wilde’s life, although if this means he’s actually playing Wilde I don’t know.
You might be interested to hear about my meeting with Rupert Everett in the late 80s following some show… I can’t remember what it was, although he must’ve been in it! I went backstage with my friend Christine, who went upstairs to his dressing room and asked him if he’d come down and say hello, which he did! It was pretty freaky because he only had his underpants and shirt on, though he didn’t seem to mind! At that time I’d just seen the film Dance With A Stranger with Miranda Richardson and Mr Everett and I was quite obsessed with him. I had also seen him in a cult film version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story Chronicle Of A Death Foretold - which was an amazing film! I still remember much of it vividly. It was set in South America so the whole film was in Spanish, including everything said by Mr Everett which really impressed me!
To return to my own writing, as promised 50 Bites is in the process of having its cover illustrated. I actually cornered Andy the other day and asked, “Can you say with confidence that 50 Bites will be ready by February?” Eventually I got the reply that the completion date will now be 1st of April. This was said with confidence. “It’s a good date anyway,” Andy added. It’s no joke though… the book will be ready by then. So with that promise, I’ll draw to a close for this issue and see you next month!


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