I don't just write tweets though: this New Statesman profile of Rebekah Brooks is an example of my longer form journalism...
An excerpt from my interview with writer and Novelist Philip Pullman: you can read the whole thing on Aeon Magazine
In a rare interview, Philip Pullman tells us his own origin story, and why the great questions are still religious ones
This battle between authority and self-authorship is a major tenet of Pullman’s narratives. For example, the young heroes of His Dark Materials, Will and Lyra, are ordinary people trying to reclaim an imaginative world that’s been monopolised by the gnostic Magisterium. Pullman readily concedes: ‘This is a perpetual obsession of mine.’ But when I ask if he really is in control of his fictional worlds, or whether, surely, his characters take over sometimes, he confesses: ‘I’m a very imperfect tyrant, because occasionally they do that. You can’t really make them do what they don’t what to do. It’s a complicated, confused business.’ So much for the absolutism, or absolute anti-absolutism.
Romeo Trap is perhaps my favourite episode of the BBC1 undercover drama series, In Deep, which I devised and was broadcast for three seasons a decade ago. It recently has had a resurgence of interest, after the DVDs were released three years ago.
Romeo Trap was one of the first dramas (as far as I can recall!) which dealt with online paedophile groups, and the dissemination of child abuse images on the internet. I hope it still has some relevance today, especially as I was a pains not the exploit the issue (and luridly show children at risk to create drama) but dealt with the long term effects on abuse on victims in later life. The drama also shows the psychotherapeutic attempts to deal with sex offenders
The title refers to the male equivalent of a honey trap (famously even more effective according to Stasi files) and the B-story shows a seduction of a woman by Liam Ketman, one of the undercover officers, in pursuit of information on their targets.
In light of the revelations by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis of undercover officers using sex and romantic relationships as part of their infiltration, the story might have even more contemporary echoes.
Meanwhile, please support my new novel, Sleeping Demons at Unbound. The Concept is currently being developed into a TV series by Runaway Fridge Productions, with the support of the Wellcome Foundation.
For most last year I was locked away at Old Bailey covering the Phone Hacking trial: for more information on my live-tweeting of that and the database assembled go to my dedicated blog at www.fothom.wordpress.com
I’m out of luck again
And out of inspiration,
And Lenin is on his train
To the Finland station.
He knows what he’s doing
He knows what’s to be done,
And here I am still
Standing on the platform.
I feel the lure
Of the suburbs calling,
To be simple to be wise
A bartender - pretender
Living out his life
Without a hope or a prayer,
Season by season,
Here now invincibly
Without rhyme or reason.
But the rhyme and reason
Keep the locomotives coming.
And the need to arrive somewhere
Goes ahead of everything
The young poet
Into the Finnish lake,
Another in the mental asylum
Too early far too late,
One I admired counting out
His final days in cigarettes.
And my mentor buried alive each night
Recalling it all in the morning…
And then it hits me like a train:
If everyone heads nowhere
Why am I so jealous?
What is the hurry to win?
Life is not a race across a field
Or a script being written by God,
There is no rhyme or reason
But the luggage you bring
When the train has already
Pulled out of the station.
It doesn’t end;
The light-bulbs to be changed. Bed mites
In my pillow. Tides milling the shore.
They never end.
Car hire lease payments.
The fatuousness of fame. Replication of
Cancer cells. The best dying young:
The worst getting their own
Newspaper columns. Summer nights heavy
With the smell of bad barbecues:
Autumn with diesel, spring with cocaine.
It never ends. Idiots in the chancellery. Control freaks
In their driving seats. The plunder of the forests.
The selfishness of plankton. Suspicious border guards.
The questions and evasions.
Insects thriving. Continents colliding.
Mothers screaming at their kids.
Lovers arguing in the streets….
They will never end.
In Memoriam Tony Judt 2009
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