Ever Tried? Ever Failed? No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.

My thanks to the wise soul who sent that quote my way.

Yep, it’s time for another wee update from Scribe’s Corner. This week, I’ve been reading the truly marvellous book The Writer’s Tale by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook. Yes, it has a certain fiery ellipse on the cover, but this outstanding tome is not a book about Doctor Who. Not really. It’s about writing. In the author’s own words, it’s about how the act of writing is a “mad, sexy, sad, scary, obsessive, ruthless, joyful, and utterly, utterly personal thing.”

Not only is this book fascinating and amusing, and possessive of that strangely voyeuristic pleasure of snooping on the correspondence of interesting people (for that is what the book is chiefly composed of). It is also oddly inspiring and reassuring. Reassuring because lengthy passages of it are spent by Davies describing the frustration and exhaustion and panic of bleeding oneself into ones own writing. Simply put, he describes all the shitty feelings that anybody whose every really written will be familiar with.

The first 56 pages are available as a teaser on the official website for those who may be curious.

It’s been a helpful companion to me this week because I have indeed been writing. And creatively failing. Both of these things. And it is comforting to do so in the company of an award winning professional. Because when Russell T.Davies fears failure, it is failure that brings upon his shoulders BBC One, the entire BBC Wales production unit, legion fans, his professional reputation, the viewing millions and 45 years of TV history. I on the other hand, just had Jan Grimshaw, some gawping French schoolkids and the milling crowds of Canterbury High Street watching me.

You see, we started filming ‘Woolworths Isn’t Dead’ this week, and it hasn’t worked. I think it’s good to admit failure. To address it, to learn from it. It makes you stronger. And Bakery products should be strong.

There are numerous problems. Some of them are script based. Some of them are filming based. It was also freezing cold, which stilted my performance. And shop alarms started going off. And drunken crowds came to talk to us. As did one rotund disabled boy. Then there was a camera fault, and the fact that we only had access to microphone equipment for one day.

Suffice to say, at the end of a day’s filming I wasn’t satisfied. I’ve edited together what we got, and it works. Roughly. But there’s so much missing. Hmm. This either requires a rethink or completely scrapping. I’ll keep you updated on what becomes of this particular project. However, if the currently abandoned High Street branch of Woolworths turns into another shop soon then the chances of completion are practically nil. I hate abandonning projects, it’s something I try never to do, but sometimes the Gods place too many obstacles in your path!

Anyhow, I feel I’ve learned a lot from this filming experience. And The Bakery still has LOTS of other things currently in production which are going well. Filming has continued on Al’s forthcoming short, and will continue to do so this Thursday. And plans are underway for the next Gulbenkian Podcast, and maybe even the aforementioned film ‘The Man at Number 11’ and lots more besides.


If you fear that this latest blog post is rather too downbeat for your liking, then allow me to point you in the direction of something smile-inducing, of which I have been reminded this week, and which I have already mentioned over on the Konkerbury Blog. I was contacted by Ben, one half of musical duo Ben&Amy. They had previously supplied the specially composed musical intro for my evening-long audio extravaganza KONKERS NIGHT on Kent radio station CSR FM. Well, they also happened to sample some of my speech and mix it into a track called ‘Guildford Based’ which is available to hear on their Myspace page. Silly and wonderful and full of blippy noises. We salute you Ben&Amy.


Leave a Comment →

  1. Chef Adam

    I hope the “Woolworths Isn’t Dead” project isn’t dead. Sorry to hear things didn’t go quite as planned.

    I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the latest Gulbenkian podcast as always.

    Looking forwards to seeing what is in store for us in regards to Number 11. Its a gem of which has been hidden from me.

    I have to say I also enjoyed the Richard Dadd re-mix by Ben&Amy!

  2. Richard *

    I hope “Woolworths Isn’t Dead” isn’t dead too. I’m going to see what can be done about it, but if the abandoned Woolworths on the High Street changes into another shop soon – which it may do – then the likelihood of it being finished is very small.

  3. If any of the rest of you would like to be turned into a song, simply give us your word. And some recorded speech, obviously.

  4. NOTE – For those of you who are wondering, the film “The Man at Number 11” got quite far in the planning stages, but was cancelled as a result of numerous obstacles. Chief among these was the fact that we were forced from our home (number 11) by a combination of its inhospitable temperature, and its unreasonable landlord. The film was rather dependent on the setting, and we have been robbed of the setting.

    As for “Wooloworths Isn’t Dead” – I liked it, but it wasn’t quite right. Bits of it will be recycled into other writings, but I have no plan to remount the production. There are far too many other more exciting things to be baked at present.

    Sadly, it seems these 2 films are fated to be lost curiosities of The Bakery. Stale scones fallen down the back of the aga.

Leave a Reply