A Tale of Three Manuscripts….

Hope all is well in your world. It’s been a while, so this newsletter is a longish one, but hopefully, it will feel short. It’s the tale of three manuscripts, so if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll begin.


Last month, I went to Copenhagen for three days with my collaborator/partner-in-crime/enabler, Nainesh. The idea was to finish off our soon-to-be-hit indie-rock, tragi-comedy, meta-musical wot we’ve been working on for the last year.

On telling chums I was off to Copenhagen to ‘work on a musical,’ I could see cynicism in their eyes and amusement on their lips. There were also looks of concern from my nearest and dearest as if my delusion was getting worse.

“You’re not seriously going to Copenhagen to write a musical!? That’s never going to happen.”

And as Morrissey once sang, they were half right.

On arrival in the Danish capital, Nainesh and I found ourselves very thirsty and could hear the siren call of numerous bars and microbreweries. It being a Saturday evening, we decided to sample a few local ales with a view to working on the script early the next day. But alas, the following morning, we had both unexpectedly come down with something. Nainesh blamed the black liquor the Swedish barman had given us ‘on the house’ at 2 am, but I think it was something we ate. So we put off work until the third and final day, which annoyingly was really sunny, so we hired bikes instead.

At one point, we found ourselves in Carlsberg and had a Carlsberg. It was so nice drinking from the source that we decided to have another. Here we are…


On returning to Copenhagen airport to get the flight home, I felt guilty about the lack of a finished manuscript in hand. The doubters were right. Maybe the real musical was about two guys going to Copenhagen to write a musical and not writing a musical. It wrote itself. But I consoled myself that we had at least spent 72 hours talking about our musical, riffing ideas immersed in our make-believe world. If anything, we had too many ideas; there was too much riffing – decisions needed to be made.

But then, as the plane took off, something magical happened. The musical began to take shape, like a jigsaw of a beautiful garden. I realised where each piece went—that piece went there, and that piece went there. Decisions were being made. Ideas were discarded. Things were culled. Wheat was separated from chaff. Up in the clouds, I had total clarity.

I realised that over the last three days, we had been turning over the soil so things could flower, and now I could see the garden in all its glory. Themes began to emerge, like the discovery of a passion flower previously hidden behind weeds and ivy. By the time we landed at Stanstead, I had a completed outline and could see the potential of it all and, more importantly, the point of it.

So, in that respect, Copenhagen was a success. There is no final script yet, but there is enthusiasm to keep going and excitement to bring it to you. And there are songs, seven of them, which form part of the narrative, the moment the character has to break into song. They have titles like ‘Breakfast Meeting’, ‘Sell Your Nan’, and ‘Ugly Modern Age’. One of them is called ‘Falling Apart at The Seams’.

It might be a hit.

You can watch a playback of the track at the end of this email if you so desire.

If all goes well, preview shows will start in the autumn as a monthly work-in-progress residency at the fab new venue All is Joy in the heart of Soho, run by my old school chum Phil Tidy (also of Mr Men fame), with a view to Edinburgh Fringe 25 next year.

That’s the glorious plan anyway.

So, while that script is percolating, I bring you news of another script that has recently percolated!



I can’t say too much about this other than a very nice music industry exec turned screenwriter called David Laurie cooked me a very delicious lasagne for lunch. He then interviewed me for several hours about the story of the Pointy Birds while taking notes and has now written a very funny pilot episode for a potential TV show based on my book Anoint My Head—How I Failed to Make it as a Britpop Indie Rockstar.

The truth has been stretched in places and abandoned in others, but only for dramatic purposes to serve the story or to follow the funny. And it is very funny. This pilot forms part of the pitch for a six-part half-hour comedy series that will immerse the viewer in early nineties Camden just before the explosion of Britpop.

It is spooky how well he has captured the time and place and me. It’s almost as if I was there, which I was. And it’s almost as if David was there too, which he was because another spooky irony is that he worked for Nude Records, the very label we were trying to get signed to. He was also A&R for Suede, the band we struggled to keep up with. We even had their ex-manager, managing us until we fired the loser.

So, this TV show is informed by both sides of the musical fence. And if we can convince Suede to appear as a cameo (or our ex-manager), the meta circle will be complete. There is still a long way to go for this to become a reality, but after the success of One Day on Netflix, there seems to be a market for nineties nostalgia with an indie soundtrack. And I want to find out what I did in episode 2.



The third and final manuscript to tell you about is nearly but not quite percolated. It’s the sequel book to Anoint My Head and I have been in an endless battle over what I think the book should be and what the book actually is. Just when I think I’ve got it dressed, it starts running about naked, sticking its tongue out at me. I don’t know who is in charge, the book or me. But I’ve recently realised it’s the book, and it’s now showing me the way. This manuscript is off to my editor next month, and I am hopeful it will see the light of day towards the end of this year.

The main narrative follows wannabe indie rockstar Horace, ditching his dreams of stardom to become a band manager instead and live the dream vicariously through more talented others. It’s not a million miles from the first book with certain things standing in Horace’s way, like a complete lack of knowledge of how things work, his day job (this time as an admin assistant in a Soho publisher), plus various line managers breathing down his neck.

Also, like Anoint My Head, it takes place in Camden/Soho during the 1990s. I had just moved into a flat on Delancey Street in the heart of Camden, and a few months later, Kurt Cobain died. By coincidence, as I type, it’s exactly 30 years since that very day, April 5th, 1994. So, as a tribute to Kurt Donald Cobain, I am sharing a wee snippet from the book that recreates this moment. I hope you enjoy it.

I had been making a cup of tea when Jeff, the chef, appeared in the kitchen with a strange look on his face.

“Finbar, have you heard the news?”

“What news?”

“That bloke from that band you like is dead.”

“What bloke? What band?”

My mind raced.

“Not Lenny Kravitz!?”

“No!” said Jeff. “Heaven forbid.”

We both crossed ourselves.

“Well then, who?”

“You know the guy who sang that song.”

“Which song?”

Jeff began singing it.

“‘I’m the worst at what I do best….'”

“‘Smells Like Teen Spirit?'”




“Kurt Cobain?”


“Kurt Cobain is dead?”

“He is Finbar.”

“Oh my God.”

“Blew his brains out.”

“Are you joking?”

“I just heard it on the radio.”

“Fuck. No way. Bloody hell.”

An icy hand clutched my heart.

“Only 27, Finbar.”

Christ. Another one joins the club, I thought.

I sipped my tea and stared blankly out the kitchen window, feeling numb. Some pigeons had congregated on the pavement outside Edinburgh Castle. A car trundled past, and they exploded into the sky, unsettled by the crunch of tyres on the cobbles beneath. I’d experienced the same cold, clammy feeling on hearing the news of River Phoenix’s death only a few months ago. Both were too young.

“Anyway, Finbar, I’m off to work. I told you this rock’ n’roll life leads to no good. Remember, heaven is now!”

“Certainly is for Kurt.”

Jeff-the-chef picked up his bag containing his kitchen knives and a hidden copy of the yellow pages muttering how heavy the fucker was, and disappeared.

With Kurt Cobain’s death, the dominance of the alternative rock movement known as Grunge was over as the centre of music gravity was about to shift from the US to the UK, or more pertinently for me, from Seattle to Camden Town. In the same month, Creation Records, based down the road in Primrose Hill and home to bands like Ride, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine, released the debut single ‘Supersonic’ from their new signings Oasis, a Manchester five-piece led by two gobby brothers. Meanwhile, just a mile away on Arlington Road in the centre of Camden, Food Records were gearing up to follow the success of Blur’s top 5 single ‘Girls & Boys’, a cheeky slice of indie disco that I wish I had written, with their new album Parklife.

A new indie guitar scene was about to explode right on my doorstep…

Ok, that’s enough shameless self-promotion for one newsletter. Thanks for reading about my creative follies; hopefully, some or all of them will see the light of day soon. In the meantime, here are some things I’ve enjoyed of late in no particular order:

  • Ed Harcourt’s new album El Magnifico is Magnifico.
  • Marks & Sparks Full-Fat Greek Yogurt with Vanilla. If you have not tried this, you have not lived.
  • Rye bread open sandwich with herring (or salmon), onions, capers, potato, mayonnaise, and fresh parsley (or dill) washed down with a glass of Aalborg, AKA Schnapps! It’s crazy good. Popular with the folk of Copenhagen.
  • Beef on Netflix – Road rage thriller that just got better and better, and that final episode—wow. The solid emptiness…
  • One Day on Netflix. I resisted. I had not read the book or seen the film, but I loved this 14-part series. For the soundtrack alone featuring House of Love, Cocteau Twins, The Fall, and S Express…

And something I’m not enjoying….

  • Arsenal. They keep winning, and I shall have to leave the country if the unthinkable happens. It may have to come down to the mighty Tottenham to stop them, COYS!

But enough of my yakkin’

Until next time



And for those still reading, I give you a future number one: ‘Falling Apart at the Seams’ from our soon-to-be smash hit musical. The track is unmixed and filmed on a mobile at Snorkel Studios, but you’ll get the idea. We channelled our inner Human League (Dare era) with eighties synths and listen out for the Deelite rip-off.

Can’t explain the dog barks, though…



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