Why I am Haunted by Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh has a new film coming out soon. It’s called ‘Seven Psychopaths’. I suspect that it is going to be really really good and that I will enjoy it very much as I generally do with his work. 

That means it will start all over again, The Haunting. It starts every time he has something new and marvellous coming out. To be honest, I think it’s started already.

You know who Martin McDonagh is, right? Of course you do. He’s the writer/director of Academy Award nominated and brilliant ‘In Bruges’ as well as the Academy Award winning short film ‘Six Shooter’. He also has a highly-impressive range of theatre plays including ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ ‘The Pillowman’ ‘The Cripple of Inismaan’… I could go on, I really could. At one time he shared a distinction with William Shakespeare as being the only playwright to simultaneously have four plays running consecutively in London’s West End. That’s who he is.

And, yes, I think I am haunted by him. 

Here’s why.

Years ago, when I lived in London I used to read radio scripts for a couple of very good radio play competitions. I had won one of them myself and then dropped a hint that I liked reviewing so I got a gig reading and reviewing scripts for short listing. I wasn’t the judge or anything important like that, I just pared the list down to the best few and they were then sent on for judging. It was sometimes fun, sometimes depressing, and always beneficial to my own writing.

I used to get a big fat package in the post and that would contain thirty-or-so radio scripts and they all would have to be read and a review written about each of them. Then I got to pick the best three and send them onward to the big boys.

In one of these big fat packages, I got two scripts by the same writer. It was some guy called Martin McDonagh. They were wonderful plays, head and shoulders above everyone else so, when I got to pick my three plays, I picked his two and sent them on. Before I sent them, I noted there was a phone number for the writer on the front of the scripts. I wrote that number down. Of all the scripts I have ever read, this was the only phone number I ever bothered to write down. I just reckoned the guy was that good.

Martin won the competition with one of his two plays. It was the one I had written most glowingly about. The other play, about which I was a bit less glowing, did not feature at all.

I met Martin at the prize giving ceremony. We script-readers didn’t usually identify ourselves to the winners but I couldn’t resist introducing myself and saying how I had read, reviewed, and admired his two plays. We had a frank discussion about the plays, which I hugely enjoyed. I felt that he tended to push his dialogue exchanges several beats too far and he confidently disagreed, asserting that he actually had it just right. I felt that the right play had won the competition and he again effortlessly disagreed. In his opinion, the other play was infinitely better.

We had a grand afternoon. We positioned ourselves in the corner, watching the room, making fun of people, bantering in that ‘I’ve raised the stakes, now it’s you turn’ way that some Irish people like to do. He was a nice guy. He was hugely confident is his own ability and in his own future success. I told him if he ever fancied doing a bit of co-writing to give me a call. He laughed politely and that was pretty much that. We never met again.

And now he haunts me. 

Shortly after our little meeting, Martin exploded onto the world of theatre. Gary Hynes of The Druid Theatre Company took on his Leenane Trilogy of plays and wowed, first Ireland, then the West End and then Broadway with the work. Meanwhile Nicolas Hytner at the National Theatre in London took on another of his plays. He appeared in all the papers and famously told Sean Connery to ‘fuck off’ at an awards ceremony. His star ascended and it hasn’t stopped ascending yet. In his newest film, which he wrote, he directs Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell and my all time hero, Tom Waits, to name but a few.

Perhaps it’s because I saw his work before anybody else did, I saw the potential in him and I was right. Perhaps that’s what haunts me.

But, no, it isn’t that. Not really. 

The truth is that his is the writing career I believed I would one day have. I have always felt that I have some talent for writing and I have studied and read and watched and generally soaked up everything I can to further my ambition. And I have written, always written. I believed that my talent would, eventually, out. But I am nearly fifty now and I am coming to face the rather interesting possibility that I am not destined to succeed. Oh, I will have things put on, here and there, and I will love and treasure those, as I always have, but the big game is perhaps not for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to keep trying until I die, it’s in my blood, I have to, but I have to start facing the facts too. I’ve never been a fool. 

The fact of the matter is that Martin McDonagh has earned and deserves everything he gets. When he had nothing but the faith in his ability that I had, he was brave and bold enough to take the plunge. He lived very poor and worked extremely hard, producing radio play after radio play, being rejected hither and yon. He didn’t give up though, he kept at it, he kept his faith in himself and ultimately he won through. I respect that enormously. I envy it but I respect it too. 

I was never brave enough to do that. There was always work that had to be done, real life responsibilities that took precedence over the writing that I burned to do. My writing was always (and still is) done late at night when all my other duties are fulfilled. When my energy is low and I am perhaps not at my best. I was never really brave enough to starve myself in the attempt to find success.

But there’s more to it than just bravery. Much more. The fact it took me longest to face is this one. Martin is just a better writer than I am. It’s hard to even write that down. There was a time when, in my head, nobody was better than me but I’m older now and wiser. There are levels of talent in all things and, in fairness, I believe I am on a level which is a bit higher than quite a lot of other writers. I belong there because I’m pretty good. But I’m not the best. For a while there, I thought I was but I’m not. 

In the early days, I thought myself rather clever to have ‘spotted’ Martin McDonagh from deep in my slush pile. “I must be pretty damn good to pick him out of the pile,” I thought. Not at all. There’s no talent in seeing pure talent, it will shine out of any heap of scripts for anyone. A fool could have found McDonagh in that pile. It’s just that I happened to be the fool who did it.

But, just because I touched greatness on its way up, that’s never any reason for me to equate myself with it, to say it should have been me. It shouldn’t have been me. For two reasons. One, that I didn’t put everything I had into it and, two, that I probably wasn’t ever quite good enough. Maybe if I’d covered 'number one’ then 'number two’ might have looked after itself.

In the meantime, as soon as I get over this little bit of wallowing that my Haunting inevitably evokes, I’ll be back on track, writing, submitting, trying my best with whatever time I am able to allow myself. 

I’m looking forward to Martin McDonagh’s new film, I think it’s going to be great.

Who knows? Maybe someday mine will be too. 

Skyfall – My Review

Skyfall opened today nationwide and I’ve just seen it. I promised myself I would write a few lines about it when I got home, before I read what anyone else thought of it. 

Because I’ll post this online I’m mindful of not spoiling the film for those many who haven’t seen it yet but who doubtless will soon. It’s not easy to be spoiler-free. Everything you learn about a film, before you see it, spoils it in some shape or form. 

Still let’s try.

Skyfall… those three dots represent me pausing and staring at the computer screen for a while… there, I did it again.

Come on, Ken, do it.

Sam Mendes has ‘delivered’ Bond. That’s the main thing to say. He’s just simply ‘delivered’. And that’s an incredibly difficult thing to do because people want different things from Bond now. It’s not enough to be a gambling philandering super-agent who saves the world, neither is it enough to be a broken reflective dinosaur of a man in a world which has largely passed him by. But these are some of the conflicting things that people want. They want the three dimensional Bond, that’s what they want.

But Bond can never be three dimensional. He is, in truth, the very epitome of two dimensional. He is totally ‘of the page’ and ‘of the screen’, a fantasy man if ever there was one. That is the magic of what Daniel Craig can do, he can be a two dimensional fantasy man but he can make him bleed believably. 

Craig is simply magic in the role. Who was the person who first looked at him and saw Bond? That person is the equivalent of the man who first decided it might be nice to eat an Oyster. I never believed in Craig until I saw him do it on screen but tonight I saw him do it again and now I believe in him even more.

Mendes gives us practically every Bond we could possibly want. He gives us blinding action moments, he allows us a title sequence that Maurice Binder would have been extremely proud of, he gives us statuesque Bond, ruthless Bond, horny Bond, broken Bond. He take us everywhere that we feel we should like to go with the James Bond film.

And that is good.

But then.

Then he takes us where we didn’t even know we wanted to go… until he takes us there and that is the best of all.

Ken. Ken. You haven’t said if you like it.

I do like it. 

I like it very much.

Not everyone in the cinema liked it though. It is a long film and it is, shall we say, ‘elegantly-paced’ at times. I think people occasionally found the gaps between action sequences a little long. I can say that I personally did not but I think my son did. He will never admit it, being a stoic little dude, but this Bond may not be a twelve year olds absolute delight. Maybe that’s no bad thing either. They have their own stuff, allow us this rather grown up fun.

I can’t tell you about the things I absolutely loved without spoiling it for you and I encourage you to see it without it being spoiled, if at all possible. There was a moment where I grunted in shocked sympathy, a moment where I laughed knowingly and another moment where I exclaimed aloud (but quietly) in sheer glee. That’s not bad, is it?

Could I pick some holes? Yes I could. I’ll pick one, just to prove it. I didn’t like the so-called Bond Girls. One seemed to be auditioning to be the next 'Doctor’s Companion' while the other seemed to me to be like a semi-drugged parody of a cartoon Femme Fatale. Except in  the shower where the water seemed to have some kind of invigorating effect on her.

The writers give us scenarios we might half-recognise from other movies then, much more brilliantly, they give us stuff we have simply never seen before. Bond meets some new challenges here, the most remarkable ones being of the most surprisingly mundane kind.

It’s filmmaking that cares and I love that. Everybody is trying really hard to make everything the best it can be and largely succeeding. Perhaps nothing can quite match the hype and the expectation of a life-long Bond fan but that hype and expectation is a least half the fun and this film delivered plenty to be satisfied with and perhaps even treasure.  

One final thought. I must stop watching trailers for upcoming films. It really does the movie-going experience no good at all. I should watch them after I’ve seen the film. That would be better. 

Why I’m Allowed to be Excited about Skyfall

This is the very best week in any James Bond year. This is the week before the new movie comes out. And I’m excited. I’m forty nine years old and I’m still excited about a new James Bond Movie. It’s silly, isn’t it? It’s childish. Of course it is.

But I have the right, you see. I have the right to be excited about ‘Skyfall’.

James Bond movies are fifty years old this year and I will be fifty years old next year. We’ve been hanging around together all of our lives, Bond and me. And I started young, very young.

I guess my parents must have liked Bond. They were moviegoers so they were probably being wowed by ‘Dr No’ and ‘From Russia with Love’ when I was just a dot and then a baby. ‘Goldfinger’, brand spanking new, must have knocked them utterly senseless while I was toddling around and ‘Thunderball’ and ‘You Only Live Twice’ must have been as eagerly anticipated by them as ‘Skyfall’ is now for me.

The first James Bond movie that I became personally conscious of was ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. That was 1969 so I was just 6 years old. I collected chewing gum cards of the movie, I remember them so well. In my memory, I was constantly arranging and rearranging them. I also had my beloved Die Cast Aston Martin DB5 with working ejector seat. I was Bond’s biggest little fan before I ever even got to see him. In fact, OHMSS was one of the last Bonds I got to see. It turned up on telly one Good Friday Night many years ago. I found it overblown and disappointing although the book remains my favourite one. 

The first new release cinema Bond that I actually got to see was ‘Diamonds are Forever’. There was an advert for milk on telly with Connery as Bond filming the ‘space walk’ scene. It built the excitement nicely. My parents went to the new movie early in the week and came home and proclaimed that I was going to love it. They particularly liked the gangster who said, “I didn’t know there was a pool down there…”. I went to the Saturday matinee with my pals. It was 1971 and I was eight years old. I loved it. Loved it. I went again the next Saturday.

My next Bond wasn’t a Bond at all. It was called ‘The Red Tent’ and it also appeared in our local cinema in 1971. Because Connery was in it, my mates were all convinced it was the new Bond but I looked up the titles of the books in the flyleaf of an old copy of ‘Thunderball’ that we had at home and there was no ‘Red Tent’ in there. So I had my doubts. Still, I went along in hope. Our disappointment was overwhelming.

Then, suddenly - Oh God, I remember it so well - Connery was gone and Roger Moore was in. I bought into the pre-release hype of ‘Live and Let Die’ in a big, big way. Moore had a diary of his on-set experiences and I bought it and soaked it up although I couldn’t for the life of me understand how he could sound so bored with so much of the filming . Also his kidney stone troubles seemed highly un-007-like. The movie was another Saturday matinee excursion. I knew from the stills that the speedboats would jump but I had no idea how much I would love them doing it. I was ten years old, remember. I actually thought that the plot concerned a bad man who wanted to release two tons of herons onto the streets of New York. I had no clue what heroin was. I also thought that James Bond's shaving can was equipped with a flame thrower to kill all snakes rather then just an inflammable product that was resourcefully lit by Bond’s cigar. Skippy Hopper put me straight on that point on the happy walk home from the cinema.

‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ is much-reviled but it still holds a warm place in my heart. In 1974, it marked the first time I was allowed to go to the cinema on my own at night. Yes, I was 11. George Henderson and I went along and I know George stops-by for a read here so hiya mate. I loved this film when it came out. I didn't really recognise it at the time but I loved the music too. Not the ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ theme song so much but rather the lush oriental strings which permeate the score. I didn’t know you could  even like movie music back then but that's what I was doing all right. I loved Britt Ekland too. My memory is that she had appeared topless on a horse in my granddad’s copy of the ‘News of the World’ the week before and that had birthed all kinds of anticipatory angst. George and me hung in at the end titles to see what the name of the next Bond movie would be. It was to be called ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ which, frankly, didn’t sound all that good to us. Less of the ‘loving’, Bond, more of the ‘action’.

As I explain elsewhere, I believe that Bond movies are at their very best when they are fresh. The Moore era looks utterly dated and stale now but, mark my words, when Shane Ruane and I went to the Gaiety to see ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ on the very first night it came out, it was absolutely stunning. Clapperboard, on the telly, had said that there was a brilliant ski stunt near the start and, when Bond did a somersault and shot a few baddies, all on skis, I thought that was it. Then… then… well, you all know what happened then. It was utterly eye-popping and unmistakably real. A truly great movie moment… at that time.

‘Moonraker’ came out in the same week as Superman. ‘Moonraker’ was the first Bond that I thought was just crap. I couldn’t believe it.  ‘For Your Eyes Only’ recaptured a little of the joy but I was seventeen by then and my tastes were rapidly changing. ‘Octopussy’ , I actually quite liked although I can hardly watch it now, so rife it is with silly in-jokes.

I was in London by the time ‘View To a Kill’ came out and I didn’t care much about it at all. Bond was over-and done for me by then. I went to see it weeks after it came out and hated it with a vengeance.

All this time I was catching up on the old Connery Bonds on the telly. I grew to love them. My absolute favourite remains ‘From Russia With Love’. I think it is timeless, cruel and tough. It will never grow old for me.

Then, finally, Moore stepped down and the word was that Brosnan was a sure thing to take over. But no, it was someone called Dalton and, out of the blue, I was all-excited again. A new Bond was promised, harder, more Fleming-like, more romantic, even. I again bought into the hype of ‘The Living Daylights’ in a way that I hadn’t for years. I went to Leicester Square to see the coming and goings at the premiere and I saw the film myself the night after in the same cinema with a herd of friends who I had bought tickets for. I really, really liked it. I thought Dalton did a great job and I looked forward to more.

‘Licence to Kill’ was dreadful. Dread Full. It was all-over again.

I knew Brosnan very well. His TV Show – Remington Steele – was very popular in Ireland and his slightly camp playing did nothing to convince me that he could carry the role. But then he appeared in ‘The Fourth Protocol’ as the bad guy and, man, he was ‘hard’. Maybe he could carry it off after all…

So I wanted to like Goldeneye, I really did. I expected to like it. I built myself up to like it… and I just couldn’t. Brosnan seemed to have a stone mask duct taped to his face throughout. He just didn’t do it for me.

I thought he grew into the role, in fairness, but I just don’t think he ever got the script he deserved. There’s a wonderful moment in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ where he shows delight in what he is doing (driving a remote controlled BMW) and I thought that was pure magic. Controversially, I also thought that the first half of his last outing ‘Die Another day’ was pretty good but the second half was dire. Brosnan looked great and played it great but the movies weren’t as good as he was, that was it. When he was out, I was actually wishing he could have one more go. There was talk of a Tarantino reboot. That sounded good to me.

But, basically, I was in ‘meh’ mode again and not likely ever to get back out of it. I still loved the old Bonds on the telly and I still liked revisiting the books too but there wasn’t likely to be anything cinematic to ever grab me again. 

And then along came Daniel Craig. They brought him up the Thames in a speedboat to introduce him to the world as Bond and he had to wear a life jacket. It was bloody awful. Who was this guy? He was blonde and hard-looking? Not Bond-Like at all. What the hell could he do?

What Craig could do, pure and simple, was be the best Bond ever - bar-none.  Casino Royale is something that other Bond movies (with the possible exception of ‘From Russia with Love’) could not be, it is a fine movie in its own right. You don’t have to like James Bond to like it. It’s an amazing film in almost every respect and I have a funny feeling it will not ever date badly. It certainly hasn’t so far.

‘Quantum of Solace’ was a disappointment by comparison.  I now think that the final half hour is very good but the rest of it seems joyless and detached and the action scenes a la ‘Bourne' remain incomprehensible to me. 

So, yes, I am allowed to be excited about Skyfall and I am. Sam Mendes is a great director and I look forward to seeing what edge he can bring. Purvis and Wade have proved that they can write these things and Thomas Newman can certainly write a score.

I will see it this week and then report back here.

Wish me luck. I deserve it.

The Value of Pointless Memories

I was driving back from a thing last Monday evening and Paul Auster was on the radio being interviewed. His interview got me thinking, mostly about memories and how I deal with the act of recounting them. 

I really like Paul Auster.  I can’t pretend to have read a huge amount of his work but I loved his ‘New York Trilogy’. Its studied oddity has stayed with me in a much stronger way than many other books. I intend to read more soon. 

In interview, he was much less obtuse than I feared he might be. As with many great writers, his ‘real voice’ is not his ‘writer’s voice’. 

(I think I’m the opposite, this is pretty much my real voice so, you know... deal with it). 

Paul was discussing his newest book which is called ‘Winter Journal’. It is apparently a memoir which is more a history of the writer’s body rather than of his mind. That sounds very interesting and it is the aspect of the book that most reviewers seem to have latched onto. I was more interested in an entirely different aspect though and the discussion which I heard about it.


As Auster recounts his memories, he says he feels a desire or even an obligation to tell them as honestly as he can. He strives to ‘tell it as it was’ almost regardless of how this is received by the reader. I thought this was a very interesting idea. Mostly because it is something I have never-ever done. 

I am a storyteller by nature, really, and not too bad of a one either. I can take a series of elements and relate them in a way which is presentable and mildly diverting, perhaps even funny sometimes. I like doing it and people seem to like it when I do it. So all is well.

But what does this do to my memories, this narrative-driven reworking of my life? I was driving along, as I said, and Auster was finished being interviewed so I had some time to think about this. I came up with two ways in which my instinct to tell engaging stories impacts on my actual memories.

Firstly, to evoke Larkin a little , it fucks them up. Well, it has to, doesn’t it? My memories don’t come neatly packaged in anecdote-sized chunks. In order to tell them in an entertaining way, they have to be altered. They get diluted, cut, enlarged, saddened-down, happied-up… they get made bite-sized and palatable. The more I tell the reworked tale, the more it becomes the truth of the matter. Story wins and Memory loses.

Secondly, and perhaps more interestingly, many memories tend to get lost altogether. It transpires that the only memories I consciously cling-to are the ones that I can write or tell engagingly. These memories get mulled-over and revisited in the guise of story-perfecting and, perhaps inevitably, they come to define me to the people I tell them to. Those other memories, the scraps and interludes than cannot be entertainingly told, well they remain unaltered and true until they rust and wither in those unvisited attic sections of my mind. 

Thank heavens, then, for the subconscious. Things can hide in there, untouched, until you go looking for them.

Paul Auster’s interview got me actively thinking about the memories I keep which are too uninteresting to tell to anyone else but which may be potential gold dust to me alone. He gave me a little key and, as I drove along, I used it. As I suspected, there’s lots of stuff in there that I wouldn’t ever be telling you (or myself) because there’s no actual point to any of it.

Or is there?

Am I wrong in thinking that a memory can only have value in the telling if it is fully complete and entertaining in itself?  I don’t know. Here’s a memory, as honest as I can tell it. Don’t read it waiting for the punchline or the twist to come along. There isn’t one. Maybe I’m starting to learn that that’s okay. 

Easter Saturday, 1980. A blindingly beautiful sunny day. My pal Sean calls round in his van and says he has to take a run to Gweedor in the neighbouring county of Donegal and did I want to come along for the ride? I did. On the way there, Sean told me that Donegal girls were special. If you passed one on the street, and looked back at her, you would most likely find that she was looking back at you too. On the way back we had the ocean down on our right hand side, the wide black tarmac road and Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins on the radio. It felt, to me, like we could be in a movie with Warren Oates. I sang along with the radio. “It’s ‘Far away in time’”, said Sean, “not ‘Fall away in time’”.  I remembered it was Easter Saturday and than I needed to get some kind of chocolate egg for Mum and Dad. There had been a nice one in the window of ‘The Smoker’s Own’ in Castle Street. I hoped it would be still there when we got back to Sligo and than I would have enough money for it…

To me, it's vivid and evocative and true. To you, it's probably nothing at all. So, if it's only of value to me  then there's no point at all in my telling it, right? Well, I'm not so sure anymore. Who knows? Who knows where a little piece of somebody's undiluted truth might come in handy for something. 

It's like putting on the indicator in your car when there's nobody else around... you don't really know there's nobody else around, you just can't see them. 

Weeping Earlobe

You went and left me high and dry
Now all that I can do is cry
Those Earrings you gave me were not real
I just don’t know how I should feel
I guess this is goodbye
Weeping Earlobe, Weeping Eye

You said we’d last until we’d die
Please can’t we have just one more try?
Your jewellery was just not the deal
My facial skin’s about to peel
I thought you were the guy
Weeping Earlobe, Weeping Eye

I thought your promises were gold
Your gifted earrings too
But now I know you were just cold
My ears provide the clue

I cannot help but ask you why
My every breath is but a sigh.
I’m crying huge and salty tears
From out my eyes and out my ears
Why did you have to lie?
Weeping Earlobe, Weeping Eye

Four Reasons Why I May Not Have Replied to You on Twitter

Sometimes I may not reply to you on Twitter. Today I wanted to give you some reasons why.

But, hang on, before all you non Twitter types go running off back to your lives and your relationships, give me a moment. The reasons bend towards my feelings about writing in general so, you know, give this a chance, maybe. 

And, yes, sometimes I don’t answer you back when you tweet me. Not terribly often, I generally like to engage and chat-very-briefly and such. Twitter works best like that, I think. Not as an elongated discussion but rather as a series of epigrams – you say something, I say something back, perhaps you say another thing, then that’s about it.  Twitter dialogues that go on and on generally make me feel self-conscious, particularly if I have to be one of the people involved. Chats like that feel like they are for somewhere else, I’m not really sure where. Maybe it’s just me but, if I see two twitterers go on-and-on at each other, I tend to wish I could switch them off for a while and leave them to it. Sometimes I even do.

But I digress.

Reason One why I may not answer you back is ‘busy-ness’.  I’m lucky, over quite a number of years, I have built up a busy little Twitter account. The people I deal with are smart interactive sorts and they often have something to say, which is genuinely great. Sometimes, though, in those rare times when I manage to tweet something that lots of people want to react to, I can get a lot of replies all at once. It’s wonderful and makes me feel interconnected and a part of something cool. It’s just hard to reply to them all, that’s all. 

Reason Two is a little difficult to admit to. Here goes. I won’t usually reply when I don’t understand what the hell it is that you just said. People sometimes reply with smart, knowing references that I simply don’t get, people sometimes refer to some other tweet that I never saw, people are sometimes drunk and talking pure shite. I don’t tend to reply to incomprehensible tweets and here’s an interesting side-point out of that reason. I don’t actually think that Twitter is a very good medium for seeking clarifications. I’ve said it somewhere before, my personal Twitter is like a river and it needs to flow along nice and steady. When someone pops up wanting a recap of what’s just been tweeted or perhaps an explanation of what a certain tweet is all-about then a sort of a log jam happens in the flow. We have to back up and explain stuff and that’s a bit jarring. That’s the reason I just won’t reply if I don’t understand what you tweeted at me. I don't want to make you explain. I just hate those little log jams. 

Reason Three is simply this. Somebody has to stop. There are a number of Twitterers who seem incapable of ending a tweet exchange. They will keep coming and coming with reply after reply (after reply) (after reply). Why they do this I’m not sure. I think it relates to reason two above, that people are looking for a chat rather than what I might call a 'little-tweet' (am I the only one who sees those as two completely different things?). It’s sweet-and-all but, hey, somebody’s got to stop this thing before we all die of old age. So I generally do it. 

Reason Four: This, I think, is the writing-related one and thank you for hanging in there for it. It’s the nicest possible reason why I won’t reply to you. Put simply it’s because, in the tweet exchange we’ve just had, we’ve actually created a rather beautiful thing together and to do any more would be to spoil it. As a person who has always loved to write dialogue, Twitter is something of a gift to me. It’s very much a medium for heightened dialogue like one might see in a Mamet play or even with a writer like Martin McDonagh. The chaff of utterances like ‘nice weather’ or ‘how are your feet today?’ are generally blown away in people’s desires to cram their point into the 140 characters. People become succinct and apt. This heightened, pressure-cooker writing environment can lead to some lovely, lovely, lovely, moments of twitter-dialogue which would not be out of place in a Woody Allen movie or a Neil Simon play. When this happens, it’s a bit like doing a fine pencil sketch, one stroke too many and the effect may be completely ruined. In these moments of fleeting beauty, it is absolutely crucial to know where to stop. So, if we’ve tweeted a couple of times and I suddenly stop, please don’t be too annoyed, if Reason Four pertains (and it might) then I’m only stopping because I feel that we have created a thing of beauty together and to do any more would be simply churlish. That’s okay, yeah?

There you are; four reasons.

Reading back, I think I’ve come out the far side of this post looking more than a little odd. That’s probably right. I’ve been on Twitter for a long time and it’s a part of my daily life which I value and respect. Perhaps it’s not too odd then that I would have my own particular preferences for how I play with it and, indeed, how I allow it to play with me. Your own Twitter will, I hope, be quite different. At the end of the day, Twitter is little more than another blank slate for us to write our own stories on.

And, as we know, there are eight million of those in the naked city.