South of France summer of 1982 on holiday with friend and Hackney Gazette colleague Mike Whitehill in the days when if I had any cares, I was pretty much unaware of them. I loved the 1980s. I know that they were glitzy and brash but at the age I was then it was a decade full of fun. No one had a mobile phone when this shot was taken. Only NASA had computers and they were the size of panel vans. We were blissfully unaware that Hawaiian Tropic didn’t really offer a lot in the way of sun protection. The music was fabulous – though not in France, admittedly, where French pop songs always seemed to have three or four competing tunes going on behind the vocal histrionics.
In more recent news I’m still working on Harvest of Scorn, the novel that completes my Colony trilogy. My editor thought the story would be more effective minus a couple of sub-plots and I agreed and they’ve consequently gone. She also thought there were too many characters and I’m vacillating on this. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I think, ‘Having a high character count hasn’t exactly done Game of Thrones any harm.’
In all seriousness, she does have a point. It’s a question of keeping the principal characters at the centre of events, of giving them the share of the crucial action their status in the story doesn’t just merit, but requires. Patsy Lassiter, Phil Fortescue and latterly Ruthie Gillespie are people my readers have got to know. Since this is the final chapter in this story, they each of them deserve a meaty role in a decent send off.
Not that I’d rule out writing about them again. Or at least, those that survive. Ruthie debuted in The Going and The Rise and is back in my third Jericho Society novella The Boston Artifact. Michael Aldridge from The Going also appears – though I keep them apart in the story. When I’ve finished with Harvest of Scorn (and said a final goodbye to New Hope Island), I intend to writer a stand-alone novel about Ruthie. She’s brave and independent with a stronger temperament than she thinks and that I plan to test to its absolute limit.
I’m hoping to have this redraft of Harvest of Scorn done by Wednesday evening. Long sessions at the laptop, interrupted only by sessions of stretching and swinging my old Title skipping rope over head and under feet. When this picture was taken I’d probably have thought Sciatica the name of a heavy metal band. Now, sadly, I know different.