Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn

Professor Higgins opens the My Fair Lady Song, “I’ve Thrown A Custard in her Face” with a long string of Damns, which I am in a mood to repeat. I have a ten-ton deadline hanging over me suspended by a single human hair. If I don’t stay and stare at my screen all day every day until I have bled out a screenplay I will have my nipples torn from me like medals from the tunic of a disgraced officer and Shame will know me for her own.

Douglas Adams liked deadlines: “I love the loud whooshing noise they make as they go past,” he said. My deadline has whooshed past four times and this is now IT. I deliver or ELSE.

I remember putting the final full stop to the last essay of my final exam at university and thinking to myself, “There! That’s that. I shall never have that awful exam feeling ever again.”


How was I to know that not only would I have it always but that it would seem to get progressively worse? I’m not complaining, I just … oh wait, it seems I am complaining. Well, I don’t mean to. I mean merely to observe. Most of us in the world of work have these horrors looming over us. Reports to be written. Shelves to be stacked. Orders to be completed. Calls to be made. Duties to be done. Many of us wake in the mornings with a deep terrible feeling of foreboding inside us: hot lead seems to leak into our stomachs as we contemplate the day. When I’m in acting or presenter or comic prancer mode it isn’t so bad – but writing. Writing is bloody.

So you must expect a few days of radio silence from me on Twitter and here on my site as I descend into my particular hell.

See you the other side. I hope. Enjoy your bank holiday weekends and try not to think about work if you can help it.

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

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113 comments on “Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn”

  1. AJAX4444 says:

    The title of this article reminds me of a question on a South African Radio show in the 1970’s called “The Three Wise Men”. Listeners were invited to submit question to 3 professors, who would give some token award if they could not answer it.

    One question remained unanswered after two weeks, and was something along these lines: “Make up an English sentence using the word “AND” five times in a row, ie consecutively”. This appears impossible, but is not a trick question, and can be done. Possibly a poser for QI ?

  2. mary egan dufault says:

    Just miss your tweets -

  3. ginganinja says:

    Oh I really really feel your pain. I am in the final stages of my writing up period for my thesis on mirrors in Renaissance literature/art and my god….this thing will be the death of me! The deadline for submission of this beast is pressing down on me, squeezing the life from every part of my body! I shall be a withered husk of a human being by the time it’s done! Good luck to you, sir. And if you’ve any thoughts on mirrors in the early modern period, do let me know! :)

  4. Quietcontrary says:

    That “final exam” feeling reminded me of myself in my own younger days. Just after I graduated from university, I remember deciding to hang on to an ATM slip because it showed a bank balance of 50p. Hah, I thought, I’m a graduate now: I’ll never be poor again, but this tiny piece of paper will remind me what it was like to be a penniless student. Fourteen years on, as the owner of a rapidly depreciating one-bedroom apartment, I long for the days when I had 50p to my name and wasn’t in hock to the bank…

  5. CrypticSam says:

    I do like that you have time to rant about being pushed for time.

  6. AJAX4444 says:

    Using the word “and” consecutively 5 times in a sentence:

    A signwriter was designing the new signboard outside a pub called “THE COCK AND BULL”, and was having some difficulty getting he letter-spacing correct between each of the words. He settled for a three inch gap between “COCK” and “AND” and “AND” and “BULL” ! The word “and” appears 5 times in a row !

  7. Barry Freund says:

    Hurrah for procrastinative blogging!

  8. markwhiteman says:

    What happened to the adaptation of Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces?

  9. christy says:

    *******Hi Stephen*******
    Poor you!
    I wrote a full length feature film screenplay about 10 years ago, which I sent you, and you were ‘most interested’ in it, but fairly soon afterwards you were immersed in ‘Bright Young Things’ and as a result you returned it but never ‘got back to me’.
    If you are at all interested please do not hesitate to contact me.
    I will happily post it to you again for you to peruse.
    Bestest wishings
    Christy x

  10. BoffleSpoffle says:

    “Me and My Girl”! Oh that was wonderful. Saw it in the West End, though not with Emma. “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” and all the music was such gentle good fun. What a well-done revival. Glad it got you off to a good start. All that reading of the great Wodehouse came in handy both for that project and then la creme de la creme, Jeeves and Wooster. I guess it is fun to be writing all the things you write. And just as with any art, you do it because you can’t not do it. Looking forward to your current and future projects. As ever. B.

  11. dirtywhitecandy says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your procrastinative blog while procrastinating a piece of writing of my own. Have you started a chain procrastination?

  12. ArsenicY says:

    I also walk around saying “Damn, damn, damn, damn,” with the inflections Rex Harrison use when stressed. It doesn’t actually relieve any stress, but it feels nice. And dirtywhitecandy, I’m also procrastinating while reading Mr. Fry’s procrastination, which does make this a chain of procrastination. Rather like Barney Stinson’s chain of screaming. They’re both stress filled.

  13. JanL says:

    I think missing deadlines is in the DNA of anyone who gets paid for writing. It doesn’t even matter what we write about, we have to miss the deadline.

    The one deadline I didn’t had to make false and embarassing excuses for missing it was that of my masters thesis. I even had it finished and printed three days before the deadline. After printing I immediately found two spelling mistakes, and since that day (and all other days before, I have to admit) I like to miss the deadline or come as close to it as possible. Apparently I don’t write better if I deliver on time, so I don’t.

    Since I test and write about guitars, it is only natural that I rather like to play them than write about them. And I discovered that I can write quicker (but not necessarily better) about guitars that I don’t like than writing about guitars that I really like. When I like something it is more painful to find the right words that do the magnificent instrument justice. If I hate something I have the usual phrases to criticise it without sounding like a taliban confronted with european liberalism. Sometimes it’s work, sometimes pure pleasure.

    Good luck with your writing!

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