Thursday, March 29, 2007

Living in the Age of the Remake and Genre Saturation: Solutions for Modern Cinema by David L. Blackwood

(pictured: Assault on Precinct 13 = bullshit)

The state of the movie industry has never been so weak. As you are probably aware, we are living in the age of the remake. Creativity and inventiveness are stagnating in favour of a tendency to churn out remakes by the dozen. The Italian Job, Get Carter, Assault on Precinct 13, The Amityville Horror, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Wicker Man, to name a few fairly recent ones that shouldn’t ever have been made. Why can’t people think of good new concepts anymore? I think of like a dozen a day. Why can’t I work in Hollywood? They seem bent on cutting corners at any cost. If something looks like it’ll make money they will jump on a bandwagon, regardless of if there are 15 other films like it being released that week. For every Lord of the Rings, there’s an Eragon or a Chronicles of Narnia, and for every X-men there’s a Fantastic Four or Ghost Rider. Despite the fact these are “new” films, I place them alongside remakes in their sheer lack of inventiveness. Every title I have mentioned of course, comes from a book or a comic, which does sort of negate any creativity on the part of the director, because obviously you don’t want to mess with it or the fans will go banjax. And nobody wants that. The movie industry exploits geeks with quick fixes – hastily put together assembly line movies based on “what the fans want” ie the whims of a totally insane public. I honestly believe that every time some foolish housebound nerd says online “WOULDN’T AN ANTMAN MOVIE BE TOTALLY AWESOME LOOOOOL” there’s some Satanist producer there with a clipboard and pen going “hmmm, Antman, you say?” To top it off, they seem to reviving franchises that have been dead for years in order to squeeze some money out of people’s nostalgia – at 65 Harrison Ford should not be playing Indy. They should let it go. Likewise at 61, Stallone should give up on the Rocky franchise. Their lack of inventiveness knows no bounds. It reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes strip in which Calvin, designing a snowman purposely builds it to be as pedestrian-looking as possible, remarking that “people don’t want anything new, they just want more of what they already know they like”.
Why should I pay my hard-earned cash-money to go and see some shitty Hollywood remake of a Japanese horror film, in which the horror is invariably provided by a “scary” unkempt ghost child. Or indeed watch a carelessly constructed movie-version of some third-tier Marvel comics character hopelessly miscast and devoid of any of the depth that made you love the comic in the first place?

The last movie I saw in the theatre was Ghost Rider, which to be fair I didn’t have very high expectations of. And I wasn’t disappointed. Nick Cage plays Nick Cage who accidentally sells his soul to Mephistopheles, played by Peter Fonda - who is without a doubt the most overtly obvious devil since Robert De Niro played Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart - and is forced to become Old Nick’s bounty hunter and face off against four demons led by a bullshit version of Blackheart who in no way resembles the one seen in the comics. The whole thing is put together in a rather shoddy fashion, with only minimal attentions paid to plot. The four elemental demons Ghost Rider faces go out like pussies (The air demon he blows away with a fan made of chains, the earth demon he also kills with a chain, and the water demon he kills I think by boiling him with the hot fire on his head. I’m not sure) and the whole thing is resolved so quickly you wouldn’t believe. Ghost Rider’s motives are also unexplained, he seems to just power around town on his flaming motorcycle committing random acts of cruelty. Despite the fact that this was a terrible movie, I can’t honestly say though that I wasn’t entertained – most of the enjoyment and indeed humour came from my disbelief that I was watching something so retarded. Also starring Eva Mendes’s bosoms. I am really, really glad that I was never a regular reader of Ghost Rider though, otherwise I’d surely be feeling pretty jipped right now. The next title this director is supposed to be massacring is Preacher. God save us.

That’s another thing. The two most awaited comic book movies in history, Watchmen and Preacher, are being handled by people who I don’t really believe are up to the job. The dude who did the Dawn of the Dead remake and 300 is doing Watchmen – while DOTD version 2.0 was reasonable I haven’t seen 300 yet so couldn’t possibly judge. Please, please, please, don’t destroy this for me, I’ve been waiting for this movie since the 80s. Likewise Preacher, is being handled by the schmoe responsible for both Ghost Rider and Daredevil. Not a lot of faith there then. I heard actually that Preacher was going to be a TV series on ABC, which strikes me as a much better way to do it than as a movie, because it has a very definite plot progression, over the course of 9 volumes. There are no standalone episodes that could easily be made into an hour and a half movie. There could be a trilogy, but it would all depend on the strength of the first movie, which could end up being a massive dud anyway. If they make one movie, they’ll have to cut tons of stuff out and end up destroying the plot, ruining the characters, and crushing the dreams of fanboys everywhere. One day I swear we’ll take no more.

While the genre movie seems to be alive and unwell, one has to wonder whatever happened to other genres. Like when was the last time you saw a good cop movie? The formula is simple – take two mismatched cops, usually from different ethnic, educational, and class backgrounds, with differing personality types, put them in a car together and watch the race humour, vague homosexual overtones, bad driving, gunplay, maltreatment of women and poorly-conceived plot take over. For instance I watched 48 Hours last night. How good is that movie? Nick Nolte as a racist, sexist, drunkard cop forced to escort racist, sexist, mouthy convict Eddie Murphy around town in search of a cop-killer and bag of stolen ducats. The terrible things that Nolte is able to say in that movie and still somehow retain our sympathy is mind-blowing. He kicks off the day by taking a swig of rotgut, emotionally torturing his girlfriend for a while before busting in on someone else’s case and causing the deaths of two detectives. Nolte doesn’t care - he has lost his gun and wants it back. He enlists the help of Murphy, who he racially abuses at every turn and the two engage in a madcap two-day rampage of morally sketchy law enforcement, which culminates - of course - in the shooting rather than arrest of the suspects. Nobody cares about this. This is how cops operate in movies. They shoot roughly twice as many people as they arrest, if they even bother to arrest anyone at all. I can't recall. Indeed, Nolte and Murphy cause so much trouble that on two occasions beat cops try to stop them but are sent packing because Nolte outranks them. He can literally do anything he pleases. On one occasion Nolte drunkenly attacks Murphy and the two ruthlessly batter each other for a while until the cops intervene. Is this good police work? Murphy uses almost any opportunity he can to cruise for pros and at one point attempts to seduce two lesbians whose house they have broken into. How are they even allowed on the streets? They should both be locked up. My favourite scene is where Murphy hassles a gang of shitkickers at a barn dance proclaiming that he doesn’t like white people and he hates rednecks. Then he beats them up and vandalises the joint. They can’t do anything about it, because he is with the cops. How is this legal? I can’t believe it. Why is there even a barn dance happening in the middle of San Francisco? In the end of course, Murphy and Nolte settle their differences and become allies, like in every cop movie. Nolte agrees to stop being racist and, as a peace offering, buys Murphy a prostitute. Pure popcorn, but you have to love the cop genre. They just don’t do movies like that anymore. Movies like Lethal Weapon, Red Heat, Tango and Cash, or even Turner and Hooch and Stop or My Mom Will Shoot. The only recent one I can think of is Starsky & Hutch, and that’s a remake of a 70’s TV show. Of course there is always Hot Fuzz...

The action movie in general is dying a death. It was killed by the Matrix, bullet time and wire work. Now every single action movie that is released has the protagonist pirouetting around on strings in slow motion to a nu-metal soundtrack while dodging slow bullets. It’s like when that movie - glorious though it was – came out everybody dropped several IQ points. Also its influence has permeated and ruined other genres. For instance, the vampire movie.

Vampire movies have stank for a long time, I think maybe the last good one was John Carpenter’s Vampires, preceded by Interview With The Vampire and before that Near Dark and Lost Boys. When did vampire and gay man in big black coat become synonymous? Seriously? If you want to look at bad vampire movies, take a look at Queen of the Damned, perhaps the worst movie ever. A bunch of fruity looking, twatty vampires, one of whom has obvious man-boobs (fair enough, the vampires in the book were slightly gay, but in the book that was acceptable because they didn’t fly around kung-fu fighting one another at lightspeed) a terrible cast, a rotten nu-metal soundtrack, and the single poorest script ever shat into creation. And for another example, let’s take Underworld – that has the distinction of being both a bad vampire movie and a bad werewolf movie. Lots of big black coats in that, yes sir. To top it off, I’m not exactly what the difference between the vampires and the werewolves are in that movie is. The vampires are gaybo-looking European male-model types, while the werewolves are gaybo-looking European male-model types too. The only thing I can think of is that the latter group generally sport beards.

Well what improvements could be made? Apart from a decent buddy-cop movie, something else I’d like to see a lot more of is “versus” movies, like Freddy Versus Jason and Alien Versus Predator. While FvJ offered exactly what was expected – sexually promiscuous teenagers being slaughtered, dream-murder, machete-hackings and a final battle in which the horrors fillet one another with their blades – AvP was, I felt, a huge disappointment. The studio could have made Aliens 5, which was going to be directed by James Cameron and written by Ridley Scott (or maybe they other way around) but instead chose to make AvP, directed by some pot-smoking teenager who has only directed the abominable Resident Evil and thought it would be “rad” to have a face-hugger jumping in slow motion while Slipknot played and the camera panned round dramatically. Good choice, 20th Century Fox. A pairing I’d quite like to see would be Robocop Versus Terminator, like in the classic videogame, or even in a stirring break from tradition, Robocop & Terminator, where the pair are forced to collaborate to fight crime in Delta City. That would be something to observe. Probably it would follow the same rough plot as 48 Hours, Robocop would bust Terminator out of jail because he needs him to fight - I don’t know - the Cylons, or something.

It’s a sorry state of affairs really. At the end of the day we just have to remember that it is an industry, and these are the kind of things that make money nowadays. Your average cinemagoer hardly ever knows he is watching a remake, just like he has never read the comic on which the movie he is watching is based. This allows the directors to do a half-assed job because while the fans do dictate what gets made, it’s the popcorn munching masses that bring the box office count up, and they must be appeased. Well-meaning folks who really do want to make a good movie that true fans will enjoy find themselves pandering to a disinterested and generally desensitised audience with a high tolerance for shit. So this is all the fault of you, the viewer. Good night.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bear - 1, Germany - 0

(Pictured left - living bear; right - dead bear)
It doesn’t need to be said that Germany and the bear have a chequered history. Only last year, Bruno – bear and father of six - was gunned down in a revenge attack by a group of Bavarian huntsmen for crimes against humanity. But as we well know one man’s war criminal is another bear’s freedom fighter. Germany has been widely criticised for it’s stance on bears, having killed 100% of wild bears found on German soil since 1835.

Nevertheless, a great victory was won for bears this week when Berlin Zoo vowed not to execute Knut, an abandoned polar bear cub, despite calls from animal rights activists that he be killed for his own good. It was feared that Knut would become too reliant on his trainer, and eventually, in a fit of barely contained animal madness, devour every creature in the zoo including staff and patrons. But the public rallied around the adorable bearling and the zoo vowed to keep him until he is old enough to cope with being moved, and then ship him off to another zoo, obviously keen to avoid a potential massacre. Knut, for his own part seemed oblivious to this and merely looked on with murder in his eyes.

Why were ze Germans so willing to spare Knut when they so easily eliminated Bruno? The answer seems to lie in the power of cute. Knut is a very photogenic animal. Small, skinny, with milky white fur, he looks more like a lamb than a bear, while by contrast Bruno was a huge, stinking, filthy brute who would sooner slay you than look at you. In addition to this, the fact that Knut is a white bear surely appeals to the German’s barely-concealed Aryan pride.
What’s my policy on bears? Positive obviously. Anything that can eat a bus full of schoolchildren whole and makes a dump the size of a cat is good in my mind. Germany, by sparing Knut has a ticking time-bomb on its hands. When Knut is old enough, he will escape in a maelstrom of death, and take his deadly revenge on the German people for the martyrdom of his forebear (ho ho ho). The streets will run red with Teutonic blood and once again will the bear’s supremacy be asserted. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

God Revealed Himself to Me through the Medium of Chicken

No, it’s not a new KFC slogan, it’s an anecdote about something that happened to me about ten minutes before the time of writing.

First I shall explain some background. I am a secular boy. I was raised with little or no particular religion but, was fairly well guided in terms of moral and social education. I know the difference between right and wrong, which was taught to me through true life examples and the odd beating rather than through the medium of bible teaching. I graduated through various stages of scoffing at Christians, complaining that the reformation ruined Scottish literature for almost 200 years, and sitting in the back of Mr “Ned Flanders” Jameson’s Religious Education class and going “Satan Satan Satan!”. On the few occasions I was actually in church, I found the thing to be horribly false, and the act of prayer terribly redundant. The religion of the bible, which I considered to have been corrupted over centuries of rewrites and edits seemed to me to be of hopelessly flawed logic. How can a tract that teaches peace and unity be used to justify so much hatred and killing throughout history? How can there be a loving God when so much pain exists in the world? If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t he just turn Satan into a pillar of salt? The answer to all of these questions, from a Christian point of view, is undoubtedly that it’s all our own fault, and God likes to smugly watch us destroy ourselves, and that he wouldn’t need to smoke Satan if mankind could just stop yielding to temptation for five seconds. I hate this image of God testing us, making us jump through hoops for salvation. It makes no sense to me and it never will. The idea of a heaven for the winners and hell for the losers of God’s little game is fundamentally unfair. And, since the Christian God is the only true God all the followers of Allah, Buddha, L Ron Hubbard and Shiva will go to hell regardless of whether or not they live the lives of saints. Of course though, all the other religions say the same thing. Place your bets now.
Suffice to say, from an early age I decided, if there is a God, the church is not his microphone.
Nevertheless over the course of my life I have gained some sort of internal spirituality. I don’t mean a belief in God. I don’t like talking about God. I prefer to talk about the Universe, which is a much less stigmatized synonym. I believe that there’s a deeper and more profound meaning behind things, and very often feel a spiritual connection to the world around me. Staring up at the stars, for instance, has always filled me with these conflicting feelings of simultaneous significance and insignificance. On one hand I feel incomparably small, and on the other profoundly connected. I think of scales – the distance from star to star, the distance between me and those stars, the speed of the light traveling from these distant specks meaning that most of them will already have grown full and powerful then exploded in celestial combustion, or declined slowly and burned out over the course of billions of years. Looking up at the sky, you can see the Universe in its sum totality, and know that you are a part of it. The very matter that makes up your body is the very same matter that makes up those stars. The same matter is in animals, plants, the planet Earth itself. There’s a litttle bit of open brackets god close brackets in every one of us, and everything around us. It’s this type of god I believe in, the Emersonian transcendental god in nature. I’m the great transparent eye-ball that sees all and perceives all, part and particle. Observing things and the relationships between them is the path to understanding.

This isn’t really something I talk about much. I don’t feel particularly strongly about ramming my point down people’s throat. I’m willing to accommodate other people’s beliefs, after all among my friends I can count dedicated Christians, die-before-compromise Atheists, a bunch of homosexuals and substance abusers, and a couple of Wiccans. Whatever, I don’t care, so long as you’re good people and don’t try and indoctrinate me into your way of thinking. I’m fairly laid back about it.
Which is strange, because last night I somehow ended up arguing with my girlfriend about it - even though neither of us is religious. How did this come about? Well, I’ll tell you. A Japanese friend of mine, a pastors wife (Yes, they have the Christ here too now) were chatting, and I mentioned I thought I was coming down with the flu, and she said “Oh, I’ll pray for you”. Later on I mentioned this to my girlfriend and said it made me feel a little uncomfortable. She said “So does it make you uncomfortable when I pray for you?” I didn’t even know she prayed, but I had to confess to myself, yes it does. But why? For one, I don’t think anybody has ever prayed for me before in my life, not even good old secular Mama and Papa Blackwood. Secondly, that’s just not how I relate my own experience to the world. I believe we make our own destiny, not accept handouts from the big guy. In short, why pray for a Cadillac when you could be trading stocks in order to buy one? True, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to influence events, but even in those cases I don’t think it would cross my mind to pray. You see, I don’t believe in god as a conscious organism, and I certainly don’t believe he speaks back to us. Of course the theory goes that he does all the time we just don’t hear him, but if that’s the case I think a man of his position could afford to yell a little louder.
Today though, something strange happened to me. I had direct contact with Our Lord. It was nearly bento time and I was hungry. People, my bento is not a bountiful harvest. Usually it contains a few varieties of sukemono and some piss-tasting seaweeds, and a croquette, with all the dry white rice I can eat on the side. Sometimes though, it is even worse and I am served things which no man should be forced to eat. Today as I gathered my bento close to me I looked down and thought. “Please don’t be pregnant fish again.” Then as an afterthought, I thought “I hope it is fried chicken”. Bearing in mind we have had fried chicken for bento on one other occasion since I began eating it every day 18 months ago. The chances of fried chicken were infinitesimal.
And yet, I opened up the bento lid and there it lay. A large slice of fried chicken in breadcrumbs, with two potato wedges sitting beside it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And then it occurred to me… Holy Shit! I prayed a little! I prayed for chicken and it came true!” God was telling me I was wrong! Praise Jesus!
When I came down after my gratefully consuming my miracle-chicken, I considered things a little more objectively. What if it was really God telling me He exists? Then why would he do it through chicken? Must be these mysterious ways I’ve heard so much about. Perhaps God merely decided that in order to show me up he would answer the next prayer I made regardless of what it was. In that case, I’m upset because I should have prayed for something like INFINITE POWER or a million Great British Pounds. Or conversely, maybe God can only answer prayers regarding chicken. Why? I don’t know. The Ways of the Halls of Heaven are not for you to comprehend, mortal! Even more terrifying, the impossible miracle of the chicken had proven God’s existence, and since proof denies faith and without faith He is nothing, what if I had inadvertently killed God by believing in Him? Nietzsche was unavailable for comment due to a slight case of death.
So, after praying for more chicken and not being rewarded, and faced with either the prospect of having accidentally bumped off the Holy Father or a strange God who speaks to his children through processed poultry, I decided to resume my previous beliefs. I think the thing with the chicken was a coincidence. To my Christian friends, sorry guys, I still need proof. To my Atheist friends, don’t worry, I’m still down.
But, in my ten minutes as a dedicated Christian, I think I learned something. Maybe we don’t all share the same beliefs, or live or lives in the same way, but the best thing we can do is accommodate the beliefs of others and respect them. I believe now more than ever that we are all part of the same cosmic mechanism, all connected, part of the same matter. And you bet your sweet ass that if there is a God he would surely enjoy a megabucket from KFC.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Eureka! Moment of the Week

Don't you hate it when you have to defrost chickenmeat in the microwave, and it cooks they outside a bit while leaving the inside frozen and hard? Instead, why not simply try placing the chicken in a bowl beside a kerosene heater for 10-15 minutes. I guarantee you'll find it completely thawed and not even the least bit cooked.

Click Comments to thank me for this pearl of wisdom.

EDIT: Actually, I screwed up. I stuck some beef down there about fifteen minutes ago, and when I came back I found it had become jerky. I can't curry jerky, it would be inhumane.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Drinks that should probably be on the prohibited substances list

(Pictured: This colour appears nowhere in nature. But is approved by some guy named Dave, and he says it is bitchin')

I watched this Chappelle routine the other week the premise of which was that white kids drink “juice” and black kids drink “drink”. The “juice” refers to the fresh juices that come out of fruit when you squeeze it or pierce it with a knife, whereas the “drink” refers to the chemical compounds released when a drunken scientist adds sugar, preservatives and colouring to a bucket of water. Chappelle’s favourite flavour of drink was “purple”. Anyway, he uses this technique to judge a person’s wealth, whether they got juice or drink. For the UK, it was quite different – we didn’t have “drink”, we had either juice or squash. Squash, for those of you of the American/Canadian persuasion, is sort of concentrated orange fluid to which you add water in order to create liquid nourishment. Once when I was a kid I drank the concentrate with no water in and felt a dark dreamless sleep come over me. It was like the blood of Kali. Fortunately, my cereal had so much adrenaline in it that I got a burst of energy, ran around the garden and thereby negated the effects of the sick-maker. Squash is sold in very big, very cheap bottles, and therefore was popular. I was usually a squash boy, because my mother was always trying to save money, although we got one cup of juice every morning with our vitamins to keep us strong and healthy. It was Asda own-brand juice though, which costs about a sixpence.

There are a lot of drinks which are frankly unnatural though. At least Squash uses as its basis a fruit. Take Coca Cola, for instance. Does anybody actually know what goes into Coca Cola? No. Of course you don’t. Because it’s a secret formula. For all we know the Coca Cola production room could just be a kid filling bottles with ditch-water and grass (like those bottles of “drink” you used to make in your garden as a kid. Why did they always have grass?).

Scotland’s own Irn-Bru, as well. What the hell is that made from? “Made in Scotland from girders” the television commercial boldly proclaims. Although this is probably untrue, why would anybody think that this would be a good advert? Did they think that it would make people want to drink it? “Wow, there’s a drink made of girders, I HAVE to try it” You’d probably just get tetanus or something. You’d have to go to the doctors because you’d be shitting iron filings. Did they think people would do it to look tough? Like smoking? “Fuck you man, because I can drink a girder. That’s how fucking hard I am. Oh, did you want something? That’s right girly-man, cower and weep!” On top of that, the drink is utterly narcotic. Take one sip and I dare anyone to stop right there. When I moved to Japan I suffered withdrawal symptoms for at least three months. The ingredients to Irn-Bru are probably water, orange colouring No. 5 and opium.

Also, has anybody ever tried that blue Bubblegum Soda that they sell? There’s a drink that should be on some kind of banned substances list. I have never before that drank a soft drink that was so full of chemicals that I actually experienced paranoia. I became convinced people living in my building were trying to kill me. Then, I became convinced that the drink was giving me cancer.

I suppose I could drink water. But then the amount of chemicals that find their way into tap water these days are outrageous. In Japan, the developed country with probably the least regulations regarding chemical dumping, toxic waste burial and emissions, the chances of you ingesting some kind of industrial waste is very high. I can’t win really can I? Unless I drink bottled water. Or just alcohol, at least that’s sterile. Maybe that’s the only hope. Yeah.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Skiing is Awful

Well, here’s another sport I have no affinity for. Took a skiing lesson on Saturday up in Hida. Met with an accident. First of all, me and my instructor, a taciturn gentleman of around fifty took to the “snow bunny slopes” for me to receive the basics of skiing. Seeing that I was the only person on that slope over the age of ten, and having been separated from my peers I considered that my learning the basics may have been slightly overdue. So I practiced turning left and right for two hours while my instructor yelled “Bend! Bend!” at me in English. All in all we spent more time doing the crab walk up the hill than actually skiing. Eventually I harangued him into allowing me onto the grown up slope with the others. The second I got up there I knew it was a bad idea, but by the time I realized this I had no choice but to go, as I couldn’t work out how to get back onto the ski lift again. The top part was obscenely steep, and no sooner than I had put my skis over the edge, I fell over and started rolling down the hill. I eventually stopped, and got up. I started again, and with some assistance made it half way down the hill. Then, trying to make it down to the bottom, I shot off the run entirely, went through a barrier and before I knew it I was skiing on mud, caused by the melting of the snow. I toppled and fell into the mucky bog. Shocked and frantic, I felt the mud seeping through my trousers as I struggled to free myself. But I was powerless. I couldn’t stand up in the slime, but I also couldn’t get my skis off. I had no option but to lie there, squelching in the muck while I waited for help to arrive. People going past on the ski lift pointed and jibed at me. Even my taciturn instructor laughed a low, dead, laugh. I was humiliated. When the instructor eventually unfastened my skis for me, I crawled out of the bog and onto the snow, groaning with displeasure. My soiled form stained the white snow a dark brown. I lay on my back writhing and moaning in defeated agony. It somewhat resembled the scene in Star Wars Episode III when a dismembered Anakin Skywalker flails helplessly by the banks of that lava river howling in a hopeless frenzy.
I hate skiing.


A man who made more than a million quid with an HR business told me to set myself goals. Then he went off about how great his house, motor vehicles and bikini wife are. Despite how horrible the man was, I think he may have had a point. So, here are my goals:
1. By the end of 2007, I will have some decent experience on a newspaper and a serious portfolio. None of these articles will have the words “fuck” “assholes” or “lies” in them. This will be real journalism – no more kid stuff.
2. Also by the end of 2007, I will be moved in with Kaki, in a city were it is likely that we will stay for at least a year.
3. By the end of 2008 and I will have at least half of an NCTJ diploma. I will also have completed courses in shorthand and quark xpress. Hopefully, by then I will also have a proper job.
4. By the end of 2009 I would like to be living in Canada, hopefully with some kind of UK experience and qualifications that would be transferable over there. Get a job on a newspaper. Get a nice new place. Perhaps a car.
5. 2014: First book published. Win literary awards of some kind, either that or sell millions of copies of poorly-written but well-marketed crap targeted at people who don’t usually read..
6. 2015: Sell film rights for book to Hollywood. Make a mint. Sell out totally, but be very comfortable with that.
7. 2020: Ferrari, Cadillac, Aston Martin, personal hovercraft, flying lessons. Second novel should be published around this time.
8. 2025: Move out of the city, buy some kind of ranch. Buy guns.
9: 2030: Build large walls. Fortify ranch.
10: 2030 - ?: Shoot any intruder.