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Lawrence of Arabia

3 January 2006

Question: How often do I look at a TV listing, see a four-hour film in the middle of the day and think "oh, bliss..."?

Answer: Every time they show Lawrence of Arabia, basically. Which, thank the lord, they tend to do on public holidays, so itís sort-of okay for me to do the self-indulgence thing, sprawled on the sofa with a cat on my chest, coffee and sandwiches close by and all that overwrought desert magic on the screen. Even the music is magnificent, and I never notice film music unless itís your actual musical.

So: happy Chaz, unworking Chaz today. Take four hours out of the middle, and what can you do that's useful? Besides, I finished & sent off something yesterday, I need to read my way back into the next major piece of work - it's okay to put something aside for a month or two, I can generally pick up the threads again and move it along so that you can't see the join, but I do have to get up to speed, I can't do it from a standing start - and I've scheduled that for tomorrow; I feel no urgency to work today, I have nothing outstandingly urgent to do, I'm entitled to the odd day entirely off...

Etc, etc. And of course I didn't take the day entirely off; I dealt with some e-mails, I wrote a newsletter for the fanbase (does this mean you? Sign up on the front page, do it now...), I restocked with signed copies of the Phantoms book for eager customers - get them while they're hot, , or go to the Phantoms page on this very site and order via PayPal, we're making this as easy as we can so c'mon, guys, why hold back? Itís only £10 or your local equivalent (for now - this price may rise shortly. Get 'em while they're cheap...). 'Restocking' in this instance actually means strolling up the hill to have a chat with my friend Michelle and carry a bagful of books back down, but hey, it's still work.

Oh, and Iíve been reading Kipling - Puck of Pook's Hill, and that's work. No, it is, honest, it's research. That it is also a heightened pleasure is a bonus, nothing more. What's interesting is that I knew I'd read it as a kid, but I didn't remember reading it more than once or twice; and yet I must've done, it must've been one of my constant companions, because I know it to the bones of me. Going back after thirty years or more, it's not just the material that's familiar, it's little twists of phrase, habits that I can see in my own work that I must have found here and just hung on to until needed. Cool. I love Kipling and always have done, even when he was entirely unpopular and scorned by my best beloveds (back in the 'eighties, that was, when he was thought politically repulsive; now I guess he's just not thought about at all. That's okay, opinions shift but the work abides, and he remains one of our finest writers, as well as absolutely a voice of his time).

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© Chaz Brenchley 2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.