Welcome to another edition of The Dirty Dozen!
This is my spin on the author/blogger interview… Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen, and more of a connection. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?
This week, I’m delighted to be hosting Babbitman, aka Nick Rowe, in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.
Now this is an unusual, and particularly enjoyable, one for me as I have the pleasure to know Nick “offline”. I’ll let Nick explain it in his own words below.
Nick is a talented blogger, writer, actor and now voice artist…. as shown here: https://babbitman.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/als-pretty-words-my-villainous-voice/
You can find out more here – https://babbitman.wordpress.com/about/
1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?
NR – Because I’ve known you since about 2005 and then one day a few years ago you said “hey, I’m writing stuff and I’ve got a blog”. And I said “wow, that reminds me, I’ve got a kids’ story I wrote a while back” and we bonded over writing (rather than Excel, Star Wars and the hilarity of public sector employment, which were the usual topics). And then you wrote an early blog entry on entering the brief and bewildering world of twitter. And I tried to comment on it. Which meant I had to set up a WordPress identity of my own in order to do so. And so I now had a bloody blog that I hadn’t actually intended to create. You did it, Al, it’s your fault that I now have 100 totally innocent people following my blog. You sowed the seed, Al. Yes, you can actually look at my blog and say “I am your father”. 😀
AL – I am the butterfly that flapped its wings and changed history… I may add “Blogfather” to my bio too. 🙂
2 – You, in three words?
NR – Analytical, arty, alternative
AL – and alliterative!
3 – The last book/ film/ or album that you wish you’d made?
NR – Apart from the one that’s been in my head for about a decade? Probably “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”, just to knock off the annoying edges (although mine aren’t the same as yours, or other people’s).
AL – I have ranted about Star Wars a little before… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/the-force-awakens/
NR – Maybe just avoid the Starkiller Base idea which, as well as being stupid, was just one step too close to “A New Hope”. That’s not to say I could make anything as great as that myself; I tend to be in awe of works of art that work well but find those that fall just short to be so annoying! If only they’d fixed x y z!! I would have! (Yeah, right, and cocked up something else instead).
The book I wish had my name on is Sunwielder by Diana Wallace Peach. For me, it’s the perfect story and I love it and her loads. Funnily enough, I doubt I would have come across that book if I hadn’t found her blog. And I only found her blog by having one of my own. And how come I ended up with a blog in the first place…? (Thanks again, Al!)
AL – I know Diana will read this (possibly in her flannel pyjamas), and be flattered by that, but she deserves it. <3
4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey ?
NR – Well, after pootling about with my blog for a year or two, throwing all kinds of random gubbins up on to it (short stories, poetry, art, theatre props), I decided to join a local writer’s group to force me to get stuck in and actually practice writing, which also has the benefit of creating more content for the blog. My ever-distant novel still needs a pile of specific research and structuring and I need to hack down my original Babbit story somehow to a more commercial length (which you pointed out to me bloody ages ago!).
One of the hardest things is cracking on with the big projects rather than focusing purely on the little blog items which are fun but not ultimately what I feel I want to do. They should be the five minute shorts to the big feature, but at the moment I’m stuck in a perpetual cycle of Looney Tunes, Danger Mouse and Tom & Jerry.
AL – You and me both on that count!
5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us though one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?
NR – “It was meant to be”. I’m not a believer in fate. I believe in cause and effect. A lot of success is about being in the right place at the right time with the right people. But unless you’ve got the right material, it ain’t gonna happen. And if you get knocked back, well, it’s just that you’ve not aligned the right place, time and people with what you have to offer. So keep plugging away! This, of course, is much easier to say than actually do. Particularly when you’re a compulsive lazy-arse like myself…
AL – Lazy arse, or distractible creative type? That’s always the excuse I use…
6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.
NR – I am a wearer of winklepickers;
I haven’t built a full size piano out of cardboard;
I once spent 20 minutes chatting to four-time Oscar winner Nick Park at a wedding
AL – I think I can see what he’s done here… although I don’t remember seeing the winklepickers in the office… they may just have been hidden under the desk!
7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, Al’s zombie haiku guide… What else do you grab?
NR – My MP3 player and some way of recharging it using solar power (ensuring that “Second Coming” by The Stone Roses is prominent because “I like it” [spot the quote]). Ideally, also a terrific hand-and-a-half sword for zombie decapitation. Failing that, a hefty frying pan as wielded by Tiffany Aching, which is one of the few weapons capable of caving in skulls AND frying bacon.
AL – I just shuddered at the thought of surviving the zombie apocalypse, but having no way to fry bacon because of over-use of frying pans for caving in skulls… the horror
8 – I’m often mistaken for John Cusack (not by Nick, admittedly!). But who would play you in the movie of your life?
NR – Me. I do a bit of Am-Dram, so why not?
(AL – Nick recently appeared in a production of “One Man, Two Guv’nors” as the fantastically-named Alan Dangle, to rave reviews: https://babbitman.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/a-hoot/ )
NR – But if it’s a star you want, perhaps James McAvoy, although I think he might be a bit short. How about Michael Fassbender? I really have no idea. The soundtrack would be full of The Jam (& other Weller incarnations), Ska, 60s soul, The Charlatans and The Stone Roses. And my mate’s old band, Adorable.
AL – I could see Fassbender doing a creditable job of playing you. I’d definitely buy that soundtrack, too.
9 – Doc Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where/when are you heading?
NR – I am a history buff and it forms part of the desire to write my novel, so I’m really, really tempted to go back to… but no. Deep down, I’m still a small boy who wants to see dinosaurs. So sometime in the Jurassic, about 150 million years ago, around Colorado / Wyoming to see Stegosaurs and Allosaurs roaming the land.
AL – You might have to check the back seat before you go – my boys would want to tag along!
10 – Your beloved partner (real or imagined) is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?
NR – Is this a thing? I don’t know. Is it weird that I’ve never fantasized about a celebrity? I can’t name a single woman who I would be that bothered about ‘dating’. I think it’s because they’re not ‘real’ people. They might turn out to be utterly dreadful.
AL – In the eternal battle of fantasy vs reality, Nick has chosen… reality.
11 – You manage, fortuitously but entirely accidentally in a bizarre toaster incident to rid the world of its most dangerous inhabitant… Who do you call to help destroy the evidence, and burn that hairpiece?
NR – That would be you, Al. You’re relatively local and between us we should know enough to be able to get away with it (provided that we’re not discovered by some pesky kids).
AL – I know an abandoned fairground locally, and have an array of white sheets….
12 – Another apocalyptic scenario, only now the pet food is running out… You have a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, but only food supplies for two of them… Which one misses out?
NR – The bunny bites the bullet, helping to feed the other two. Might have to train them to find more rascally rabbits!
AL – As Elmer Fudd would say, “Kill the wa-bit!”
13 – In a line, any regrets??
NR – I used to really regret damaging my knee playing football, which means I can’t really run much these days and footie is now a distant memory. It also contributed to me being made redundant. But that was the catalyst to move sideways into a different department where I picked up additional skills enabling me to join another company paying more money and who flew me across to their offices in Florida, which allowed me to finally visit Kennedy Space Center on a day off, which was proper awesome.
So no, I don’t think I regret things any more. Carpe diem and all that.
So, a huge thank you to Nick (who is apparently my “blog son”) for coming to play and share himself. I hope his long-planned novel gains traction. I can’t wait to read it! Nick has been trying to get me to join him in testing out some performance poetry, so any folks in the Nottingham area may well be seeing us together on a stage sometime soon. We’re still undecided on a name… Feel free to make any suggestions in the comments!
Now, go and check out https://babbitman.wordpress.com/ . Share the love 🙂
Join us same time next week for another Dirty Dozen, where the lovely Ritu of https://butismileanyway.wordpress.com/ will be joining us for the last edition before a break for summer. She’s got some news she’s dying to share…
Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat when we return in September? (This is aimed at bloggers as well as writers, so don’t be shy!) Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂