January 7th 2001- Last Day of Christmas Holiday

It is the last day of the holidays. We walked along the Forth and Clyde Canal. All I can think about is having to go back to school. I’m dreading it, I’m actually sick at the thought of it. The dread gets progressively worse each time I have to go back after the holidays. I’ve never felt so bad in my whole life. The hate I feel towards that place is tremendous and what makes it worse is the fact that I have English with Mrs. O’Donnovan, my least favourite teacher. She doesn’t actually shout and shriek the way some teachers do, there’s just something about her that rubs everyone up the wrong way, I don’t know one single person who likes her, she just has this really nasty manner about her. She seems to enjoy watching people being embraced because when she asks a question and you don’t know the answer she just peers at you over her glasses while you stutter and stammer and go red and you can tell by the gleam in her eye that she is gloating, she purposely asks the people she knows won’t know the answer. She does it to me all the time. There are only three people in my SYS English class and the other two are really clever, they know everything and I’m just thick. I get all the answers wrong and I never understand the stuff we do and I always muck up homework. The other two, who shall remain nameless, get everything right and understand everything and although they are by no means smug about it I still end up feeling like the class dunce and every time it happens I feel it like a punch in the stomach and sometimes I feel so inadequate and stupid I wish I could just put all my books in my bag, tell them I quit and walk away. Sometimes I just want to cry, but nobody knows how much it hurts me, me, who is usually up there with the best, to sit there and feel like a dunce. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, this school year I’ve fallen, I feel like I’ve turned into the village idiot. School can’t be good if it makes you feel this bad.

January 6th 2001- Manufactured Bands

Went to Edinburgh. We looked around the shops and went into the museum of childhood, then we went to the Rose Street Fry for cheeseburger and chips. I usually have a fried mars bar but they couldn’t make me one today. As it was raining we had to sit in one of the shelters to eat and it smelled disgusting. The radio is crap at the weekend. For some reason from Friday to Sunday all the stations play nothing but hideous dance music. Do they really think the whole nation enjoys being brain washed by endless, repetitive, computer generated sounds? (I won’t even give it the honour of calling it music). True some people like that kind of thing but they should play some other stuff for the rest of us too. And as I’m on the subject of music again I might as well continue what I started saying yesterday before I ran out of space. I was talking about processed groups, Steps, A1, Westlife, S Club 7 and the likes. They’re almost as bad as dance music. They’re all so perfect with their well groomed hair, creamy blemish free skin, even white teeth, ideal figures. How many people do you see walking down the street who look like that? Exactly, they’re false. And as for their music it’s soppy and false too, it belongs in a perfect world just as the groups themselves do. They don’t even write their own material or play their own instruments, they only sell any records because people look at them and think they are gorgeous and buy the songs simply because they fancy the people who sing them. The lyrics have no meaning and are only ever concerned with one thing: love. It’s so sad when you see thousands of girls shrieking and fainting over these boy bands. Ok, so maybe some of them do write their own stuff and fair play to them if they do, even though I don’t like them, but these bands who sell records and win merit simply because they are pretty boys or girls, especially the ones who do covers of other peoples songs, should do us all a favour and just pack it in. Well that’s only my opinion, who says I’m right?

January 5th 2001- The Rebel of the Trilogy

We didn’t do much today, just stayed in. I was writing some more of my book, it’s proving a really easy book to write. Unlike ‘a sea of the past’ which took a lot of planning, preparation and thinking about, this one is just flowing really naturally and freely with hardly any pre-planning. I think maybe it’s because it’s coming right from my heart and I know a lot about the main themes (stereotyping, music, misery). But I have a dilemma. The books was originally going to be part of a trilogy but it far outshines the first and I think if I keep it as a trilogy and the first one is released first it will not do the second one justice. It’s possible that The World Against Me would stand out much stronger as an individual statement, because in a way it is as much a statement as it is a story. Then on the other hand is the matter of the first book. Although it may not be as good as The World Against Me I’m still reluctant to scrap it. The thing is, world against me, doesn’t fit in with the others in terms of atmosphere and the way it’s told. It’d rebellious, it’s the outsider of the trilogy, just in the same way Travis is the outsider in his society. So that’s something I need to think about, there’s no need to rush into a decision.

I was recording some songs off the radio today, so called mosher bands such as Linkin Park, Blink 182, The Offspring, because they are part of the mosher culture and this is a central part of my book. It helps me to create the right atmosphere if I listen to them while writing. I was talking about screen plays yesterday and the music of these kind of bands would provide a perfect soundtrack to a screen play of world against me. They have the exact kind of atmosphere I’m looking for, they’re so powerful and true, full of honesty and strength, they seem to tell things as they are. They are a sobering antidote to the happy go lucky perfect world of processed boy bands but more on this another time.

January 4th 2001- Unbreakable

We went to the showcase cinema in Uddingston to see a film called “unbreakable”. It was directed by the same person who did the sixth sense and had one of the same actors, Bruce Willis. It wasn’t really the same kind of story as the sixth sense but it had a very similar atmosphere: Dull, dreary houses, a man and a little boy. It was about a train de-railment in which everybody dies expect one man who escapes unscratched. It turns out he is a kind of comic book hero (sounds corny but the way it was done it wasn’t) and he discovers this through the help of a man at the opposite end of the curve to him: a man who breaks bones every time he falls, a man they call Mr. Glass. Discovering what his purpose is in life, David Dunn (the sole survivor) is able to help people in trouble. Then there was an interesting twist (Though not as good as the one in the sixth sense). Following the traditional pattern a comic book hero must have and arch enemy, a villain, and who did he turn out to be in the end? The man who appeared to be his friend, the so called Mr Glass.

I’ve always thought cinema can be a powerful medium, often more so than novels. Movies give you pictures, movies make things real and appeal strongly to people, they speak more clearly to the average person. Now I still love novels and I will always be a novelist but how I would love to see my ideas turned into a film! To write my own screen play would be magic! “The World against me” would work so well as a film and through film it might help me reach my target audience more easily, so tonight, only for the sheer fun of it, I began to experiment with writing my novel as a screen play. It’s a real challenge! So different from writing a novel, so many different things to consider and what’s more, I’ve never written a screen play before so I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing, but I’m just doing it how I imagine it would be done and it seems to be working!

January 3rd 2001- Moshers and Neds

Mam had to go back to work after the Christmas holidays but it’s only for the morning so we went shopping in Falkirk after dinner. The shopping centre was full of so called ‘moshers’. I think I should explain. Here in the Glasgow area in the teenage category of society people are divided into two main groups: moshers and neds. Moshers are the kids who ride skateboards, wear dark clothes and listen to music such as The Offspring and Green Day. They are strictly in the minority but their numbers have been increasing recently. They like to get together outside of places such as art galleries and museums. Neds are the ones who wear designer gear, shave their heads, wear baseball caps and whose only purpose in life is to fight and bully people. The neds are the majority. They have the upper hand aided by their fighting skills. Neds and moshers hate each other, they have arguments (very vicious ones) on the toilet walls at school. I side with the moshers because they are a repressed minority and most of my friends are moshers, they don’t go out of their way to pick on people like neds do either, and they like to be different. And am I mosher? On the inside yes: I like mosher music, have the same views as the moshers. On the outside, no: I don’t ride a skateboard or wear black (although I do have my nose pierced).

This particular set up forms the basis for my new book ‘The World Against Me’. The book is quite detailed in its outlook on this set up and is told from the point of view of Travis who is a mosher (although he doesn’t like people to call him this) and his views and opinions are my own. I guess you could say he is me placed in the body of teenage mosher boy thrown into the bleak setting of a decaying, polluted estate where stereo typing is rife and the neds on their micro scooters rule. It’s a very personal novel and I think if any of the neds at school read it I would be butchered.

January 1st 2001- starting the year on a positive note

And so it is the beginning of another year, I’ve kept a diary before but never really one as detailed as this will be. Last year was not a good year, a lot if it was not worth remembering, but this year, I hope, will be different and this diary will record it, bad times and all. It won’t only record and give an accurate account of things I do but will keep track of thoughts and feelings, especially my dreams. That is it’s main purpose, to follow the progress of my writing career and, this may sound daft, to keep me alive, to make sure my spirit, my very essence, lives on in these pages. Who knows, if I do become a writer one day then maybe my fans might find this interesting to read. I can dream, can’t I? This is a journal of dreams.

So have I made any New Years resolutions? Sort of. I want this to be the year things start to change, I want to get my writing career moving, I want to write my best ever novel. And if I fail? Well I’ll never give in because I know, just know, I’ll get there even if it’s nit until I am 90. I also want to say that it’s not only for me, but for Mam too, because I believe she deserves better than what we have now and maybe with writing I cold help with that. Some people believe that this is the start of the real millennium, some say it was last year, it doesn’t really bother me either way, this is the year of hope for me because this is the end of an era for me, the year I have to leave school and go out into the world of work. I can’t deny the fact that I’m scared, terrified even, but I’ll face it, I’ll prove to everyone that I can be a writer and when I am I’ll look back on the people who don’t believe me and say “who’s the loser now?” So cheers to 2001.