A short film I made of me interviewing myself about my debut novel, 33 Storeys, and my background as a freelance music & lifestyle journalist. I know. Me, talking to myself about myself, does it get any better?
The results are in for the Story140 contest on Twitter, organised by Twitter micro-novelist Nick Warren, and I’m suitably pleased to announce that I came joint second, out of 20, with @mikebreed. Apparently were both just two votes behind the winner, @leeporter. To read Lee’s winning story, which I bagged as the winner as soon as I read it, and all the other 140 character stories click here.
I wrote 10 stories for the competition, before choosing this one as my entry:
“Small skinny decaf latté?” repeated the girl behind the counter. Samantha nodded. “Small skinny decaf latté? Do you even like coffee?”
The other nine were…
They told her that he’d been killed instantaneously. What did they know. She’d gone to great lengths to ensure he hadn’t.
The carpark was empty. He heard the footsteps behind him, but as usual, when he turned, there was no one. Always the same disappointment.
The barman poured him another drink, ‘on the house’. “Thanks,” he said. “Hey Dirk, old buddy, anytime.” Who Dirk was he had no idea.
The lift doors closed. He had 4 floors to decide, but knew it wasn’t enough. The deli counter was a minefield for the indecisive executive.
The newsreader stumbled, then broke into a sweat. He wasn’t sure, but he might just have called the Prime Minister Darling.
Every word, every character was beautifully crafted. Now all that was missing was the one thing which had eluded him all his life, a point.
“But I like money,” said Andrews, confused by the suggestion that there’s more to life. “I mean, you can’t eat spirituality.”
“To solve teen pregnancy we must instil in the young a sense of ambition,” the politician said. The student nodded, “Like wanting a PS3?”
Divorce wasn’t an option. Too expensive, too messy, too depressing. But sudden, violent death? It had its benefits. Like keeping the car.
Ah, the eternal question: What is cool?
Always followed by: And why have some people/places/things got it while others haven’t?
Are cool and style the same thing?
Are all stylish things cool?
Does something have to be fashionable to be cool? Or is cool about doing your own thing?
Is cool the same as the other indefinable quality we call x-factor? Or can you have that special star something and still be naff?
Is cool passion, authenticity, confidence, lack of effort or all of the above?
How do you know when you’ve got it? How do you know when it’s gone?
Is it something you’re born with?
Can you acquire it?
Can you buy it?
Can you sell it?
Is it something you can learn to be or does trying result in instant disqualification?
What’s your definition of cool?
Would it be the same as mine?
If it really is indefinable, then how come we all seem to know that those pictured above – Barack Obama, Steve McQueen, Apple’s iPhone, New York, Philippe Stark’s Juicer, Keith Richards, Miles Davis, James Dean, Adidas Shell Toes – all have it. Or maybe you don’t agree that they do.
How important is it anyway?
All my life I’ve been fascinated by the concept of ‘cool’, something you can’t see or touch yet we all instantly recognise, and react favourably to. Cool people/places/things are always popular, always respected, usually successful, invariably admired. Why? What have they got? What do they know? Can they themselves define it?
That’s what I’m intending to find out with The Definition Of Cool, my own personal journey in search of that magic formula. But first I need your help. I need to know your definition of cool. Who are the people, places and things that you think have it? And how would you put it into words? Don’t be too clever. I’m trying to get together a solid cast of characters I can go and interview – or in the case of products, places and dead people, those who know/knew them well. So don’t be afraid to be too obvious – obscure may be cool, but for our purposes it won’t get us very far. Pick people, places and things which are widely known and recognised, and tell me why you think they’re cool, along with your own definition, in the comments. Once I’ve got a sufficiently cool long list, I’ll be running a series of polls here on the blog to narrow it down to a short list of interviews for the book so don’t forget to sign-up to the mailing list here or subscribe to the RSS feed here, so you won’t miss your chance to vote.
In an effort to make things look cheerier (and prove that I really am a journalist) I’ve added page scans to all the articles in the journalism section. You’re welcome.
If you’ve been to www.dangennoe.net before (as in, in the last year), you’ll notice there have been a few changes. This blog bit is new for a start, and we’ve had the decorators in. There are lots of new features as well, Twitter updates, a Flickr photostream, a tag cloud… Yes, I know, all very web 2.0.
It’s still not finished so don’t expect miracles just yet, but hopefully you’ll like and have reason to come back – there’s a mailing list link and an RSS feed sign-up on the right, so you can stay up-to-date. Before it was all very informative, but a bit dull. Not much happened. Seen it once, you’d seen it a hundred times. Not now. Now it’s new and exciting and up to the minute. If you’re worried about what you might have missed though, www.dangennoe.net used to look like this…