Both Alison and Emily have said they think it’s a great idea for me to start ‘The Angel’ with James and Kim going out on a massive bender together (or at least have the sequence quite near the start). I’m certainly of the belief that there’s no bonding experience like a session getting completely plastered in the company of similarly afflicted others — something to do with the lowering of inhibition and probably why it’s an ingrained part of UK working culture.
In the discussion I had last Wednesday on plot with Guy, Nicole and Sue we discussed, amongst other things, how this might happen and how it might end. I think we all thought it might be good if the two characters ended up in a posh hotel suite but were too tired and emotional to consummate any latent attraction. I’ve thought about this a bit further and have some ideas about how they might wake up the next morning.
I’m now giving some consideration to how the bender might unfold. I’d ideally like this to be the opening chapter that I submit to Alison before Easter. I want to make it fast moving and, towards the end, quite blurry and increasingly surreal (as much as I can get away with within my genre).
I have to admit to recycling this idea from two Open University assignments — one short fiction and the other a longer screenplay — Â from 2008-9 where two characters, also called, by chance, James and Kim, went on a bender in similar circumstances. They went from Mayfair to Canary Wharf — where Kim pulled James out of dock.
I’ve settled on having both work around Shoreditch/Bishopsgate so this version will go in the opposite direction. It will be quite picaresque in construction and I want to move up a spectrum of the vast number of options in London and the diversity of drinking/eating places. So I’m minded to start in somewhere really shabby and edgy (in the truest sense) and then move via better pubs up to posy bars and to a top class restaurant and thence to some top hotel — I think something very boutique and designer with massive rooms. I feel a visit to a bookshop and a flick through a Time Out guide to London might be coming up. Actually I’d quite like to base the hotel on the Hotel Rival in Stockholm, which is part owned by Benny Andersson from Abba, and is incredibly Swedish-trendy. I’ve stayed in it twice and drunk in the bar for the beautiful people of Stockholm — with beer at Â£7 a bottle. The rooms aren’t huge but very stylish and have Playstations and DVD players — with, of course, ABBA CDs to choose from. I’m sure there’s some similar places in London but I may make one up. I may also make up the restaurant as I’m quite keen to reproduce a scene in that from my previous screenplay which was rather satirical about celebrity chefs.
As luck would have it, there was a broken water main on Euston Road last night, causing traffic jams all the way down City Road. I was driving to City so I decided to take an alternative route back to the A40 Westway which is similar to the route that my characters are likely to take. I turned down Goswell Road, then down Clerkenwell High Street and carried on the road (whatever it’s then called) to end up at Holborn. I could have gone round the back roads of Fitzrovia and Marylebone but I stayed on the routes I knew so ended up going down Shaftesbury Avenue, skirting Piccadilly Circus, down through St. James’ and along Piccadilly to Hyde Park Corner and then up Park Lane to Edgware Road. I think James and Kim might, for the sake of the readers’ interest in setting, hit the river at some point. I’ll maybe have them go to the Anchor on Bankside and then maybe into the Royal Festival Hall — maybe they could go up the Eye. Now that would afford me a lot of opportunity for the sort of descriptive setting that Emily was recommending to us last night.