Games Over


On the day that London was awarded the Olympic Games, back in July 2005, the whole city – the city I live in – rejoiced. It seemed right, for a place soon to overtake New York as the financial centre of the World, a metropolis that was changing and evolving for the better, it felt like it was indeed our time.

Added to which, we beat Paris to it, and us Brits love sticking two fingers up at the French.

That joy and optimism was then shattered the very next day when suicide bombers attacked. I was working outdoors in central, and remember the fire engines screaming down Park Lane, urging the traffic to move with a tone that suggested something very wrong. From that day onwards, one couldn’t help but feel that maybe these Games were cursed. Over the next few years, as the plans unfolded, and bills for security and infrastructure augmented, so did the bad sentiment. In an era when bankers’ bonuses could buy a small football club, why should we, the general public, your average worker, fork out yet more tax to fund such an ostentatious extravaganza?

And then came the recession. Recent Olympics had become modern equivalents of Roman gladiatorial tournaments, each new Emperor trying to out-do the last one with a glorious spectacle of blood and sweat, each new stadium a bigger and better Colosseum. Sydney set the bar; Athens followed suit; Beijing went one better. But such spectacle comes at a huge cost, a cost that is not guaranteed to be repaid, as Greece discovered.

Times had changed. Was the massive investment really worth it for a bit of fun ‘n’ games that only lasts a fortnight? The same amount spent on schools and hospitals would have a far deeper impact. Ministers spoke of legacy, and ‘inspiring a generation’, saying that a Great Games for Great Britain would get more of us off our daytime-television-watching arses and down to our local sports centres; but doubters were wary of the ‘Wimbledon Effect’ – the period after the tennis when sales of rackets soar, rapidly declining to previous levels when people realise it’s hard work. Or it’s expensive. Or it rains a lot.

Years of non-stop ‘improvements’ to the road and rail networks acted as a constant (and irritating) reminder to the populous that London was preparing for the Games, brushing itself up before the World’s spotlight bore down on us, a critical appraisal that we couldn’t afford to mess up. Success could mean increased tourist revenue, a rise in stockmarkets, and a slightly smug national glow. Failure could spell disaster.

Fast People

But with major constructions habitually taking longer and costing more than proposed, and the sweltering Tube network treating us to signal failures on a daily basis, a monumental cock-up seemed the more likely outcome. Combine that with the threat of terrorism, and you could excuse us for being pessimistic. Of course, most of us wanted the Games to go well, but in the back of our minds we were thinking that was about as plausible as two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine.

The big day approached. The anticipated cock-up seemed to be splendidly on track: the Tube still had regular delays, the security company couldn’t find enough employees, and trying to get tickets online was like arguing with a drunk. Furthermore, as if those in proximity to the stadium weren’t disgruntled enough, it was deemed necessary to place ground-to-air missiles on top of residents’ houses. Great for starting a conversation at a barbecue, I thought, but not everyone shared my view.

Then it arrived. For the first time in British history, more people stayed in on a Friday night than went out to get smashed, as the nation tuned in to the Opening Ceremony. We were never going to beat China at the whole coordinated kung fu drumming thing, so I think we did well to stay clear of that, and gave the World our greatest exports – quirky humour and timeless music (and, er, free healthcare).

What followed was fifteen days of flag-waving fervour like never before, as the gold medals we were promised by Barmy Boris (‘enough to bail out Greece and Spain’) rolled in with certainly more reliability than our trains, and the country’s productivity fell by 90% as we tuned in every half-hour for yet another moment of glory. Our final medals tally looked like a basketball score (ironically the one sport we’re still shit at), and Britain was once again Great.

But what now? Once the jingoistic cheers have died down and normal service is resumed, will it all have been worth it? Will there be a surge in people taking up dressage, canoeing and archery? Will Team GB (or Team UK, as it should really be) claim even more medals in Rio? Or will we have a brief badminton swat, fall off a bike, and decide staying in to watch X Factor is an all-round better option?

Financially, the figures probably don’t add up. But there are the things that money can’t buy, like the feeling that we – as a nation or as individuals – can achieve anything if we put our minds to it; the knowledge that normal blokes with sideburns can be World-beaters; and that swimmer Chad le Clos’s over-excited Dad perhaps did more for the UK’s reputation than anyone else.

Canoe Slalom – Like bathtime but with points

The notion was also proposed that money isn’t everything. In a country where the Youth are fed fanciful hopes of fame, where a good education is secondary to chasing dreams of being the Next Big Thing, there’s optimism that the younger generation will trade their false idols for genuine ones. Overpaid, under-performing footballers might be swapped for athletes who scrape a living but get it right on the night; surgically ‘enhanced’ celebrities with no discernible talent may give way to hard-grafters who nurture theirs. According to Nicola Adams’ trainer, she would’ve been a feral miscreant without her sport; now she’s the first female boxing champion. After watching the Beijing games, Jade Jones took up Taekwondo aged 15; four years later, she may not have a mansion in the countryside but she has something most 19-year-olds don’t – an Olympic Gold. At that age, I felt I deserved an award for walking the dog.

How many teenagers it has inspired, I’ve no idea, but it’s certainly got my blood pumping, like when my Gym Playlist blasts out ‘Eye of the Tiger’. I’m not getting any younger, and by the time the next Games comes around I’ll be bordering on ‘past it’. I always thought there must be one Olympic sport I could succeed at, the question is, which one? Canoe slalom, taekwondo, 50m rifle…? Hell, I’ll try them all. As soon as it stops raining…


CC Theresa May Day


Theresa May

It’s May Day (happy Beltane to any Pagans out there), and in light of Government proposals tosnoop on all of our emails, texts, love-letters and whatever else they fancy, what better way to celebrate the day (other than getting shitfaced and dancing round a Maypole) than by copying all our emails to Theresa May.

It’s simple. Every email you send today, you also CC to all these addresses:,,,,,,

Easy. See the facebook page for more info:

Stuck for something to write? Here’s a sample email that I sent to a good friend earlier —


Let’s do lunch sometime this week. Although not today because I’m meeting Sophie for casual sex while her boss is away, and not Thursday ’cause I’m getting my clunge cleaned (there’s this Fabulous holistic place in Ladbroke Grove I go to). Maybe Friday? We can make an afternoon of it, POETS day and all that, and discuss our plans for a Revolution. Which I will henceforth call ‘Wank’ so we don’t arouse suspicion.
It’s about time this country had a major wank and ousted these fuckwits in charge of this country – if that’s the right phrase – but I get the impression we’re too scared to wank. Terribly un-British and all that. What’s wrong with us?? The last major wank we had was 400 years ago, and god knows we’ve desperately needed a few wanks since then (with the exception of Churchill, that’s one man nobody would wank over). We could start a Facebook page and get some of the youth interested in wanking, although I fear they’ll be too stoned to wank. Or too busy watching Jeremy Kyle. Or just in bed wanking! What’s more productive, a wank, or a good ol’ wank?! People today have got their priorities all wrong, I tell you. They’re all fine with quietly wanking in their own homes, or with their next-door neighbour over the fence, but rarely have a proper, rambunctious wank in public! What’s wrong with these people?!
Anyway, I’ll stop writing now in case I arouse any further suspicion.
Let’s go to that Italian place, they do a fantastic chocolate bombe.

The Dune


I’ve been reading a bit of Jack Kerouac (Big Sur) and before that Bukowski, and I’ve not read any of that sort of thing before – the beatniks – and while I’m normally a stickler for good punctuation etc I also quite like their laissez-faire stream-of-consciousness style which rather appeals to me cos sometimes i find writing blogs etc hard (like the Bleeding Cool one) which seem like a lot of effort – coming up with a grabbing start, then blah blah blah and wrapping it up nicely – it can be a bit of a drain. And people expect you to be oh-so-funny and write things elegantly because you’re a writer, so i’m going to defy them, yes, and do it Jack’s way, and tell you about something I did in Rainbow Beach.
That place – Rainbow beach – is so named because it has all different colours of sand, so i was told, and on my last day there – the day after some old tramp pissed the mattress above and i wanted to kill everyone in my room, except the for the 2 nice german girls, okay i wanted to kill 3 people in my room including the mancunian with a claw for a hand, i pity her but she woke up at 6am and turned the lights on, the bitch – on my last day, being a sunday which is a nice day for a walk (better than church) i strolled down this variegated beach (that’s a word i learnt in biology, meaning colourful, something i learnt when i wasn’t feeling up Jane’s thigh) – oh but just before that i saw some kids sliding down a wet plastic slope they’d constructed on an airbed, which i video’d cos there was bound to be hilarity or injury (sorta go hand in hand) and You’ve been framed apparently pay lots of money for clips, but nobody got injured in fact they flew over a bin which was pretty cool, and ten they all laid down after the jump and another guy cleared them, no broken limbs or anything. so after that i hit the beach and took my trainers off – trainers being preferable for long walks but i didn’t know most of it would be on this beach. So i’m walking along, the sea is swooosh sploshing on the sand, and the beach stretches for miles up ahead, bending round to the left (which would be east cos i’m walking south), bordered by big dunes of this rainbow sand, which start like 10 metres high and get cliff-like later on. I mosey along, carefree (i could’ve been in an advert rollerblading in my hot pants to advertise pantyliners) and these sand-cliffs are various colours and shades, but it’s not like Willy Wonka or somesuch, it’s not really rainbow at all, a lot of it’s black or grey or even shades of brown, like trendy browns you get in coffee shops, all ‘mocha’ and ‘espresso beige’ and such. Not the millions of colours i’d expected (no blue for starters. why does blue occur so much in nature but you don’t get many natural blue colours. blue chilis or blue rock), but it was weird that there were separate sections, like brown here, yellow there, brick-red next, then back to mocha. I carried on for a while, took some photos, like the ones with the speed sign (you can drive along the beach, and several wildlife safari buses and 4x4s pass me), and all the while i’m wondering if there are exits anywhere, like steps going to some road above? I’m also thinking it’s taken me a good half hour to get this far and they play football outside the hostel at half four, so i’m wondering if i can get back for that. I see a couple (it was quite funny, a big 4×4 bus thing zoomed past him without honking its horn or anything and he jumped like he’d been punched, and looked really upset, and the women then held his arm for a while as another one passed, i thought What a pansy), so i was gonna ask them if they knew of a way out but i thought i’d go a bit further. I did, and reckon i’d have to turn around soon if i wanted to play some footy. But why go back the same way? I wanted a way out, thinking maybe there’s a road at the top of these dunes (which like i said were more like cliffs of sand but less vertical) and started looking up to see if one section was scalable. But a lot seemed to have these sandy tree-y overhangs which would be hard to get over, but then i saw one which looked promising, so i started up. My shoes were in my bag cos i hate sandy shoes, and besides it feels so much better on your bare feet, and after about 10 metres, maybe 15, i was gasping. real heavy lung fillers, it’s proper hard work. i paused and then went a bit further, thinking ‘why did i begin this?’ but obviously not copping out now, cos i’m me, so i carry on. up ahead are some firmer looking bits of sand (this stuff i’m on now is deep stuff), so i push on up to that, with the odd pause for my lungs’ sake. I reach a spot maybe 30/40m up? and turn around, looking down as the couple from earlier pass (i overtook them) and she looks up, and she’s probably saying to the guy ‘ I wonder where he’s going’ and i’m thinking the same thing myself. I turn around and next there’s the firmer sand, but it’s not as great as it seems, it’s Too firm and i just slip on it, trails almost like little rivers of sand slithering down the cliff. I head kinda sideways and there are more overhangs here, well no like bits jutting out, some with small trees or bushes in holding them together. i find a stick and use that as a walking pole, planting it firmly and pushing on, i feel like Gandalf, purposefully plunging that silvery stick in the ground, i get round this protrusion and scramble up the slope, chucking the stick upwards and going on all 4s like a dog digging a hole, but just about moving forward with each dig, and eventually reach the next ledge, clutching onto roots etc. There are also formations of black sand, which look like rock, like monument valley in fact, little towers of sand, and i grab a couple and they tumble away like towers from a not very well built empire.


I look up and there’s a few more hunks of sand, then bush. I have my doubts, really don’t think i’ll get to the top, or if i even want to, except i Do need to cos this is now my goal. Football isn’t going to happen unless i managed to fly back to base (unlikely) and i can’t quit now, so this is my quest for the day. and it’s good exercise too since i’m sweating and gasping. i reach the end of a narrow tongue of sand flicking up into the bush, and then stop, well no i hesitated a bit before that cos there are holes in the sand, little holes and bigger holes, i don’t know if these are crabs (this high up?) or cute little bush-rodents, or deadly snakes. Or trapdoor spiders that will pounce on my ankle. I pause for about 10 minutes, wondering if there’s any point going further and thinking if i put my trainers on to get through the bush to another bit of sand i can see, will it be worth it (have to rub all the sand off my feet etc), and almost quit there, then i think well i’ve come all this way, and Bear Grylls would just stomp through that bush, it’s only a few metres. (Before Fraser Island i was wary of even walking across a grassy park barefoot, god knows what’s in the grass – giant ants with fangs that would strike bone!, but on fraser we had to shit in the bushes and we’d go traipsing off with a small shovel and wonder what was near our feet (and one time i walked straight into a giant spiderweb, urrrghing and rubbing my hair, seeing two big arachnids just inches away, but i’m later told the ones with big webs don’t have venom because they don’t need it, they have big webs), and on fraser i just didn’t care so much any more. Sure i wouldn’t lie down and roll around in the bush, but i didn’t worry nearly as much) So finally i got some balls and went through the bush, in trainers, and scrabbled across more death-slide-sand, at one point going one metre up and sliding about 5, thinking i’d just keep going and tumble to my death or something. god knows how but i clawed my way up that bit (threw the gandalf staff ahead again) and my fingers were sore from the champagne pools on fraser which cut them up real nice so i had to grin and bear that. I came to more bush, and again hesitated, thinking is it worth it? It looks like solid bush beyond, what’s the point? Go back down and go catch some footy. But i was all of 5 or so metres from the lip, and also i was curious. was there a road there? How much bush before a way back to camp? I wanted, need to know. So i went. Grabbed roots and branches and breached the summit and saw… more bush. What a pisser. It’s not so dense that i need a machete, but it is enough that i can’t see more than 50 m perhaps, so i’ve no idea if there’s a road further on, whether it goes for 100m or 100km. So since i’m not going to traipse thru 100km of rainforest (not actually rainforest, ok forest then) i think there’s nothing else for it but to turn around and go down. Which i do, and just over the top i catch my foot in between some roots and twist it a little, not badly or anything but for a moment i wonder What if? What if i’d broken my ankle there? I’d have to hop down on one foot and thumb a lift on the beach. Doesn’t happen though, and in about 5 minutes, no maybe not even that, 3 perhaps, i’ve shuffled over the sand, slid down on my bum a bit, then bounced like a wallaby down the final deep bit and onto the beach. Which was a lot of fun but not really worth the climb just for that.
I go back down the beach, it’s busier now that the tide’s gone out, and after a mile or two ascend the slope up to town, noticing that my calfs ache a bit. I pass the footballers, and count the numbers – it’s a nice even 6 a side, so i don’t bother them, and instead jump in the pool to wash off the sand and sweat.


Sydney, Baby!

So it’s Haere Re, Aotearoa, and G’day Australia, as my brother trades me in for his girlfriend and I scoot off across the Tasman Sea, thankfully a few days before the Qantas staff decide they don’t fancy working any more. From a country where the only harmful creatures are a pre-menstrual goat or an over-excited All Blacks fan, to a land where even the rain is venomous and has been known to kill a malnourished child.

It’s a strange feeling landing in Sydney, where I lived for nearly 12 months about, ooh, 8 years back. Dragging my bags through Central Station is like alighting at Charing Cross – I know the procedure, know where to go, which exit to take, and soon I’m at my hostel, my pale skin and glistening brow the only signs that I’m a tourist.

That evening I go for a stroll (once it’s cooled down a bit: my mind might have adjusted to Oz but my body’s still accustomed to NZ), and it’s like Dorothy going back to, er, Oz. I remember all the street names, where the shops are; I approach a corner and think ‘Oh yeah there was a nice coffee shop just round there’ and sure enough it’s still there; I saunter through Hyde Park and memories, people, conversations come back to me in whispers that make me smile.

It feels like a second home. I suppose it should be a third home, since I spent my Uni years (‘The Unfinished Years’) in Nottingham, but whereas that city has changed greatly since I was there – trams, solar-powered parking meters and other new-fangled technology! – Sydney hasn’t changed much, as far as I can tell.

There’s something about this city. I’m a different person here. I’m not sure if it’s the place itself, or that transformation people undergo when on holiday, where they lose their inhibitions. Chances are if I spent a few months in Vancouver or Salzburg it’d have the same liberating effect. It’s definitely not the weather since it’s chilly and drizzly at the moment – standard British fare which could make the staunchest of ex-pats homesick.

Nope. There’s something about being away, about the mind being in another place, separated from the Norm, that changes its state. I find I do a lot of my writing, or at least come up with ideas and solutions, when i’m away. Even if it’s on the train between cities, or at my Dad’s staring out at the English Channel, my brain thinks ‘You’re not in Kansas any more’ and flicks the inhibitor switch, releasing creativity and extroversion.

In the 2 weeks I’ve been in Sydney, I’ve been for 3 jogs, written 2 short films, and chatted up 1 woman in the supermarket. To put those into context, I’ve not been for a jog outside of a gym for at least 3 years, written less than that in as many months, and never done the latter!

Let’s see if this behaviour continues as I cruise up the coast. Let’s hope so.

Reading in the Botanical Gardens

Kim Kardashian: The Truth!


I don’t really follow celebrity news, since it seems to me that, as a general rule, popularity is directly proportional to lack of talent.

And as far as I can tell, Kim Kardashian is up there – or down there – with Her Royal Lowness Paris Hilton in the list of nominations for Leading a Life With Little or No Obvious Talent or Purpose.

Usually I would’ve heard about her divorce a week after everyone else and offered an indifferent shrug. But I heard it on the breakfast news in Sydney while most of the western world were asleep (I’ve never been ahead of gossip, so this is a world-first for me), and couldn’t help but feel a range of emotions.

Mainly: What a fucking twat.

The reason she gave for her splitting up with Kris Humphries (what’s with all the K’s?) after only 10 weeks of marriage was ‘Irreconcilable Differences’. I can’t for the life of me imagine how a couple could appear so happily in love, make those solemn vows, and then over the stretch of 70 days discover that they have conflicts of interest, differences of opinion, that are so distressingly agonising that they can’t possibly work them out, and then decide that the best option is to break up.

You consider that at least a week – 10% – of that period was spent boffing in luxuriousness on an Italian honeymoon, that leaves 8 or 9 weeks to get on each other’s nerves so much that not even the $18m they got for their nuptials could make the future together seem tolerable.

This reeks of bullshit more than the Captain of the Rena saying “Oh yeah I was paying attention”.

What could there possibly be to argue about in those first few weeks of marriage? Which position to fuck in? Seriously, I’m out of suggestions. I can understand maybe divorcing after 10 years, but 10 weeks??

Her excuse is a deliberately vague one, one that suggests troubles but doesn’t go into detail. A politician would be proud of that vagueness. Let’s apply her excuse to other prematurely-ended relationship scenarios and see what such a proclamation might mean:

“My new puppy and I parted after Irreconcilable Differences” – It shat on the suede futon so I had it put down.
“Yeah the new girlfriend had to go, Irreconcilable Differences” – She was frigid/her clunge smelt funny.
“I sent my new tablet back cos of Irreconcilable Differences” – It was an iPad.

Considering all of the above, and doing some clever interpolative analysis in the vast quantum calculator that is my brain, I have produced the following translation of Kim’s explanation:

“Kris and I have decided to divorce after Irreconcilable Differences” – I’m a money-grabbing piece-of-shit morally-void pointless fuckbag

Ah. Plausible.

Now, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of marriage. I’m not entirely great at relationships, the closest I’ve ever come to a soul-mate being an Airedale Terrier. I think marriage is a rather out-dated institution, that promising yourself to one single other person for the rest of your life is a bit weird because, yes, people do change after time, leading to differences.

But not over the course of 70 days, Kim.

I could understand if her and Kris were both actors, spending 12 hours a day together for 3 months, intensely pouring out some badly-written, badly-acted lines whilst staring into each other’s eyes. It’s this on-set chemistry that is mistaken for real feelings, and why actors tend to get hitched after 10 days of meeting. (See Jennifer Lopez. Although how she mistook her acting for genuine emotion I can’t imagine.)

But no, you’re not an actor, Kim, although you did a pretty good job of convincing the world that you were genuinely in love with Mr Humphries. Perhaps you should receive an Oscar for that performance. Preferably delivered by an industrial nail-gun, straight into your over-made-up face.

You may have noticed, Kim, that I dislike you. I know you’re not too bright, but I’m confident you will have picked up on that. I dislike you partly because you’re talentless. I dislike you partly because you’ve made a mockery of marriage and set a bad example to millions around the globe, partly because you’re a greedy bitch, and partly because you have a face like an Arabian mare.

But mostly, I dislike you because you’re a dick.

Why’s the Victoria Line so hot?

If you’re a Londoner, you may have noticed that the Victoria Line Tube has introduced new carriages recently. And if you’re a grumpy old git like me, then you might’ve thought:

How come the brand spanking new trains are so much hotter than the old ones? How come travel fares go up way beyond inflation yet the standards have regressed? How is that progress?! ANOTHER TYPICAL BRITISH COCK-UP!!‘ then muttered to yourself about how the country’s declined since ‘my day’ and something about how teenagers are to blame…

Well, I posed this question – not quite in the same words – to TFL, and they gave me this more-in-depth-than-expected response:

“Dear Mr Franklin,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the heat on the new Victoria line trains. I’m sorry if you have found them to be too hot, and as a regular Victoria line user myself I can understand your frustration.

The heat comes from the air in the tunnels, and after a train has been in service for an extended period of time this can cause the carriages to become hot. As the entirety of the Victoria line is underground, ventilated air is normally hot air circulating in the tunnels, as the Victoria line does not have any open sections like the other lines to cool trains down.

Fitting air conditioning to trains for the deep Tube lines is a particular challenge, partly because of lack of space on the trains, but more importantly, because conventional air conditioning systems, like those used in cars, buildings and many trains, would cause even more heat to be created in the very small tunnels, compounding the problem, rather than curing it.

Tackling heat on the Tube is one of the biggest challenges facing London Underground. We are currently doubling the capacity of all the main ventilation fans serving the Victoria line, in readiness for increases in the speed and frequency of train services. We will then install cooling systems above the platforms at four of the busiest stations on the Victoria line, to feed cool air into the tunnels.

On the new trains, there is a regenerative braking system, which means that energy created when the brakes are used is turned into electricity that will go back into the line, thus saving energy.  However, we could not switch on this system until all the old trains, which do not have this system, had been replaced which has only happened in the past couple of weeks. Consequently the energy generated by the brakes on the new trains is being turned into heat which goes into the ventilation system.  Now that the old trains have been removed, we have turned on part of this braking system with it being fully utilised by next spring.

Once again I’m sorry if you find the Victoria line to be too hot, however I hope that you can understand the challenges we face to overcome this issue. Please contact me again if you need any help in the future.

Kind regards…”

I have to say, I was almost impressed.

Bleeding Cool!

I was fortunate enough to meet Rich Johnston a week or two ago, the man behind the comic and film site, and I’m proud to announce that as of this Friday he’s going to be running a regular-ish column by myself, kissing and telling (mostly telling, really) all about my work as an Extra in films and TV.

Expect gossip.

Expect glam.

Expect drama.

Expect ranting.

Expect arrows.

Expect you’ll enjoy it.

Part 1 goes into gory detail of last year’s ‘Robin Hood’. Warts, wenches ‘n’ all.

That’s this Friday 19th, at

Be ye there or be ye a rectangular shape.

Hello in Briefs

Good day, and welcome to the blog/rant/writing/stuff site of Paul W Franklin.

Every serious writer is supposed to have one, and since I generally refuse to be suckered into trends (ever seen me in skinny jeans? No.)  it’s no wonder I’m 3 years tardy.

Anyway , my focus here is twofold: To post some of my opinions, thoughts, rants etc, and to showcase some of my writing – be it screenplays, sketches, whatever.

No! The reasons are threefold! There are three reasons! (Never try to imitate Monty Python. Like John Hannah in ‘Sliding Doors’, you’ll just look like a twat.) What really kicked my arse into gear setting this site up is that I’m going to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand! So I plan to recount the atmosphere, games, travel etc for the rugger fans amongst you to follow.

Right up to the Final. Oh yes.

I’m new to this whole blogging/tweet/feed thing, so forgive me if it all seems a bit amateur. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

And money. Shit this good shouldn’t come free.