Ian McEwan to script Pirates of the Caribbean 5.

‘I’ll be taking it in a slightly different direction,’ the Man Booker Prize winner said. ‘Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is now a neurosurgeon. The way I see it, he’s come to the realisation that Blackbeard (Ian McShane) is really just a symbol for everything that he has come to mistrust about himself. So he retrains and in an amazingly short time becomes one of the most eminent medical men of his generation. Along the way he meets Angelica (Penelope Cruz), one of the top five Leibnitz scholars in the world, and is seduced by her saucy manner and bounteous decolletage. They live in a nice part of the Caribbean, where there are Sunday papers and you can get really authentic focaccia.

‘But their clever, successful lives are about to be invaded by Blackbeard – now a brilliant but self-doubting composer – who is determined to make Jack understand that rationalism is simply camouflage, an elaborate set of defences against the inadmissible truth that the received idea of ‘identity’ is delusional, a way of consoling ourselves for some lost pre-lapsarian innocence. They discuss it over grappa and mineral water, and Blackbeard feels momentarily ill at ease. “But surely ontology and epistemology are entwined like the nerve fibres of the corpus collosum,”Jack muses drily.

‘Just at this climactic moment, Angelica arrives, to explain that Leibnitz had a somewhat tortured relationship with Spinoza, and never fully acknowledged the intellectual debt he owed to the older man. Blackbeard, suddenly struck by a fugitive fragment of memory, or perhaps desire, starts to explain that any attempt to equate morality with algebra, in the sense that Spinoza intended, can only be redundant, given what new neurological findings about consciousness tell us about personal identity and the nature of the ‘self’. He then, inexplicably, throws himself out of the window. A wry half smile flickers over Jack’s wise, successful face. He tenderly, almost hesitantly, makes love to Angelica; she weeps afterwards, and he tenderly explains to her again how clever he is.

‘Jack and Angelica know that nothing can ever be the same now, that some essential tenderness, or perhaps just the habitual recreation of  a shared deception that held them together, has been irrecoverably sundered. The focaccia has hardened, become brittle and dry. The Sunday papers have all been read. He shrugs, and tenderly makes love to Angelica again, while wondering why no one has congratulated him on anything recently. Then something or other explodes.

‘I thought a better title, actually, would be Eminent Neurosurgeons of the Caribbean, but Disney weren’t buying.’

Johnny Depp is reported to be ‘profoundly moved’ by this radical new vision for the franchise. ‘I feel Jack’s terrifying sense of contingency,’ he said, ‘and I’m just crazy for Leibnitz.’

Pirates of the Caribbean 5: The Search for A Quite Possibly Illusory Sense of Detachment begins shooting in May.

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Author condemns BBC documentary as ‘biased’.

 

Controversial author Simon Nolan (Whitehawk, Revenge Ink, £7.99) has made a scathing attack on a BBC documentary. The programme, aired after Christmas, was, he said, ‘a joke, completely biased, with no attempt to address the arguments from both sides.’

Summer Ends on Penguin Island, screened on 27 December, featured numerous sequences of penguins eating herring and mackerel. But, says Nolan, the programme crucially failed to indicate how the herring and mackerel felt about any of this.

‘It was just blatant triumphalist penguin propaganda. I mean, when is it the poor bloody mackerel’s turn? When do they get to be the hero? You know?’ he said.

A BBC spokeswoman said: ’I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Who did you say you were again?’

Reuters.

Author says pottery is ‘Not for him’.

Controversial author Simon Nolan (Whitehawk) has said he is ‘finished’ with pottery. In a wide ranging interview, he reveals that it had ‘never been more than bit of a whim, really.’

‘I only went about three times, ‘ he continued. ‘I thought it was all really boring and messy, to be honest. And the pots all looked a bit shit. I was quite keen at first but then, I don’t know, I just stopped going.’ When asked what kind of gap his abandonment of the artform would create in his life, he shrugged. ‘Barely measurable,’ he said. ‘Frankly, I couldn’t care less about it.’

Vince Quank, from the British Institute of Potters said it was ‘a shame’ that the artform was losing practitioners like this. ‘I suppose if everyone who liked pottery suddenly decided they didn’t like it anymore, then that could be a serious blow to the craft of pot throwing in this country. But just because one person decides he doesn’t like it after three goes, doesn’t really mean that much, in the wider sense. Many a dream has come to ruin at the wheel. We believe that pottery will continue to play a key role in the creative life of the nation.’

Julian Lovely, the Minister for Pottery and Tableware, issued a statement which outlined this administration’s vision for pottery over the next ten years. ‘This administration,’ it concludes, ‘has a vision for pottery over the next ten years.’

Reuters.

The Little Zombie Who Just Wanted To Dance.

‘Look we’ve been over and over this,’ said Mrs Tupelo. ‘You put your arms out like this, you lurch about and you go uuuurgh. OK? Got it?’

Maisie sat sullenly at the table, staring at the oozing slab of brain in front of her.

‘But…’

‘When did you ever see a zombie dancing?’ said Mrs. Tupelo. ‘Feeding on human flesh, OK. Going uuuurgh, fine, that’s traditional. It’s what we do in this family.’

‘But I don’t like human flesh.’ Maisie picked at the food. ‘It’s all gooey…’

‘Yes love, well that might just be because it’s brains mightn’t it… Look, just eat a little bit of it and you can have some of the other stuff, what was it again?’

‘Salad.’

‘Uuuuurgh,’ said Mr Tupelo abruptly, as a rat crawled out of an eye socket. (He was, largely, ignored.)

‘And what’s all this about dancing?’ Mrs Tupelo said as Maisie moved the brains around her plate.

‘I’ve told you. I want to join a contemporary dance troupe,’ Maisie said, quietly defiant.

‘Maisie, your father didn’t get a machete embedded in his skull just so you could go prancing round in a leotard.’

‘Uuurgh!’

‘You want to make us a laughing stock?’

‘I don’t care!’ Maisie cried out, tears stinging her eyes as blood spurted out of her ears. ‘I don’t want to lurch about going uuuurgh! It’s boring! I just want to dance!’

She ran from the room, slamming the door behind her.

‘Maisie. Maisie!’ Mrs Tupelo called after her. She turned to her husband. ’Graham. Can’t you talk to her?’

Graham looked at his wife. Her left arm fell off.

‘Uuuuuuurgh!’ he said.

Vampiryirya and the zombie horde

She shuddered to behold them. Her inky tresses shuddered as well.

‘Who,’ she intoned as she stared from her lofty pinnacle at the grounds below, ‘are these miserable creatures?’

‘They are undead, ma’am,’ said Tench her valet. ‘They are lost souls who have died but then returned. Their mission is to devour human flesh ma’am, if I understand the matter correctly.’

‘Well, I can’t say I particularly like the look of them,’ she said as the hobbled, lurching, decaying mob surrounded the mighty oaken front door and set up a monotonous but pulverisingly powerful battering. ‘See them off would you Tench?’

‘Ma’am.’

He worked his way down the endless stairs, floor after floor, until he reached the front hall. The pounding on the door was a slow, terrifying, earth-shaking thunder, as the foul creatures flung their rotten corpses against the door. As the ones at the front lost limbs, heads, even torsos, they were replaced by others who, gibbering and feeding on the ever-growing heap of human detritus, crawled over them to take up their positions, pounding and hammering. They gave vent to a wordless sound, part grunt part howl.

‘I say,’ said Tench through the letterbox. ‘I say, hello?’

The leader of the ghastly crowd bent down and surveyed him coolly from the other side of the letter box.

‘Uuuurgh.’

‘Yes, quite. Well I suppose I was just wondering, is there anything I can do for you at all?’

‘Uuuuuuurgh!’

‘Indeed. As you say. You see the thing is, sorry and all that, but my mistress isn’t at home just now. So sorry. Was there a message at all?’

The leader’s eye fell out, rolled through the letter box and landed, wetly, at Tench’s feet.

‘Yes. I see. Well thanks awfully for coming, and I’ll be sure to let my mistress know you came.’

The leader seemed at a loss for a moment. His ravaged, maggot-infested hand crept to his now empty eye socket. Then he turned to the mob behind him. He raised a bloodied stump of an arm.

‘Uuuurgh! Uuuuuuuuuuurgh!’

The mob fell silent for a moment. Then they tore him to pieces and started to feed. Tench wound his weary way back upstairs as the pounding started up again.

‘They seem to still be there, Tench,’ Vampiryirya said as he returned.

‘Ma’am. I did tell them you were not at home, but…’

Vampiryirya flung open the casement and threw scorn at the direful rabble.

‘You! You down there! Hear me! for I am Vampiryirya, Acting Queen of the Damned!’

Some heads twisted up to look (many of them, regrettably, fell off in the process). ‘I abjure you by all the powers of the dark, by the waters of sorrow and mystery, by the awful ecstasy of the Great Memnoch…’

The pounding showed no signs of abating: it seemed, in fact to be increasing in volume. The mob was growing with every minute, and the great door was starting to yield, inch by inch, as the pressure of the gruesome army increased.

‘I’m not sure you have their full attention, Ma’am,’ said Tench. ‘I wonder if they quite understand the meaning of “abjure”?’

‘Abjure? Well it means… you know, it means…’ She tossed her raven hair. ‘Oh sod it.’ She turned back to the casement where the grunts and howls of the horde below drifted up.

‘Look you lot. Just bugger off! OK?’

The mob gazed stupidly up at her.

‘Uuuurgh.’

‘Go on now. Shoo!’

‘Urgh.’

‘That’s it. For I am Vampiryirya, Ac…’

The mob stirred, seethed, grumbled. Then they turned and started to lurch away, leaving bits of themselves behind as they went.

‘Tench.’

‘Ma’am?’

‘Go down and clear up would you?’

‘Ma’am.’

‘Dirty little oiks. Oh, and Tench?’

‘Ma’am?’

‘Don’t get any of it on your shoes. Hmmm?’

‘Ma’am.’

‘For I, Vampiryirya, have only just had my carpets shampooed.’

‘As you say Ma’am.’

Vampiryirya, Acting Queen of the Damned. Chapter 2.

‘I, Vampiryirya, have come to collect my dry cleaning.’

‘Okie dokie then. Have you got your ticket poppet?’

‘Ticket? I have no ticket! I, Vampiryirya…’

‘No problem, I’ll just have a look on the computer. When did you bring it in?’

‘It was when the moon was at its apogee, when the owls filled the darkling vault of the sky, when the…’

‘Was it within the last fourteen days? Cos if it was longer than that it’ll have gone off the system. If it’s not collected within fourteen days it’ll have been put in the back.’

‘It was a day of tempest, a day of torment, a day of ecstasy…’

‘What, when we had that really heavy rain? That was, hold on, last time it really pissed down was Monday before last, I remember because I was booking my holiday on my lunch hour and all my brochures got soaked.’

‘Monday? All days are days of sorrow. For I am Vamp…’

‘So that’d be the 8th then. I’ll have a look for you. Could I just have that name again?’

‘My name is Va…’

‘Hold on, I have a Ms. V. Ampiryirya.’

‘Ms?’ She laughed scorn at the assistant, swirling her raven tresses, thick as blood, black as night. ‘Do you not see the bloodstone on my finger? I am the bride of darkness, the bethrothed of pain…’

‘Oh sorry, he must have taken it down wrong. So it says here it was three tartan wool skirts, and a floral duvet cover, yeah?’

‘You would mock me!’ Vampiryirya flashed her eyes, those pools of molten pitch, like the tarns at the gates of hell, like the pits of endless night that await the souls of those begotten in  damnation’s fire. ‘Tartan! Floral! I, Vampiryirya…’

‘Was that not it?’

‘My gowns are of midnight’s hue, my cloaks like the moonlit backs of ravens!’

‘Right. See, it would be so much easier if you’d kept your ticket. Cos what it says here is tartan skirts, three, and floral duvet cover, one. I can’t see any raven’s hue or, what was the other thing you said?’

‘Midnight! When the souls of the lost dance, when the antic musicke of longing creeps upon the tarry waters of the…’

‘Yup. No, sorry but it just isn’t in the system. You sure it wasn’t the tartan…?’

‘Be silent! Your chatter is distasteful to me!’ She turned, and addressed the queue that was building up behind her. ‘I am not mocked! Be warned! Cower before me! For I, Vampiryirya, will return!’

The girl behind the counter smiled and nodded.

‘With your ticket, yeah?’

Angry author: ‘I’m ready to sue.’

'Stunning new look.’

Controversial novelist Simon Nolan (Whitehawk) says he is ‘ready to take action’ over a publicity picture.

‘I’m quite angry about it,’ he said in a recent interview. When asked if he was ready to take action, he refused to rule it out. ‘I’m not ruling it out,’ he said. The picture will be used in a high profile media campaign to promote the novel, which is published on July 14. Industry insiders say the launch will go ahead, despite the furore over the picture.

Stephen Foy, from Outtasight Promotions, the agency who commissioned the portrait, said:

‘We stand by this picture, which we think is a strong and distinctive image. We wanted to give Nolan a stunning new look, redefine him, re-niche him for a whole new generation of consumers, and we think we’ve done exactly that. We’re very proud of the picture.’

Amita Mukerjee, socialite and publisher, was too drunk to comment, though she did issue the following statement:

‘I’m too drunk to comment.’

Associated Press.