Bizarre plotlines that are all too real

I find it an increasing disorientating experience these days when I emerge from a few days down the word mines.

Every time I unearth a rich vein of dramatic action the real world is busily thwarting anything I could invent.

The challenge of writing a novel right up against a contemporary event is the time lag from manuscript to bookshop.

It is at least a year.

Consequently, your creation is a hostage to events dear boy.

Of course, in the digital age, twelve months can be an epoch rather than simply another year.

It certainly feels that way.

When I started the original idea for The Squad in 2006/2007 I invented a black President of the United States.

However, I could never have imagined someone like Donald Trump in the White House.

In the summer of 2016 when I was working to turn a screenplay into a novel I certainly never saw Brexit coming down the tracks.

Now I have to contend with the possibility of once more living alongside a hard border.

On the bright side, the ex-Mayor of London now wants to build a big bridge from Blighty to Narne Arne.

Cheers Boris!

In The Squad [wee spoiler] there is a foreign intelligence agency actively working to undermine An Garda Síochána.

I tried at hard at making that plotline believable.

However, I reckon if I had submitted a manuscript that had the MI5 Liaison Officer of the PSNI becoming Garda Commissioner then my editor would have found it utterly risible.

Yet Drew Harris is now that guy.

While I was inventing highly charged scenarios last week the world-class chaps at Hampden easily outdid anything I could come up with.

The Aberdeen fans, in particular, have been treated with contempt by the SPFL grandees.

If you have read The Squad [relax no major spoilers] then you will know that the climax features a major sporting event at a large stadium.

However, Semi-Final Sunday as planned by the SPFL is beyond parody.

You may recall that it was Mr Doncaster who famously observed in the summer of 2012 that there was “no mechanism for what we are attempting”.

For the avoidance of doubt, he was referring to his failed attempts to parachute Sevco into the top flight.

Mr Doncaster, who was the then CEO of the Scottish Premier League, was working closely with his colleagues in the SFA on that one.

Of course, that is the same SFA that can train and nurture a world-class officiating talent who didn’t give a foul for this yesterday!

Oh dear…

There seems to me that there are common themes on Planet Fitba and the Brexit shambles engulfing the British state:

A toxic mixture of hubris, incompetence and misplaced exceptionalism.

I cannot see any of this ending well either at Hampden or Westminster.

Indeed, it all seems like an entirely fanciful plot for a novel.

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion