Quotes From My Non-Bryant & May Books No. 7: ‘Disturbia’
When I wrote this I was fresh from delivering ‘Spanky’ and felt drained. I wanted to write a ‘sorbet’ book, something light and digestible, but ended up creating this complex race-against-time through the London night between the working class Vince and thuggish posh Sebastian. The book contains twelve puzzles to be solved in twelve hours, but there are puzzles within puzzles too. I quite like this one;
Chameleon, sculptor, toucan, dragon, furnace, chisel and microscope are all what?
One of the things that caught me entirely by surprise when I reread the book was that Bryant & May not only feature, but solve the mystery of ‘The Nun & Broken Compass’ (sort of), something repeatedly mentioned in the canonical series. The book’s great fun but I think I improved on it in the screenplay version, which no-one has ever seen. Looking back, the publisher’s idea to embrace the weirdly homoerotic cover of ‘Spanky’ again by having the hero half-dressed on the front was a mistake. This is from the final chapter.
‘London has changed. Now it is a city built on sand, shifting and eliding into a thousand different lifestyles – ghost images transmitted through the interference. Its residents are finally free to plot a course through the maze of glass and steel and flesh, to locate the co-ordinates of their dream lives and exist within them.
London is no longer a city of formalities. Its institutions are falling. its stock exchange no longer a closed shop, its companies no more tradition-bound, its employees loyal to none but themselves, its intentions no longer honourable. The agreements that existed within a handshake, like the silk top hats of the city, have vanished. The tailored suits were too restricting, too earthbound; flight requires freedom.’