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Whenever someone is missing from work for four whole days it is customary to give an explanation, such as that one had flu, or the dog ate one’s car, or that one was abducted by aliens.

If you abandon your internet friends for the same length of time than the same politeness should surely apply, so I feel that I owe you all an excuse for Monday to Thursday’s absenteeism. This excuse consists of two words, which for once are not Bone Idleness.

The words are “strumpet” and “city”.

I mentioned recently that some of us from my Writers Group have agreed to try to adapt the book Strumpet City for the stage. I also mentioned that I have never read the book, and felt that this might be an obstacle.

It turned out to be a very serious obstacle, because the tried and trusted method used by people on the way to a Book Club meeting – reading a summary of the story on Wikipedia – does not work here. Wikipedia’s entry for Strumpet City is one of its shortest about anything, ever. To pick something at random, the submarine from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea gets a longer entry.

Basically Wikipedia tells us that the book was written by James Plunkett and was made into a TV series by RTE. There is a link to a piece about the TV series, which tells us that it was based on a book written by James Plunkett.

It is Google’s equivalent of a piece of paper which has P.T.O. written on both sides.

There was only one other solution. I had to read the book, which seems to be more that Mr Wikipedia was able to bring himself to do.

Now, finer minds than mine have described this book as a classic, so I have no doubt that it is my own shallowness, and the fact that my own writing style tends to be crappy happy-clappy clap-trap (and that I am unashamed of having just used that phrase) rather than the gritty realism of this book, which have caused me to struggle. After three weeks I had read just 200 pages, so I steeled myself and stopped bringing my netbook on the bus, where I usually do my writing. With no way of writing and only Strumpet City to read, there could only be one outcome. Well, now that it’s too dark to stare out of the bus window, anyway.

So I have finished. One of the girls in the group said that when she had cried when she finished the book back in the 1980s. I know how she feels.

And ok, I did get more interested towards the end, and I am glad that I read it, if only so that I can warn others not to.

Now we have to turn it into something stageable, either by using a serious of extracts, or letting a narrator tell most of the story, or by getting a cast of about 12 members to play about 40 characters plus the angry mobs that turn up in quite a number of the scenes.

It’s going to be interesting.

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