Steve Coogan has just described the position of the film of Murder in Samarkand as “Stuck in development hell”.
Actually it is probably worse than that. Meantime, with no income from the putative film and my discovering just how near impossible it is to publish a book yourself and get bookshops to take it, my lack of funds is becoming positively terrifying, with a new baby due to arrive shortly. Do you know those moments when you feel like a checkmated king, with nothing to do but fall over?
Anyway, I shall boost my almost vanished store of feelings of self-worth by exhibiting some erudition you probably don’t know. Checkmate has nothing to do with the board being chequered, unless the word chequered comes from the game. Chess originated in Central Asia. Russian for chess is “Shakhmati” (normally in Cyrillic) which is perfectly straightforward everyday Uzbek meaning “The King is stuck”. Shakh of course being the same word as sheikh in other Muslim cultures.
So now I feel poorer than you yet in an obscure way slightly superior. But sadly still checkmated.