In Development Hell 30

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.

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30 thoughts on “In Development Hell

  • MerkinOnParis

    My opening gambit?

    An Englishman’s second home is a Castle in Redditch.

    Her first ‘home’ was a financial sacrifice – by the nation, that is.

    As I write this, I am sitting with a large whisky playing chess with a coupla pals in Poland and one in Brazil.

  • OrwellianUK

    You need to get a paid lecture circuit and/or a column writing job Craig.

    Have you got any favours you can call in?

  • OrwellianUK

    You need to get a paid lecture circuit and/or a column writing job Craig.

    Have you got any favours you can call in?

  • OrwellianUK

    You need to get a paid lecture circuit and/or a column writing job Craig.

    Have you got any favours you can call in?

  • Tom Kennedy

    Don’t worry Craig. You’re a knight, not a king. Knights can leap obstacles like no other piece on the board, as you well know.

  • writerman

    Money, money, money! I’ve always found that the stuff just turns up from somewhere when one needs it, for example, an inheiritance, like in Dickens. Unfortunately, it’s usually easy come and easy go for me. Which I suppose is how it should be.

    On a lighter note!

    Lt.Gen. Frank Helmick, who is the American general in charge of training Iraqi’s security forces, recently announced that the Iraqis are seeking “a long-term strategic relationship with the United States.” What this means is that tens of thousands of US troops will remain in Iraq, on top of the oil-fields, for ever, or at least for as long as there is any oil in Iraq. The US Army, needs Iraq’s oil if its to maintain its position as the world’s greatest military power. After all, Obama ‘promissed’ to end the war, he didn’t say anything about the occupation, sorry, “strategic partnershiip”!

  • Sabretache

    I posted to the ‘Apologies for absence’ thread yesterday morning. It still is not showing (maybe because it treated me as a new poster because of a few included links). So here is the bones of it again with just the one link.

    An Israeli-hosted site began posting pictures and descriptions of senior Israeli politicians and military figures in late January under the banner ‘Wanted for War Crimes’. The site was hosted by an Israeli domain and as soon as a saw it I thought ‘That won’t last long’. Sure enough it hasn’t.

    Anyway I mirrored it before it disappeared and have started to post its content on Blogger here:

    It’ll be interesting to see how long it is tolerated by Google?

  • ingo

    Just to cheer you up. Norwich City’s new forum library has ordered your book and it already has two reservations. Enjoy the weekend rummaging in boxes.


  • craig


    That only cheers me up a tiny bit, because almost certainly they have ordered the proposed Mainstream edition of the book which Mainstream dropped in face of Spicer’s threats. There is no easy way to get through to libraries that Mainstream are not going to publish and they have to order from Atholl.

    Exactly the same is true of Waterstones and Borders branches. While Waterstones have accepted Atholl as a supplier, only 11 Waterstones branches have ordered the book in (average 1.6 books per shop), even though almost all three hundred Waterstones had ordered the cancelled Mainstream edition. Borders will not accept the book from Atholl at all, and Borders branches remain under the flase impression they will receive it from Mainstream. Most libraries are in the same position.

  • Rowdy

    Hello Craig

    I am really enjoying the Catholic Orangemen and look forward to reading your other books.

    My preferred mode of reading is on a handheld PDA device and I wonder if you have considered making your books available in eBook form. Preferably an open, universal and non-DRM’d format so that the book is not tied to any specific device.

    An author should be paid for his work and a suggested price might be akin to the amount of profit you receive from each sale of a paper book.

    While I appreciate that non-DRM leaves you open to the risk of piracy, nonetheless I believe that the sort of reader that your work attracts would not actively look to deprive you of your fee so the risk of loss to you may be small and perhaps compensated by a greater market than would otherwise be available to you.

    Do you have any thoughts on this?

    I still want to pay you for the Catholic Orangemen pdf download.

    Maybe you could put a PayPal Donate button on your site?

  • MJ

    Russian for chess is “Shakhmati”… which is perfectly straightforward everyday Uzbek meaning “The King is stuck”…So now I feel poorer than you yet in an obscure way slightly superior”.

    What? Everyone knows that.

    Sounds like you need a cheque mate. I agree with Rowdy that a PayPal link would be a good idea. Certainly wouldn’t do any harm.

  • craig


    I am quite happy for it to be free online – especially as it’s about Africa so has a potential audience without much cash. I would have no problem with it being put into a format that downloads easily to a reader, but my technical abilities are limited.

  • mary

    Do not be proud Craig. You are held in high regard by many of us. Put a donation link on immediatement. Those Pampers/Huggies cost megabucks.

  • craig

    MJ –

    are you kidding, or did you really know the linguistic base of checkmate? I thought that was pretty obscure!

  • Barrie


    Ideas – Can you get on George Galloway’s Talksport show to plug your book as you did for Samarkand? The publicity worked last time round in persuading me to buy your book! Otherwise for income, have you considered doing newspaper review slots on BBC News 24 or even Sky News – they pay around £100- £150 a shot. Or the panel on the Wright Stuff on C5 for good exposure. Have you got anyone putting you up for these kind of PR opportunities? I’m sure you’d make an excellent radio host on LBC or Talksport – have you any inclination there? Also, international radio shows like the Alex Jones show, which I think you’ve been on before, would push up sales. Good luck.

  • frog2


    I missed it if you posted a snailmail address for those prefering to pay by cheque .

    Do you have a “safe house” for that ?

  • emma b

    congratulations on your baby bump! if you all need a holiday, you are welcome to stay at our place in somerset anytime. if baby is of the pink variety i have a few bits and bobs i can pass on to you also. kind regards, emma

  • JMiller

    I really look forward to this film. I was recently in Tashkent at the party of the daughter of the president for her magazine. I was sitting at the ambassadors table and spoke with the Indian ambassador and his wife at length that evening. The Indian ambassador (now departed) thought the book was “biased!” However, while I am no expert, I do take the word of the Uzbek people, all of whom I met will be very glad to see the back of this dictatorship, which should have been part of the axis of evil in my view. I am grateful for people like Craig Murray and wish the film well.

  • Anas Taunton

    So far Racist New Labour haven’t incorporated an approved opinion section in the Benefit system means testing. Babies are good things and also profitable under Racist New Labour which is why all the Muslims in this country vote for them!

    But, according to the Guardian last week, re: Contest 2, draft proposals are being dafted by RNL to cut all state support for non-compliant opinion holders. I quickly emailed my M.P, the Rt Hon Liam Byrne, RNL Cabinet Organiser, that I would not be complying with the approved opinions.

    Indeed the Rt Hon. Minister for Andy Pandy dumbdown Racist New Labour said yesterday on the Today programme:

    Us Brits have spent far too long bein’ politically correct an’ not defendin’ our own British poo culture an’ criticisin’ nasty, clean Islam.

    Good thing your baby is coming soon Craig,because dissidents will soon find themselves disqualified from state support and extradited to Jordan.

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