By PETE NASH

Muddy Maladies, as Eric would say - my wife Jill and I are recovering from covid, having caught it at our son Adam’s wedding in London. Fortunately it was no worse than a dose of flu, but we’re both thankful for being double-jabbed or it could have been much worse.


With covid restrictions being lifted today, it’s clear that more and more people who have been fully vaccinated will be getting the virus sooner or later, as it won’t be going away. We’re going to have to live with it - and on the plus side, getting covid after two jabs is like getting a booster shot, according to scientists!


We’re hopefully on the mend now, but being laid up will likely cause a slight delay with the release of Volume 16 of the Striker collection. It should still be ready next month as scheduled, but probably towards the end of the month rather than the middle.


Volume 16 includes all the strips that were published in Nuts magazine in 2010 - and features the debut of Sheik Mustapha Futti Kalub!

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Here are some photos sent to me by Striker fans Jackie and Cris Booth from Manchester, who last week followed the route of my marathon walk along the Greensand Way in Kent that I wrote about in Volume 11 of the Complete Striker Collection.

They stopped off at the same pubs I visited in 2005 and arrived at the Swan on the Green pub in East Peckham to see that it had temporarily changed its name to the Hare and Hound for the filming of an episode for the new series of Darling Buds of May.

They are clearly a lot fitter than me as they covered 28 miles in one day compared to my 18 or so!





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Is the Striker screenplay nearly ready? It should be because that was the project I'd decided to embark on when I wrote my last update back in June. But after writing the synopsis and first few scenes, I hit the same hurdle I ran into when I started tackling a Striker novel.


In both scenarios, adapting events that occurred in the strip over many years into a book or screen format would require some significant changes to the story arc. To give just one example, a book or screen adaptation doesn't work so well if Li Ming disappears for two years, as she did in the strip. But would the fans accept that? I don't know because I don't have an objective person in the form of a literary agent to discuss these things with - and that's what I feel I need now.


I remain convinced there's potential for both a Striker novel and a big or small screen version - but having made starts on both, I'm just not convinced that either of these should be my first project.


So where does that leave me if I've put both plans A and B on the back burner? Actually, I'm probably on plan G or H because there's a pile of other ideas I developed over the years that were also being considered as my first post-Striker project. But I believe I've finally found a plan I can stick with.

A few years back, a couple of long-time friends (I do have a few) had suggested I write my life story. I wasn't keen for two reasons: one, Striker was still being published, so there was no closure to my story in that respect. And two, though it's fair to say I've had an extraordinarily eventful life, many of the decisions I've made along the way have been reckless to the point of possibly seeming self-destructive.


So that got me thinking: why was I such a hot-headed teenager? Why, after serving a jail sentence, did I then go on to blow so many career opportunities as a journalist? Why did I almost kill myself by jumping off a ferry in the Irish Sea? Why, after becoming the highest-paid creator of a newspaper strip, did I walk away from a fortune and risk my house on starting a weekly comic? Why have I always had such a problem with authority?


My surprising solution was to see a psychotherapist. And although I've only had three of six sessions, one of them provided a remarkable insight to an incident 50 years ago to which I had previously attached little significance.


So, after 35 years of telling Striker stories, and armed with an understanding of what turned me into a rebel without a pause, I've decided to tell my own story. And I'm hoping it will lead to further projects - including Striker - once I've found an agent who will accept the autobiography and represent me.


Although I'll be including the therapy sessions in my book, this won't be a self-indulgent, navel-gazing exercise. I'd like it to be fascinating , funny and, by the last chapter, hopefully inspiring.


So there it is. After several false starts, I think and hope I've finally found a path to follow. I know some Striker fans will be disappointed that I haven't been able to announce the imminent publication of a Striker novel or development of a TV series, but I still want those things to happen.

I've already started my story and I'm reasonably happy with the way it's going. All being well, it could be finished by June, by which time Volume 15 of the Striker Collection will have been published.


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