Footnote: As I blogged on Tall And True in November 2019, I started working on Both Sides of the Story in February 1994. It was my third submission to the then annual Ian St James Awards, at the time the UK's biggest fiction prize for unpublished writers.
The idea for the story came to me while working out in a gym. The news at the time was full of items about people for whom the public (including me) had little sympathy. Phil Collins was singing his Both Sides song on MTV in the gym, and the music video set me thinking: Could I show both sides of the news in a short story?
So I started writing Both Sides of the Story, as a five-part short story. Westminster, Bosnia, A Council Flat, and The Gym are four standalone vignettes. And Bad News is the fifth and final part, which links and resolves the story.
Please note, my intention in writing this short story twenty-five years ago was not to be an apologist for my characters or their actions. Then, as now, my goal was to follow Phil Collins' lead and try to imagine both sides of the story.