Book Update No.10

EFC_Key Card

Six days into the Kickstarter campaign and we’ve raised 68% of the target and got that Staff Pick to boot. Not bad, not bad at all. But my time spent online getting to know other crowdfunders has revealed that in just about every campaign, there is a lull and it can get quite scary. Like when a marathon runner hits the wall and feels like he/she can’t go on. The key (see what I did there?) is not to give in to it. What no one prepared me for is the intensity of emotion felt on just about every level. Every pledge feels like a personal blessing, and when things go a bit quiet it makes you feel physically sick. It will be interesting to see how I’m faring by the 23rd ‘cos I’m right on the edge as it is. And all to the soundtrack of relentess hammering from below. It’s Kafkaesque, man!

Anyway, my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have stumped up something. All being well, I’ll crack on with the second half pretty soon now. And if you haven’t, click on the key card above and help make it happen. You won’t regret it x


Idle Eye 163 : The Builder Jour

Now don’t get me wrong, I know people need to get works done from time to time in our fair capital. How else can we justify those absurdly inflated prices for what effectively are outmoded hunks of Victorian brick? But there comes a point when you just snap, and last Friday I did exactly that. When you’re running a Kickstarter campaign from home and the din and dust from downstairs penetrate through to the very fibre of your being, words have to be said.

To be fair, I held off as long as I could. I was pleasantly chatty (in that monosyllabic way builders seem to enjoy) when our paths crossed in the street. I pretended not to mind having to listen to Taylor Swift thirty times a day at ear-splitting volume, I managed to feign some kind of interest in the project and I even shrugged off the endless banging (that made my treaty glass of Pinot do a Michael Jackson across my desk) as the inevitable consequence of home improvement. What’s all that about? Why hasn’t someone come up with a device that just hits whatever it is they’re hitting once, very hard, job done? I don’t claim to understand what’s going on down there but it is positively Neanderthal. Yet still I did not react.

The final straw came when my water got shut off for the weekend. The builders had done a POETS day, the owner was on a train to somewhere foreign up north and I hummed like a lactating hyena. Then, finally, I saw red. A torrent of pent-up fury was unleashed down a broken phone line, made worse by the excruciating platitude that these things happen. I calculatedly escalated the intensity and tone of my delivery which would have culminated in a commanding Sgt Major roar, but unfortunately I had lost my voice a couple of days beforehand and ended up coming across as a mildly peeved Joan Rivers.

At approximately 11.30pm, a builder reappeared. He had hightailed it back from Southampton and was clearly steeling himself for the raving neighbour I’d no doubt been portrayed as. However, I was the consummate gentleman. Together we investigated the site and found the main feed, wrapped in white tape and haemorrhaging water into the back garden despite being turned off. Calls were made. Brows were furrowed. Not a lot could be done. Until tomorrow. Sorry, mate.

At this stage of the proceedings, there remained but two courses of retaliation. The first being an out-and-out screaming match which, as we’ve already established, was sadly denied to me. The second, ultimately more satisfying option was to plough into a freshly purchased bottle of Bulldog gin and stay up most of the night ranting and listening to vintage Australian pop. And then turn up at Crystal Palace Food Market (where I had a stall to promote the campaign) still steaming, still stinking and looking like death itself. Which is what I did. Obviously.

IE Audio 10 : The Carb Uncle

The perils of going classic.

Book Update No.9

Escape Kit Card

WE’RE OFF!!! Right, I played the Do or Die card last week, so here’s the first in hand from my Escape Kit. Click on it & it will take you straight over to the Kickstarter site where you can do your thing as discussed and help this old bastard get out alive. I’ll be wearing a turquoise trenchcoat and urban chic Jimmy Choos. In case you were wondering.

Book Update No.8


News! Kickstarter approved the campaign proposal yesterday, which means that from exactly midday tomorrow (Friday 24th July) it will go live for 30 days, in which time I need to raise at least £4K to make this ship sail. Some of you may already be familiar with crowdfunder pledging, but for those of you that aren’t, here’s how it works:

1)  At the Kickstarter site (get there by clicking the K logo above or in the sidebar. Right now it’s a preview, but it will be live tomorrow at midday), you’ll need to create an account (full name/email/password). Don’t worry, it’s 100% secure, they just need to know who you are for when the time comes for you to part with your cash.

2)  Choose your reward and the amount you wish to donate from the column to the right of the campaign notes. They’ll ask you for your card details and that will be affiliated with your account. Shipping will be added onto the total (I’ve waived this for the larger pledges). Then they something about how great you are and you’re done for now.

3)  If the project meets the £4K target, your card gets charged. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s an all or nothing deal. And if it does, I’ll go hell for leather to finish the book and get it out to you in the allocated time. If there’s a slight delay, it’s because a lot of people are involved but you have my word, I’ll make it happen.

It would be great if you could get in as early as possible. it gives the whole thing momentum and if it is staff-picked by Kickstarter, it reaches a much wider audience and makes a massive difference. I’m thanking you all in advance. This means a lot to me x

Idle Eye 162 : The Runway

OK, action stations! Everything I’ve worked towards for the last four years is about to kick off big time on Friday. No room for funnies now, just need to know that you’re all on board. It’s been a mad week, what with the computer playing up, the launch party, being sick as a panda and losing my voice just as we were shooting the straight-to-camera stuff, but at last the whole shebang is going to pitch and it’s in the lap of the Gods what happens after.

At this stage of the game you need a bit of TLC, because most of your time is taken up with being wired on adrenalin, not sleeping, eating shit food, drinking shedloads of quality alcohol, smoking for Britain, swearing and crying. Oh, and doing the work. And for the most part, people have been pretty good. I even brought some campaign postcards into my local café yesterday, and the Italian girl who I usually get served by took one look at me and said “Guess it’s started then!” Bless her. The family have finally accepted that I mean business, I’ve got four more followers on the Twitter and some bloke at the party said my stuff was worthy of Ed Reardon. High praise indeed.

But never mind that. What matters more than anything right now is that I reach the funding goal. Although I’ve been trying to imagine what to do if this doesn’t happen. Those bloody letters to the artists, oh God!

Dear Artist,

Thanks for your interest and involvement with the Idle Eye project. I regret to inform you that, to date, it hasn’t received the anticipated volume of public support and consequently I would suggest that you to persevere with your chosen profession as before. This is in no way indicative of the quality of your work. We are living through austere times and there is only so much gold in the pot. Sadly, this time it isn’t yours.

I shall, of course, keep your details on file and if anything suitable arises in the fullness of time, I’ll be in touch. And if you need an assistant, I am but an email away. They say my coffee is excellent and I am quick at washing up.

Sincerely yours,

Idle Eye

Then there would be that climbdown in front of those I’ve bigged it up to for months, followed by the inevitable mockery as I re-entered the world of gainful employment. Fortunately, such a ghastly, apocalyptic projection has been the spur for me to soldier on regardless. Failure is so not an option it’s not even a hologram. And if that elusive target proves to be exactly that, I’ll have a chat with my nine chums of Hatton Garden notoriety and furnish myself with a few tips. Because who would expect a half-cut, wan blogger to be capable of anything more than a few shoddy words of whimsy every week?


IE Audio 9 : The Messiah

“I’m not Jesus. I’m just a fella.”

Book Update No.7


500 beautiful postcards printed onto 350gsm uncoated matt card coming tomorrow. All artists involved listed with the posts they have already done and contact details. Again, my sincere thanks to Ursula McLaughlin for making these happen. If we hit our target, the second half goes into production and we’re looking at September for the print run. Everyone who pledges, however much, will be listed in the acknowledgements and will be a part of something quite unique. You know what to do x

Idle Eye 161 : The Rhinoceros

In what has become more French farce than reality, everyday objects have conspired against the launch of Amateur of Life and Death in a way I could not possibly have conceived. If I could only stand back and laugh (and maybe I will sometime in the future), perhaps I’d get some kind of perspective. But when you’re living through an implausible nightmare, the absurdities get so polarised you just can’t help but take them personally. I’ll try to boil it down. Firstly, the iMac went haywire. Right at the point I was editing in the last bit of footage for the Kickstarter promo, the screen strobed at me like an Eighties disco and then presented ugly green vertical stripes across everything I tried to do. At which point, I lost it:

Me:  Not now, bubba, not now.

iMac:  PARTAYYY!!!

Me:  Listen. We’ve known each other for almost four years. I dust you, I defrag you, I clear out that ugly crap you accumulate on a regular basis and all that I’m asking is that you work with me for the next four weeks. It’s important. It’s why I bought you in the first place. Now is not the time. Capiche?

iMac:  PARTAYYY!!!

Me:  No. Not Partayyy!!!  You can go wild after this is all through. But not now. I’m trying to do something that really matters to me. In fact, the rest of my life hinges on it. So just play ball or you’re out with the recycling.

iMac:  PARTAYYY!!!

Then my shaver packed in; I ordered another. My watch stopped dead; one of those Russian ones that pride themselves on longevity in the field of conflict suddenly went AWOL. I took it off, and as I did, two of the lights in the living room blew for no reason at all. I turned them out at the dimmer and then, I kid you not, our lavatory started to overflow. I knew something was up because the flat below had just started building work and they’d been crashing about for God knows how long, but when water starts pissing its way into your hallway, words have to be said. Next up, two builders appeared:

Builder 1:  Awright, mate? Sorry about that, didn’t know youze was on the same ring.

Me:  It appears we are. Can you stem the tide? It is rather unfortunate timing.

Builder 1:  Bloody cheap stopcocks, that’s your problem. Who fitted this craphound?

Me:  It was done by an emergency plumber four months ago. The parts are new. And they worked this morning.

Builder 2:  Tone. I gotta be in Dalston in fifty. Can you sort this? I need the van, mate.

Builder 1:  What am I supposed to do?

Builder 2:  To be honest, I don’t give a monkeys. Either come with me and deal with this clown tomorrow morning, or sort yourself out. Your choice.

Me:  Excuse me. I have a book campaign going live in 48 hrs, a toilet that badly needs sorting, and you two are debating whether to leave now?

Builder 2:  Another job, mate. Life, innit?

The phone went. An automated someone chose this exact moment to offer me compensation for another accident I’d supposedly had. And as I was screaming blue bloody murder into the void, both builders left the…er…building, leaving me with a secreting loo and a flat teeming with broken stuff. There was no-one around to scream at, so I screamed at the iMac:

Me:  You jumped up, poncey piece of crap! I hate you, I hate everything you pretend to be and I hate how you come across all slick and cool when actually, you’re nothing more than smoke and wires. SMOKE AND WIRES, do you understand me? Of course you don’t! Because you can’t do jack shit without me. Nothing. NOTHING!!! And when I’ve got you fixed and you think this is all business as usual, let’s see how you feel when I wheel in a Gates. Because I’m through with you, Apple. Really, I am. Jobs would be turning in his grave if he knew the shit you’re trying to pull now. So I’m out. Fuck you!!!

iMac:  PARTAYYY!!!

To be continued…

Book Update No.6


A disappointing setback. We shot the remaining footage for the book launch pitch film last week. This was to be edited into my existing film and uploaded to the Kickstarter site so everything was ready to go for the 17th. But my computer had other ideas. Probably because I’ve been cramming it to bursting with film, photos and all manner of power hungry data, the graphics card packed up, rendering it totally unusable. So the last 48 hours have been spent frantically trying to get an appointment with an Apple ‘Genius’, and carting a 27″ iMac across central London until someone would see me. They did yesterday. The card issue is a known one, specific to the exact year, make & model that I have. So it’s a free fix, but I’ve lost a lot of time and I’m on the verge.

Because of all this, I’m putting back the Kickstarter launch date by a week. It will now go live on Friday 24th July for 30 days, and if you’re wondering where you need to go to pledge or even just follow the campaign, all details will appear next week on the site, on the Facebook/Twitter pages and, if I have your details, via email. My apologies for the slight delay, but in this case it’s genuinely out of my hands.

As far as the party is concerned, it will happen as planned at 3 Dorchester Drive, Dorchester Court, Herne Hill, London SE24 from 7.30pm this coming Friday 17th July. If you can make it, please drop by. We’ll film the whole thing and, as long as I’m not sectioned into the Maudsley, it should be a lot of fun. This will be more of a general awareness night as opposed to a book launch per se, but you’ll get to see close up what we’ve been doing since January. All washed down with a few pinots. Nice x