Brixton BookJam, London 07/03/16

Super scary, this one. I was up alongside some seriously amazing authors who know their onions considerably better than I do. And I got myself a proper Brixton heckler to boot!. Massive thanks to Zelda, Sheila & Sharon for letting me do my thing. Oh, and Final Cut Pro: I want a quiet word with you in the Green Room x

Antenna Studios, Crystal Palace, London 17/01/16

Shot on the coldest night of the year to a robust audience, mollified somewhat with free booze and a significant hard cash bribe for the applause. Performing my own work marks a significant departure from the original concept, but as a little of the thespian runs in the blood, I thought I’d give it a go. And although both cameras were riddled with interior dust and on the blink, there’s a satisfying lo-res charm to the edited result which those social media instafilters can’t replicate.

Book Update No.15

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It’s nearly over. The little seed that germinated on January 7th will be made flesh on 20th November, and what better way to celebrate than to throw a party. And what a party it promises to be! The godlike Flame Proof Moth (aka Tim Siddall, a contributing artist) will provide some of his hilarious, bone dry tunes; Richard Amp and Donald Ross Skinner their ambient wizardry. I’ll be reading out a few posts with the help of a few special guests, books will be available to buy (c’mon, it’s nearly Christmas!) and some of the book artwork (originals and prints) are up for grabs, kindly provided by the artists. The DnA Factory will also have their 25th anniversary exhibition running alongside all of the above, more than worth the journey in its own right. And all set in one of the most beautiful members clubs I’ve yet come across, just a stone’s throw from London’s iconic Tower Bridge.

If you’d like to come along, please make contact at the RSVP address/number on the invite. Obviously we want it to be well attended, but the club will need names and numbers so we can plan ahead and make it a comfortable night for everyone. If you don’t/can’t make it, I’m deeply sorry but you can always say you were there, like the 5000+ people who claimed they saw the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club in ’76. Lying is one of the most creative things you can do when you get past forty. Unless you’re me, when it becomes a default setting.

Finally, a mahoosive thank you to all those who helped make this happen; you know who you are. A less mahoosive one to those who actively didn’t; you also know who you are and yes, you will be judged; in this world or the next. I don’t make the rules.

Book Update No.14

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Artwork is in, got the ISBN, layout’s looking pretty swanky, paper type’s chosen and Amateur of Life and Death is now in the hands of the eagle-eyed Elinor who will hack out the unremitting repetition and cut it all down to about thirty words. And then I must be brave and send my first child off to the printers.

It’s a strange old feeling when you know you have to let go, but like my mother on my first day at school I’ll probably don a huge pair of Foster Grants and weep discreetly behind them. And then I’ll worry so. Will it be bullied by weightier tomes? Should I send little pots of jam for it to share with its chums? A couple of spare blankets now that autumn’s upon us? And how will I fill those endless, friendless evenings from now on? No one tells you this stuff.

I’m also a bit scared about the bill. I know we raised the hardback funds but now I’m getting all fussy about paper thickness and bleed. And, to be honest, I forgot about the VAT which is a pisser. But come what may, there will be a book in November and I do hope you will all buy a copy. Make that a few – Christmas is coming and I don’t want it to be just the goose that gets fat.

There will also be a launch on Friday 20th November at 6.30pm at the very same venue I mentioned in Update 13. It will be busy and entry will be by RSVP invites only, but if you’d like to come and listen to me butcher my own work as you drink the good drink, or enjoy some of the art from the book as you take in a bit of live moosik, get in touch. Usual channels. I’ll sign a few books if you want, and if you pay a bit more I won’t. Every little helps…

Book Update No.13

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Well, that’s the first bit over with. Now I’ve got just over a month to put it all together and off it goes to the printers. Thank you to all you beautiful pledgers out there, you’ve helped make this kooky ole ship sail. And sail it most certainly shall. Got to say it though, I’ll be glad to get out of the flat for a bit when the time comes. The builders below have made every day an agony and I’m getting a bit sick of my own company (now I know how you feel). But there are plans afoot for the big launch in November which I’ll go into in detail when a few more things are confirmed. All being well, it will be in Central London at an impossibly cool venue very close to Tower Bridge with gallery space, a bar and it’s run by lovely people who just get this kind of thing. Perfect!

If you can’t wait that long, I’ll be doing some readings and enjoying a few sherbets in Crystal Palace’s own Numidie Bar tomorrow evening (Saturday 29th August) from 7pm. Just an excuse to say thanks and…er…enjoy a few sherbets. Like you do. Please pop by if you can, should be fun.

The second lot of artworks have already started rolling in and they are, as with the first, superb. Ursula is laying them out and I’ll be working on the final order over the next couple of weeks, harder than you might think. And we also have to decide whether we’ll have a dust jacket or just go commando, hmm. So much to think about, so little time.

Until the next one (without the annoying Escape from Colditz cards, you have my word) x

Book Update No.12

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Struggling with a few things at the moment, but that’s no excuse not to update. So here goes:

Amateur of Life and Death is now £495 away from hitting its Stretch Goal of £5000. This will allow it to become a glorious hardback, printed by the lovely people at TT Litho in Rochester, and that wine glass on the cover will be UV varnished so you’ll think it’s real. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s nice to know that it will definitely happen and you pledgers will get the result by the end of October, all being well.

I’ve just allocated the second posts to be illustrated to all artists so now it’s a waiting game. And if we hit that £5000 target, all backers will get something quite special, as well as the rewards they’ve pledged for. Can’t tell you what just yet, but it’s rather good. You’ll see.

The campaign finishes on Sunday 23rd August at midday. My final push will be a flurry of grovelling emails so please forgive this in advance if you happen to get one. Finally, one last plea to anyone who hasn’t yet pledged:

Click on the fag card above and it will take you to the campaign page. And when you’re there, if you spare this ole boy a dime I’ll love you longtime. Thanks x

Book Update No.11

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Very happy to announce that Amateur of Life and Death hit its Kickstarter £4K target on Tuesday, which means that whatever happens from now on, this book will be made. Apologies for the late heads up here, I’ve been wading through the dark treacle of insomnia which gives you time but steals the impetus to use it (see latest post). So, I’ve done a few more costings and I think we can make it into a hardback if we raise another grand. Not an exact science, but it’s a nice round figure to aim for and art books should be hardbacks, right? This is called a Stretch Goal apparently, and has nothing at all to do with losing a bit of cellulite. So let’s go for that then. And any ‘stretch’ funds raised beyond that will go towards amassing an arsenal of brutally loud power tools which I’ll load into a van, follow the builders downstairs to their family homes and drill into their roofs throughout the night until they too are driven to misanthropy and despair. Worthy cause, right there…x

Book Update No.8

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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

Book Update No.7

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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

Book Update No.4

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In an uncharacteristic break from black & white, I feel duty-bound to show you one of the pledge shirts that arrived just now. Yes, I look gormless and yes, it’s not quite in focus but you have my word, the quality is top drawer. Fairtrade organic cotton, beautifully reproduced and almost guaranteed to get you admiring looks from complete strangers. Almost…