Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lend Me a Pound Till Next Week

I haven't seen Monty Python's Flying Circus for quite a long time. I used to quite enjoy Money Python though I'm slightly suspicious of it, because I have met people who were completely obsessive about it, and could quote huge chunks of the script. I find this quite unsettling.

However, I saw some on TV last week, while idly channel surfing, and it included one of my favourite sketches - The Poetry of Ewan MacTeagle. MacTeagle is a Scottish poet, a gruff character in a kilt, and he composes such memorable works as -

Lend us a couple of bob till Thursday. I'm absolutely skint.
But I'm expecting a postal order and I can pay you back as soon as it comes.

and then there's -

Oh give to me a shilling' for some fags and I'll pay ye back on Thursday,
but if you can wait till Saturday I'm expecting a divvy
from the Harpenden Building Society

And, my favourite, his great masterpiece -

What's twenty quid to the bloody Midland Bank?

Which does make me laugh. The subtext to the sketch, really, is a joke about Scots being mean. Being Scottish, I've occasionally found this offensive, but usually find it funny.

In my local supermarket, there's a machine where you can take your small change, and it changes it for you into pound coins and five pound notes. I've seen people pouring bags of pennies into this machine. But it charges you a commission of 8 pence in the pound. So for every pound you pay in, you only get 92 pence back.

I'm outraged at the thought of this. I would never do it. Never ever. Even if I had thousands of pennies I would stubbornly haul them all to my bank to get the whole value, rather than pay an 8% commission. Nothing would induce me to pour pennies into this machine. It's just throwing money away. I'd crawl over broken glass, clutching my pennies, to avoid doing this.

* says Martin Macteagle, Scottish author *

The Monty Python Sketch is here -


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mass Market Fairies

Life has been quiet, as I go about my normal practice of spending the day comatose on the couch, with occasional shuffling through to the kitchen to make tea, or over to the computer to check my email. Other than that, no activity at all. I have been commissioned to write a story, but as it hasn't gone very well I've just abandoned it, and will now hope it somehow miraculously finishes itself.

* Surely this man is doomed to end his days sleeping in a cardboard box in the supermarket car park *

Yes, you may be right. I've always assumed that's what going to happen. However, against my expectations, the American edition of The Good Fairies of New York has sold really well. It's now sold more copies in the USA than any of my books have in Britain. Because of this, Tor - world's largest science fiction publisher - are going to issue it next year as a mass-market paperback, thus making it more widely available and, presumably, selling more copies.

So perhaps I will not end my days in the supermarket car park after all, holding out a McDonald's slurpee cup for pennies, but will instead earn enough money to remain warm and cosy on the couch, watching my collection of Buffy videos and occasionally shaking my fist at the football on TV.

Lonely Werewolf Girl will also come out in the USA next year. It strikes me that it's worth reminding you that if Lonely Werewolf Girl eventually sweeps the world, you'll regret even more that you didn't buy a copy right now from my website, because if you do you're getting a signed first edition. This will be worth a vast amount of money in the future, with book collectors wringing their hands in despair, crying out "Oh, if only I could find a signed first edition of that book, I'd pay anything for it." And then you'll have a highly valuable item, probably valuable enough for you to retire to that luxury villa in France you've always wanted. So don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Siouxsie Sioux

I was listening to the radio last night - in a sort of semi-attempt to hear some new music - so as I can pretend that I don't spend all my time listening ancient 70's rock - and I heard a song I liked, but as it turned out it wasn't by a new artist at all, it was a new single by Siouxsie Sioux. Possibly called Into a Swan.

Which set me wondering about when I first saw Siouxsie. I remember seeing her in the Vortex, which was a post-Roxy-type place in London, at the end of 1977, maybe 1978. It was a small club. I probably wouldn't have guessed that night that she was heading for a 30 year career.

And I think I may have seen the Banshees play in a pub before that, in 1977, but I can't quite remember for sure. The Nashville, maybe? I definitely saw them again in 1978 at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park. They were playing with The Adverts, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and The Models. Hmm. That seems like a lot of bands. Maybe I'm conflating two separate gigs.

These were all good gigs. Unfortunately, remembering them now makes me feel around 90 years old.

Struggling back to the modern world, there's an interview with me in the entertainingly titled Nude Magazine. No, I didn't pose naked. It's not that sort of magazine. I just gave an interview about Lonely Werewolf Girl. But if I had posed nude, it would have been OK. Yes it would, don't argue. Hey, for a man who saw Siouxsie and The Banshees in 1977, I'm in good shape. OK, reasonable shape. As long as I don't have to move around too quickly, I'm fine.

I see that Nude Magazine includes an article on Fantagraphics. They published Love and Rockets. I loved that comic. I wonder where mine are? I must hunt them out.

And now, I have a new Buffy comic to attend to.