Thursday, November 29, 2007

Werewolf Chart

Ha. Lonely Werewolf Girl fights its way to the top of the bestseller charts. All right, it's only the chart for werewolf books at Amazon UK. But I don't get in many bestseller lists, so I'm pleased anyway.

Also in the Amazon werewolf bestseller list: Dances with Werewolves - Memoirs of a Spanking Model by Niki Flynn. Hmmm. I suspect that despite what the Amazon chart says, this may not actually be a werewolf novel. But it sounds like an excellent work anyway.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spelling Mistakes. Look on the Bright Side.

As various correspondents have pointed out to me, there are quite a lot of typos and spelling mistakes in Lonely Werewolf Girl. I'm disappointed in this. However, there are no proof-readers to blame. I proof-read it myself. Obviously I didn't do a great job. Ho Hum.

The first edition has almost sold out. I'll be reprinting after Christmas, and I'll fix some of the typos then. I have someone helping me with this now. But when I was preparing it originally, there wasn't a great rush of volunteers.

Also, Soft Skull will publish the book in America next March. No doubt that will be much better proof read, and typo-free.

Meanwhile, possibly people could regard the typos as charming. Or even as in accordance with the spirit of punk rock, which has always inspired me. I had the choice of putting out this edition myself in Britain, or waiting another year for the American edition to be imported here. So I'm glad I published it, typos or not. Possibly, in years to come, these mis-spelled first editions will be a distinctive and valuable items.

* or maybe not *

It's thanksgiving in the USA. I had a thanksgiving dinner one time in London, courtesy of my friend Kate, who's now back in San Francisco. It was great. As well as the turkey there were various pumpkin-related dishes, including, I seem to remember, pumpkin bread. That was interesting; the only time I've ever eaten pumpkin in any form. It's not something you normally encounter in South London. It was a really good dinner.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Come to the Cabaret

Ha. Have marched confidently into the modern technology market by finally purchasing a DVD player. Previously, all DVDs had to be watched on my Playstation, but that stopped playing them some time ago.

Faced with the alarming choice of complicated modern technology, I opted cheerfully for a DVD player from the supermarket which came in a plain white box and cost £19.99. I am pleased with this. I like cheap, utilitarian electronics from the supermarket. In the same way I like their cheap, functional T-shirts.

It works well, and I was enthused enough to buy copy of Cabaret, one of my favourite movies. Cabaret is such masterpiece, I love it. Why, I wonder, did Liza Minnelli never star in anything else?

It was sometimes said, as a criticism of the film, that Liza Minnelli's fabulous performance as a nightclub artist made a bit of a mockery of the whole story. Because the whole point of the story, really, was that the character she was playing was meant to be a lousy cabaret artist. Which is a fair criticism, I suppose. But it's still a great film.

* money money money, money money money... *

Excuse me, I was just humming one of the songs.

Joel Grey is excellent, as the Master of Ceremonies. Many years later, he turned up unexpectedly in season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He actually stabbed Dawn! But Dawn was quite an annoying character anyway.

I may now be inspired to watch more films. I do have fourteen movie channels on cable, but I rarely watch them. You would be amazed how many poor films my cable network can show on fourteen channels.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You Fat Bastard

I went down to the Academy in Brixton on Friday to see Carter USM playing their final reunion gig. Carter, kings of Indie rock in the early nineties, turned out to be still extremely popular. Plenty of people still love Carter. The Academy was heaving with bodies. Not being the sort of person who's comfortable in the midst of mosh pit, I watched from the back of the hall. Where it was still very crowded actually. There was no room anywhere.

Quite why the crowd at Carter gigs always chanted You Fat Bastard at the stage I'm not certain. But it's a fine chant anyway, and I've always been happy to join in. And when the band were introduced by a near naked Jon 'Fat' Beast, it was particularly appropriate.

I'm not much of a music reviewer so I won't go through it all, but I really had a good time and I thought the gig was great. They played a lot of songs I like, and remember fondly, particularly The Only Living Boy in New Cross, and Glam Rock Cops, and they finished off with a really epic version of Sheriff Fatman, which was just brilliant.

So I'd congratulate Les and Jim for producing such a really fine event.

Afterwards I was exhausted. I'm not used to going to gigs these days. I'd forgotten how packed it can be, and how loud. My ears were ringing. I called in briefly to Ian Watson's indie club across the street, then my friend Angus gave me a lift home.

Carter's appearance in London drew back to the city all sorts of people I hadn't seen for a long time, and was really pleased to meet again. Daz, who I used to share a house with in Streatham, came down from Manchester, and the next day we watched football in the pub. We've watched a lot of football in pubs together, in our time.

Also back in London was Cerise, who also used to live in the house in Streatham, and now resides in Hollywood, producing movies and being successful. I talked to her about life in LA, and felt quite envious of her being there, really. I met other old friends too. It was an unusually active weekend. A lot of activity for a man who spends most of his life either writing at my computer or watching TV. Three days of socialising, in fact. I'm worn out.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Joy Division Mid-Life Crisis Terror

I don't think I've suffered from a mid life crisis - because, really I spend most of my time slumped on the couch playing video games and watching TV, so there's not much to have a crisis about really, it's not like I ever took on any responsibilities - but I have noticed some moments of quite uncomfortable nostalgia recently, generally connected with music. The advent of youtube has been very bad for this.

I get an urge, for instance, to see what Joy Division there is on youtube, and watch Transmission, a single I bought in 1979, and still have, in its picture sleeve. I go on to watch them play a few more tracks from their first album, ending up watching Atmosphere by which time I am fairly gloomy, and wondering where the last 27 years went. Sigh.

What personal memories can I dredge up about Joy Division?

→ The NME wrote a glowing live revue, which I read in 1979, and went to see them, in the YMCA in Tottenham Court Road, London. This was before their first album was released. It was a brilliant gig, being one of the few times I've ever been really impressed by a band live, before hearing their music on record. They were so powerful, even if you'd never heard any of their songs before. Ian Curtis was a very strange figure onstage, with his odd hand movements, like he was having fits.

→ I saw A Certain Ration at the same venue, but I can't remember if it was the same gig as Joy Division, or a different night.

→ When the first Joy Division album came out, a few weeks later, I rushed to buy it. It was on sale cheap in Virgin records, for some reason.

→ At the same time I bought the first Joy Division record, I bought an album by The Swell Maps. I think I played that once, and never listened to it again.

→ I bought my copy of the single Transmission in the original Rough Trade Shop, in Portobello Road. I used to go there a lot.

→ One time John Peel abandoned - or at least threatened to abandon - his voter's choice top fifty songs because everyone kept voting for Atmosphere. And about 1980-81, all the new bands on the John Peel show sounded something like Joy Division.

→ It was a surprise that Love Will Tear Us Apart was quite a big hit at the time, and it felt good that it was successful, but rather sad at the same time, with Ian Curtis having committed suicide not long before.

→ After Ian Curtis died, and the band reformed themselves as New Order, I went to see one of their earliest gigs. I have some notion that it might have been their first gig, but that seems unlikely, somehow. Maybe it was their first gig in London. Anyway, it was good, but it wasn't the same, of course.