Friday, October 22, 2010

Italian Curse of the Wolf Girl

The Italian edition of Curse of the Wolf Girl - Vex e Kalix - will be published by Fazi Editore on the 26th November. Here's the cover -

It's a really nice cover. Publishers have produced some good artwork for these werewolf books.

I urge people to buy them, thereby enabling me to keep on playing Final Fantasy, watching SpongeBob SquarePants and never having to work again. I'm not one of those people who is driven to keep on writing. I could quite happily lie on the couch in a semi-coma for the next three years.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Arrrghhh! People!!!

People are so unbelievably annoying and stupid at times. Making me despise the human race at this moment is the complete mess people round here made of the local council's attempts to encourage re-cycling.

First the council gave everyone these big plastic boxes. You put in all your paper, glass and tin. Then you put the box outside your flat and they collected it. Unfortunately, when the boxes were left outside, other people put junk in them - household garbage, plastic bottles, that sort of thing. Just threw it in like they were rubbish bins. There were a few extra boxes which were always left in front of the block, and these also became rubbish bins. Soon the whole place turned into a big mess.

So. The council abandoned the individual boxes and instead placed three very large bins in front of the block of flats, clearly marked for recycling only. You just took your paper, glass and tin down there and threw it in the big bin. Once again, it was a perfectly good recycling scheme, easy to use.

However people, apparently too stupid to comprehend it, immediately started to ruin it by once more treating these recycling bins as rubbish bins. People would leave other junk beside them. Old carpets, bit of household furniture, even bags of garbage. Even though this was clearly not the place to leave any of this stuff, people did it. What's more, people with large amounts of cardboard to throw away, like large boxes, couldn't be bothered to rip the cardboard up and put it in the bins. Instead they'd just dump a load of boxes beside the recycling bins. Which meant, inevitably, that they'd get rained on. In no time there would be a mass of soggy disgusting cardboard rotting on the pavement. Other people, seeing this mass of rotting cardboard then would leave more junk beside it. Very soon the whole place was a terrible mess, and the council's perfectly good recycling scheme was ruined again.

Now they have put a smaller recycling bin inside the little cupboards where everyone's bins are stored. As these are locked away, this might do better, but I doubt it, because when people go to put their rubbish there they will just toss it in the recycling bins anyway. People already leave stuff in there that the council's garbage collectors obviously aren't going to take away, like old chairs for instance, because these people cannot be bothered to get rid of them properly.

Why are people so annoying and stupid like this? It's not like the recycling was ever difficult but people just made a complete mess of it.

Similarly, adding to my ire, in the supermarket there's a cat rescue bin, placed there by a local charity. You put cat food in there and it goes to a shelter for homeless cats. This is a standard sort of black rubbish bin, but taped to it are pictures of cats. On top of it, there is a big sign with more pictures of cats, and an explanation of what it's for. It says in big letters 'Only put cat food in here.' And do people pay any attention? Naturally they don't. Every time I go to put a tin of cat food in the bin, it's full of rubbish - empty crisp packets and stuff like that - because people are too lazy and stupid to read the sign and realise that it's not actually meant to be a rubbish bin.

Arrrgh. People. Urgh.

* However *

* Calming down for a moment. *

I'm expecting dancing on the streets of Paris today, as Lonely Werewolf Girl is finally published in France, by Editions Intervalles. It has taken rather a long time to get there, but now here it is - Kalix, la loup-garou solitaire.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

At the end of 1978 I was working in the the Unemployment Benefit office in Brixton, as a temporary clerk. At that time in London it wasn't hard to get a temporary job for a few months if you needed some money. When the contract came to an end after a few months, you could sign on for welfare benefits again, and indeed I signed on at the office in Brixton before I worked there, and afterwards too.

The Unemployment Benefit Office wasn't housed in any sort of office building. I think the building had once been a school. That's what it looked like anyway, an old Victorian School. The large hall where people queued to sign on every week might have been the school's assembly room, and the rooms where people worked were probably classrooms at one time.

In some ways it was quite a gloomy place. It was a shabby old building, not renovated, not well-lit, not warm, not comfortable in any way. On the other hand, the staff were mainly young and friendly and that made it not such a bad place to work.

Fortunately for me, my job didn't involve anything awkward. All I did was take fresh claims. When people came in to sign on as unemployed for the first time, I took their details and filled out the forms. I didn't have to do anything like assess their claims, or tell people that they weren't entitled to welfare, or anything like that. Which is just as well, because I'd have hated to do that.

I thought of this office recently when I heard an old Ian Dury record on the radio. Back in the unemployment office, the radio used to play through the tannoy system, and I have a pleasant memory that one day towards Christmas in 1978, the whole office brightened up when Ian Dury's Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick came on. Everyone liked that record. Everyone responded in some way when Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick played. There were clerks behind counters making little shuffling dance steps, or tapping their feet, and other clerks wandering around behind them singing the words under their breath. Everyone was cheerful while this song was on the radio. So I'm grateful to Ian Dury and the Blockheads for that memory.