Monday, July 31, 2006

No Thank You, Sir

As we all know, one of the world's oldest and most burning questions is: "Just how did they make the video to 'Jump In My Car' by The Hoff?"

Well, now we know.

In other news, erm...

Thursday, July 27, 2006


As I've said before, we writers need to earn a buck any way we can, which includes soiling our delicate hands with the act of selling. My own efforts in this area are in conjunction with Amazon, and together we try to flog books via my site. Here is my latest sales report:

Total shipped to customer this quarter: 0.00
Referral fee this quarter: 0.00
Credit referral fee / subscription bonuses: 0.60
Total Referral fee: 0.60
ASIN Title Fee % Price Qty Fees
Marketplace - Books
1852428511 Deadfolk 0.0% 0.50 1 0.00

As you can see, a lot of room for growth there, which is always good to have. But what I'm wondering is what cheap bastard paid 50p for Deadfolk? Fifty flipping pence!? That book is worth NEARLY TWICE that. And a copy signed by me is worth NEARLY AS MUCH. Erm, let me just check that...

In other news, it is hot.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Which is how you're meant to pronounce Harrogate, so I was told. Being a sensible person I totally ignored it and went on pronouncing it "Harrogate". Anyway, I had a great time, if you don't count the drive home when our way was blocked by a major RTA just in front of us, and some very bad stuff going on there. But the fest itself? A fine one.

The reason why I (strictly small-time) was there at all was because I was lucky enough to do an event a couple of years ago at the Birmingham Book Fest alongside Mark Billingham (large-fry) who was this year's organising committee presidente, and he is a generous as hell guy and man of his word. Where this got me was on a panel called "Unique Voices", which I guessed was the four writers who didn't fit anywhere else. Namely John Connolly, Stella Duffy, Shane Maloney, moi, and the urbane Marcel Berlins in the chair. It was a good panel and I enjoyed it (depsite the heat), but anyone who was there will know that it got kind of diverted down a strange and unnecessary side-road that didn't make much sense. Well, maybe everyone there wouldn't think that, but I sure as hell did, and I suppose it must have come across from my comments, when I could shoe-horn a word in. But I guess it's also true that strange side-roads, when driven down with enough shouting and swearing and sweat, make good entertainment. So there's that. Like I say, it was a good panel and I was grateful to be on it. It just could have been more interesting if it had stayed a little calmer and under control, and I knew what the hell people were talking about.

Most of the rest of my time there was spent (accompanied by my wife Lisa) in the bar, drinking and talking shit with God knows who. I got there about 2pm Friday and was gone before 24 hours were up. This isn't because I didn't like the fest, but because, well, we've got obligations elsewhere, youngun-wise. But I don't think I could have lasted anyway. Some of those guys, they're on the solid drink and yak from opening night to closing morn, and I don't know how it's done. The drinking I can go with, but how can you talk so much? I like to be sparing with my words. I'm like one of them red indians who don't like having their photo taken because it takes away some of their spirit, so they demand 5 dollars. I'm like that, but no one has yet paid me 5 dollars or even 5 cents (maybe I should ask in sterling next time). But hey, there are some entertaining blokes and birds out there, I'll say that.

As for star spotting, fuck that. Ian Rankin was around most of the time but what are you supposed to say? "Hi Ian, er... Can I polish yer shoes, sir?" What? I thought I saw PD James at one point, sitting on a table with a bottle of plonk in one hand and a fag in the other, but Keiran Wiggins told me I was wrong. (I'm still not sure.) And also I thought I saw David Hasselhoff, but I see him everywhere so don't worry about that.

One final thing: crime writers are, by and large, way cool people. And crime readers too. I never really understood conventions before I went along as a writer, but I do now.

People who I met there, it was great chatting to you. I don't recall one bad conversation (from my side of it anyway).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Zidane Ban

So Zidane gets banned for 3 games and fined a paltry sum for his iconic butt on Matterazzi. What I don't understand is... why did he bother turning up to the FIFA hearing at all? The man is now retired from footy. What are they gonna do if he flicks the V and tells them where to go? It's like doing a Saturday morning detention the week after you've left school. Tell them to fuck off, Zidane.

As if I didn't have anything better to do...

I set up a Myspace page. I'm not even sure what Myspace is, but I set up the page (Thanks to Anastasia for advice and blunt criticism.) Anyway, take a look:

What is supposed to happen now? I don't know and don't care. I'm off to the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival to do a panel on "Unique Voices", meet a few writerly folks, and get bladdered.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Reality Guys

Back around 1980, when I was a whippersnapper, there was a bloke in Worcester known widely as Mad Colin. He would turn up at any kind of public gathering, such as the annual bonfire and firework display at Pitchcroft, and hang around the periphery on his Raleigh Grifter bike, which was like a sort of forerunner to the BMX. I had a Grifter too (blue), as did my brother (red) and most other kids around Worcester (unless they had Choppers). But Mad Colin was not a kid. He was in his 20s (at a guess). And no one ever spoke to him. In my memory, whenever approached, he kicked the pedals and disappeared on that Grifter. He looked a bit like Wayne Rooney, before anyone had ever invented Wayne Rooney. I have no idea who coined the name "Mad Colin", but it really worked, if you know what I mean.

Not long ago I finished writing a novel entitled MAD COLIN (my first one since the three Mangel books). I started out wanting to tell a story about the real Mad Colin, but it kind of shifted (as these things always, ALWAYS do) until all I was left with was the name. But the name really works for it, if you know what I mean. (Hopefully you will see this book some day soon.)

It made me think of writing. Nearly every piece of fiction I start is grounded in reality. A real person, event, place, or (usually) all three. But you set out to use those real things in your story, maybe tell the story how it truly happened, and you realise you have no control. The story takes over. Those reality guys are not your characters at all. Your characters are different people entirely, and if you try to bend them into the shapes of the reality guys, it ain't gonna work.


There is one character in DEADFOLK and FAGS AND LAGER who is real, right down to the name, and what you see there on the page is exactly what you got in real life 20 years ago. I tried to make him different in some way but he just wouldn't budge. Not even his name. Stubborn bastard.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Let's be careful out there

The "Charley says" series of public service films are legendary. Shown on British TV in the 70s, they featured a wise cat (Charley) who warned kids not to do stupid things like setting themselves on fire with a box of matches, drinking a bottle of vodka, knocking over your dad's bottle of light ale, or hanging around with strange men. 30 years later many of those dangers have disappeared. Kids these days carry lighters, for example. And light ale is only found at larger branches of Tesco. But strange men are still a very real and present danger, and kids would do well to listen to Charley's warnings about climbing into their cars. However, Charley is gone.

But all is not lost.

This is a Hoff world, remember.

[A nod to Mrs Anastasia Banks.]

Monday, July 10, 2006


Isn't this natural? I mean, why is everyone jumping to condemn? Zidane has spent his football life holding back, staying cool, keeping his head. Minutes to go in a game - his final game - that is destined for stalemate (penalties are a sordid affair and no way to go out). Matterazzi provokes him and for once Zidane thinks "Well, fuck it. Nothing to play for now so I'll just turn around here and show that fucker..." Jesus, it wasn't even like he butted the guy's face. It was the ram of an incensed Billy goat. And, come on, it was beautiful, wasn't it?

As for all those who are going on about kids watching the game and what it will say to them... what do you think it will say to them? That you win games by crazy goat tactics? No - that you get sent off for it and do not win the World Cup. A guy takes issue at something and there is a moment of violent retribution. Let the kids see it. It's the way of the world. They'll be seeing worse.

Zinedine Zidane - STILL A HERO.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

Chandelier Hoff

AP via New York Times:

LONDON (AP)-- Former ''Baywatch'' star David Hasselhoff had surgery after severing a tendon in his right arm in an accident in a London gym bathroom, his spokeswoman said Friday.

The 53-year-old actor, who played lifeguard Mitch Buchannon on the TV beach drama for 11 years, was shaving at a gym in the Sanderson Hotel on Thursday when he hit his head on a chandelier, showering his arm with broken glass, his publicist, Judy Katz, said.

Doctors operated to repair the injury and Hasselhoff spent one night at St. Thomas' Hospital in central London, Katz said.

'He's fine,' Katz said by phone from New York. 'He's out of the hospital and will resume filming tomorrow.'

Hasselhoff is working on an ad campaign for Pipex, a British internet company, she said.
Hail Hoff, king of kings. If Hoff jumps very high in the air whilst shaving in a London gym, hitting the chandelier, then it was for a reason. Hoffworld is located on a plane far higher than our own, and events that occur there are outside our comprehension. All we know is that they happen for the greater good of humanity and creation.

Thanks to Jenny for spotting this.