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Wednesday, 27 October 2010




So I got back to my editor at the publishers and said about this vulgarity business, may I run a few new words by you?


And she said 'what do you mean, new?'


And I said well, you know you said a lot of women readers won't like me using twat, what if I call it a doodle sock instead?


'No', she said.


How about a cock alley? I said.


'No, still too vulgar and you're making them up'.


I said no I wasn't, these were actual English alternatives from an official dictionary published in 1785 and how did she feel about 'box the Jesuit'? 'What's that?' she said and I explained it was wanking and she put the phone down.


So I called back and said you know you don't like me calling Susie [the hero's adulterous wife] a cheating fucking bitch, how does 'she's a buttered bun' sit with you? And while we're on the subject, may I call her mouth 'a bone box'?


She tutted huffily and I said oh, come on, these are much better words, let's reintroduce the 18th Century to contemporary popular culture.


For instance, I argued, don't you think that a bum brusher is a much better phrase for a schoolmaster? No, she said, she did not.


What about fart catcher, I said. 'What's a fart-catcher?' she said and I said it's what 1785 England used to call the personal assistant of anyone famous, because they walked so close behind their boss, and she said 'that's ridiculous' and I said, well actually, in my experi….but then I thought better of that.


And then she said 'look here, times have changed and our authors must be far more politically correct these days' and I said did that mean I couldn't use Irish beauty to mean a woman with two black eyes? Or a scratchlander to mean a Scotsman?


'I'm Scottish' she said and she didn't have time for all this now as she had to go to the hairdresser. You mean the nit-squeezer I said and she hasn't phoned me back yet.  



Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Book Blog 2



Fuck a priest, I've just heard from the publishers and they said could I take out the vulgarities.


They said 'we are reserving the right to judge that your book may be offensive or pornographic to others and this may effect your royalties'.


Which others, I said.


People who might buy your book, they said.


So I said well hang on a minute, how the fucking hell am I meant to know what people find offensive, who are these righteous cunts? And they said 'that's what we mean'.


So now I'm having to go through the whole bloody book again, rewriting lines like "'Fiddlesticks!', exclaimed the mayor of Hiroshima".


I checked back with the publishers and said what did they call pornographic and they said 'well, you know' and I said no I didn't, actually, and they said 'look it up'.


So I did and then checked back again and said it says here that there has not been a prosecution of textual pornography since Inside Linda Lovelace in 1976. They said 'are you anywhere near inside Linda Lovelace?' and I said well there's no dentistry in the book, what else is banned?


I looked up some more, principally Section 63 of the Criminal Justice Act, and checked back and they said 'what now?' and I said that my attention had been drawn to a definition of  pornography being 'a person performing oral sex with a dead animal' and they said 'yes, and?' and I said 'well how does that work, with it being dead?' and they said I was trying their patience. Only asking, I said. Look up the Obscene Publications Act, they said.


So I did and then checked back and said it says here that a publication is obscene if it 'is likely to deprave or corrupt' and they said 'so?' and I said well, power corrupts so does that mean…. and they said 'just fucking get on with it'.  



Sunday, 24 October 2010

Book Blog 1



It has taken me five bloody years of miserable poverty and near-starvation to get my novel into print – which is pretty good going when you consider that publishers wouldn't touch God's first book for 1,600 years and He had to kill off his main character in the rewrite.


God and I aren't the only ones to have suffered from publishers' clearly-questionable authority as the expert arbiters of what will sell. Apparently it took John Grisham two years and the rejections of 12 publishers before he could go on to shift 250 million paperbacks.


HG Wells had the same problem, more than 10 publishers told him that his War Of The Worlds was a crock of unsellable shit. Mind you, Stephen King topped that – thirty publishers told him that the four-million-seller Carrie was rubbish.


When you add to the tally the many publishers who turned down Orwell's Animal Farm, the 23 of the same who rejected Frank Herbert's Dune and the dozen who said 'no way, never' to J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter then you start to wonder not about how hard it is to get into print but what on earth qualifies anyone to get a job in publishing?


Do they only accept applicants who can display a marked inability to read, or at least can project poor judgement? Publishers must be the literary equivalent of those weathermen who told New Orleans 'good morning Louisiana, it's a fine day ahead and no winds'.


Seriously, how do publishers make a living when time and again and again it has been shown that they would not know how to finger a pulse if they had their heads up inside your carotid artery? What is the mindset that makes these presumably-educated, or at least sentient, oracles say 'you know what, I'm going to pass on this Death Of A Jackal and instead go with Baking In Colour The Armenian Way, I've got one of my hunches about pirozhki'?


Anyway, fuck 'em, blindness is their problem and I don't care because at long last and after more heralding than an international symposium of Peter And The Wolf, my book Rock Bottom is finally coming out for Christmas. I'll be detailing here soon how you can get it.