Monthly Archives: February 2012

What publishers really mean in their rejection letters

You see Barbara? It's not all dogs here.

Not that I’d know myself, you understand. Well, er, except maybe a wee bit… I guess it applies to agents too.

Jonny Geller‘s piece in the Guardian this week pulled back the curtain of euphemism and laid bare the squatting toad of honesty. He’s been tweeting the real meaning of phrases that publishers use to say Get Stuffed under the hashtag #publishingeuphemisms – glib phrases translated below:

“this is too literary for our list” (it’s boring)

“the novel never quite reached the huge potential of its promise” (your pitch letter was better than the book)

“sadly we are publishing a book similar to this next spring” (it too has a beginning, middle and end)

“You should join Twitter” (we are not spending a dime on your publicity) – that one came from the US

“we all fell in love with the book” (my assistant took your manuscript home and has now lost it)

“do you think we need the back story? (I hated the first twenty chapters.)

 “In a way I think the back story IS the story” (I hated the last twenty chapters.) Continue reading

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Filed under art

Witch-hunts and The Sun

The former political editor of the now-on-a-Sunday-too Sun, Trevor Kavanagh, has been complaining about how investigations into phone hacking and bribing police officers at the newspaper have turned into a witch-hunt.

You may think that’s a bit rich, considering we’re talking about a news organisation that hasn’t been exactly dainty in how it’s treated other people.

But eloquent gurner Charlie Brooker has leapt to the defence of the Sun.

The script of his epic 10 O’Clock Live show rant is reproduced here, thanks to Sturdyblog. And as Sturdyblog says – Enjoy…

Some say it’s rich of The Sun to complain about witch-hunts, because it’s conducted plenty of them itself. But that’s really not fair. The Sun has never once conducted a witch-hunt against actual witches. I mean, okay, it has picked on one or two other groups, like…

Social workers
Women in burqas
Left-wingers
Suburban swingers
Binge-drinkers
Forward-thinkers
Gypsies, shirkers
Public sector workers.

Underage mums
Overage mums
Spongers who sit around twiddling their thumbs
Anyone who’s had a fight
Anyone with cellulite
Looters
Saggy hooters
Feminists Continue reading

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An intermission – but not for swearing…

I had to tell you this before it was too late – because it’s only available for a short time.

One caveat though. There’s a lot a swearing Continue reading

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Filed under Film

Serenity v calm

Sure why else would I have been lying here, but to be sat on? (I'm the one looking resigned. Dunno who the reader is.)

I’m fairly calm. When one problem builds on another into a concatenation of catastrophes, I tend to keep my cool.

No – not because I  haven’t a clue about how bad things are. But because I can imagine them being worse. (That’s my theory anyway.) It’s come in handy over the years working in live broadcasting  where the unexpected is not that, well, unexpected.

But calmness is not the same as serenity.

To be calm is to remain focussed and carry on, no matter what.

To be serene is to embrace the slings and arrows – or children piled on top of you while you’re trying to read – and feel an extra warm mmmm of contentment.

Oops, sorry. Wrong picture.

To calm is to withstand being poked.

To be serene is when the poking, pulling, jagging and squashing feels as though you’re being stroked.

Whilst wearing plush velour Continue reading

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Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

My idea of fun

I’m a sucker for a smile…
Veronica

I relish encounters with the unexpected…
Yikes - it's not real.

And Continue reading

33 Comments

Filed under art, D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

Huh! Kids those days…

Young people theose days… Out of control… No respect… Not like when I was a lad/lass… And here’s the evidence!

Your roving reporter met* a specially selected cross section of the population** who shared their own experience and opinions from the sharp end.

  1. “We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They hang around pubs and have no self control.”
  2. “When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of our elders, but young people today are disrespectful and out of control.”
  3. “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets… Their morals are decaying.”
  4. “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behaviour and dress.” 

I blame the parents – the great great great great great …etc… grandparents, that is.

So what’s with this sudden display of concern for society going to hell in a handcart? Just a pretext really, to show you these clever drawings by Hark, a vagrant – and her lovely, clever, zany blog and book. History as it really/never was.

Continue reading

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Filed under art, blogs, history

Beheading snowmen

They just couldn’t wait.

They couldn’t wait to cut the heads of carefully crafted snowmen. What could be so urgent to necessitate the introduction of saw to sculpted neck?

Saving the grass apparently – according to Hounslow Council.

Even as war, hunger and pestilence roam the world, somehow a decapitated snowman deserves his place on the front page. And in some parts of London like Chiswick, there’s been a wholesale decaptitatory crackdown.

Even my Fosters-drinking mate at the railway station has disappeared – and he was fine this morning. Gone without trace.

And for what? It’s snowing again. 

Sure, it may be laudable to clear pavements to save people from slips and broken hips. But who begrudges a snowman?

As we’re having to wait for the sun anyway, why not have the cheery companionship of a snowy sentinel to share the icy times while they last.

We’ll be wading through mud, slush and rain soon enough.

According to the Daily Telegraph, even the Queen has been drawn into the row Continue reading

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Two faces of London

These two faces of London are both trying their best to make the city and the people therein more grounded, more aware and more connected with each other – for which I salute both Christopher West and Emeka Egbuonu.

1. Christopher West brings London’ s history back to life in the persona of Charles Dickens – or perhaps it’s the great man’s ghost. I’ve seen this ghost in action and he’s a lively recreation. And topical given that it would have been Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday today (7th February). The Charles Dickens London blog is here. You can invite him to give a talk – in character and Dickensian outfit – at your gathering. For a sample – check out his appearance in this Voice of America news report by correspondent Dominic Laurie.

My favourite Dickens character? The villain Pecksniff from Martin Chuzzlewit. From Pecksniff we derive Pecksniffian – sanctimonious, hypocritical. (Do you have a favourite – good-hearted or malign?)

And what’s your Dickensian name? To find out take a first name from a great grandparent and add on the name or street name of your primary school (but leave out the “Saint” part to allow variety). Which makes me something along the lines of Charlie Derryvolgie – which has a good ring to it, I think.

Emeka Egbuonu

2. Emeka Egbuonu arrived in east London from Nigeria aged seven, and survived the blows and temptations of teenage violence, to become an anti-gang intervention worker. He runs a scheme called  Consequences – Breaking the Negative Cycle which aims to awaken young people to the alternative possibilities their lives can offer once they take responsibility for their actions. Continue reading

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What do snowmen drink?

Wonder no more – the answer is here.

I saw this guy this morning. In his left hand a can of Continue reading

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Filed under In the village