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tongue sticking out

I got another lovely review for Old, Fat Punks – which is nice, but it came with some problems. As an independent writer with no self confidence, reviews are brilliant both for one’s self esteem (even, often, when they’re negative) and for garnering additional sales. When a couple – both writers and lovely people – both reviewed my book on the US Amazon site, it triggered some sort of automated script that deleted both reviews.

I tried appealing, they tried appealing, but all any of us seemed to get were more automated emails that didn’t seem to stem from a human being. We got nowhere.

You can read more about these shenanigans HERE.

For my part, I understand the need to avoid fake or malicious reviews, but these seems a bit odd. Couples often use the same products, read the same books and are enthusiastic about the same things. Even outside of couples, groups of friends often share housing for years at a time and, similarly, share similar interests. Not only is this creepily intrusive with your data, but it’s counterproductive for Amazon, sellers and consumers.

The really important part is, of course, the actual review…

I loved the book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to Desborough’s clever wit. The setup is ingenious and hilarious: a group of middle-aged punk rocker friends meet in a pub that’s relevance is waning as surely as their own. After they go several rounds comparing sources of unhappiness and lamenting how futile it is to change the world for the better, they manage to hatch a plan that is as brilliant as it is doomed to fail. Or succeed? Does it even matter? The book is a must-read for anyone who craves another perspective on contemporary politics.

For me, this was a 5-star book, in that it was a thoroughly entertaining read, stayed true to its promise, and had zero flaws. It sucked me in and kept me riveted to the end, and I came to care about the characters and their issues, which are real and wholly felt. It resonated with me, and I think it would resonate with other readers.

But you should check out Lisa’s work as well. Clearly she’s a fine writer with excellent taste!

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grimbletideI don’t care about Christmas, but I do care about you.

My friends, my family, my readers, the players of my games.

The people who’ve stuck around, who’ve disagreed with open minds, discussed, defended and worked with one another to muck on through and get shit done. The skeptics, the shitlords, the ‘true liberals’, the artists, the people with the courage of their convictions and a real understanding of friendship.

Thanks dudes.

This last year hasn’t just taken a toll on celebrities that meant something to us, it has taken a massive toll on a lot of people in a lot of ways. Everywhere I look I see people losing parents, friends, pets, marriages, lovers, jobs, money, homes even children – and even their own lives and health.

It has been shit, no question. Politically, economically, socially, professionally, personally, for a whole swathe of people.

The good news is… we survived it (at least I assume nobody is reading this from beyond the grave). It hasn’t all been terrible either. We’re at the crest of a backlash against the authoritarian/regressive/SJW left, the censorious arseholes who have been causing trouble for everyone for years.

The trick will be preventing that backlash turning into an equally oppressive authoritarian right. Perhaps though – finally – we can re-find some balance at the end of this process – in another four years. Perhaps this is also an opportunity (though not one especially being taken up with gusto yet) for the left to modernise and correct its mistakes, rather than doubling down.

We can hope.

Dominant over-cultures create powerful and interesting subcultures. As the dominant force shifts from the authoritarian ‘left’ to the authoritarian right there’s an opportunity for a lot of creative energy to find outlets and it’ll necessarily have to also be anti-PC, there’s bigger fish to fry. I hope and expect we’ll also see the skeptic community turning its ire, fire and focus upon the excesses on the authoritarian right as it did with the left.

I guess, what I’m saying is that there’s hope – and interesting times ahead. We survived the 80s and its constant threat of nuclear Armageddon with a senile, talentless hack actor in charge of the White House. We can survive a corrupt and incompetent ‘reality star’ in the same way. Brexit is shit, but there’s years of negotiations and decisions to go. We can soften it and heck, with the banks abandoning the UK maybe there’s finally impetus to diversify what we do beyond banking services so we can avoid becoming the Venezuela of Europe.

Similarly in Murka, Trump’s incompetence and his blithe obviousness in his corruption (rather than having the good sense to be sneaky about it) may well provide the impetus – finally – to make changes to the American political system to lessen and prevent such things in the future. It may also lead, eventually, to some much needed reform to the electoral college. One can hope the UK also, finally, gathers the gumption in the next swing of the pendulum to reform the hopelessly unrepresentative first past the post system.

Lots of people are despairing, but in some ways things are a bit better. In other ways I see hope. Sometimes you have to burn something down to clear the path for something new.

Anyway, hold onto that hope, try to see the positive changes that have happened along with the negative. Fights never end, they change, but you can acknowledge progress – and the instances in which we were right.

Let’s see what we can do in the new year.

Love,

G

x

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Old, Fat Punks got another lovely review, which I missed because I don’t pay enough attention to my reviews!

People really, really seem to like it, which is encouraging. I probably should write more books and put more effort into finding an agent.

“Well, I took a bung on a book just by its cover. And it was well worth the read. Full of life, with believable characters and a vivid colourful background. As a member of generation x and an ageing hippy, this is brilliant, political and strikes anchors with the masses .”

“To be honest I reckon I know the main characters in the book, so close to some of my own friends.”

“Brilliant. Just brilliant. cannot wait for his next work.”

✮✮✮✮✮

 

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So here’s the plan.

Patreon subscribers will now get the following perks.

  1. Patreon subscribers will get to suggest topics for new Youtube videos and those ideas will be given priority over other topics. Simply use the contact messaging system there to submit ideas.
  2. Patreon subscribers will, monthly, get access to a discount code for one of my existing products, typically allowing them to purchase it at half price. At a buck a month, that should add up fairly quickly to value for money!
  3. Patreon subscribers will be able to suggest other things they’d like access to as perks by messaging in private.

I have removed individual product pages from Facebook and, in their place there are now three pages.

I shall try and make sure I provide updates at least once a month, but social media wrangling on a serious scale does take time away from working.

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My first audiobook is available for download from Audible.com (and soon from other places). You can get it HERE.

It’s a short(ish) story (about half an hour long – so sort of like a radio play in length) about a grubby, disheveled and broadly disliked London detective who’s given a shit case that leads to an interesting place.

This appears to mean that my setup is now good enough for recording audiobooks and voiceovers. So if anyone needs that kind of work done, let me know!

Art for Stain by the lovely Rowena Aitken.

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I’m having problems with my internet.

Specifically, whenever the ADSL is plugged in, the line goes incredibly noisy. If you pick up the phone it sounds like someone crumpling paper while berating you in one of those African clicking languages. This means the internet drops out – frequently – and doesn’t reconnect, sometimes for up to an hour.

Needless to say, for someone who works from home and who also largely relies on the internet for entertainment and companionship, this is an issue.

So, our intrepid adventurer set out to sort this out.

First, he contacted his ISP helpdesk, who informed him that noise on the line was British Telecom’s issue, not theirs.

So he contacted British Telecom, who (eventually) sent out an engineer to tinker with the cables and the faceplates and to test the line. “All is well!” reported the Nepalese engineer, patting our hero’s little wooden statue of Ganesh on his way out. “In fact, your copper wire is much better than it needs to be!”

For a very, very short time, all was well. Then the problem started again.

Our hero contacted British Telecom again, just to be sure and since they’d done everything else (changed filters, tried a different router, replaced the faceplates and tested the line) and since the problem was coming from the ADSL they bounced him back to his ISP.

While consulting at length over days with the ISP and getting things raised up to engineer level, it emerged that our hero apparently had two different ADSL accounts. Each one to a different number.

“This doesn’t sound right…” our hero said, and so looked into it, this time getting bounced between customer service and tech support.

Way back when, due to malicious phone calls to his home number, our hero had had to change his number from XXX to YYY. He had informed his ISP at the time and there had been no problem. Then, earlier this year when he upgraded to truly unlimited business broadband there was an issue. A repeated issue. Despite the number change the ISP repeatedly set up the new broadband on the wrong number (XXX). Eventually, it was sorted out and all was well, it was now – supposedly – associated with YYY.

But no. In investigating this technical issue it seemed that not only was the XXX account still open, but he had been being charged for both for some time. They’d never closed that account. Furthermore, that legacy account, on the phone number he wasn’t even using any more, was apparently the one he was using for broadband now.

Confusion reigned.

BT disavowed knowledge of the XXX number and insisted it had been deactivated. The ISP insisted that this was the number the account he was using (FakeAccountName) was associated with, while the YYY number was associated with FakeAccountName1.

A solution was wrought, though it would have to wait until the noisy line issue was resolved first. FakeAccountName associated with XXX would be closed and FakeAccountName1 would then be renamed to FakeAccountName.

Long story short, I’m taking a couple of mental health days and staying away from telephones for a while, and my internet and email will be spotty for about a fortnight.

*Collapses*

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61ne1wukiwlI had forgotten I contributed to this and that it was out. So, yeah!

Go look.

“Lovecraft After Dark,” a is new collection of erotic horror from JWK Fiction, edited by James Ward Kirk and Roger Cowin. We offer short fiction and poetry blending erotica with the Mythos. Erotic encounters, forbidden romances between humans and the gods and demons of Lovecraft’s world. Ever wonder what obscene romance produced the human / elder god hybrid, Wilbur Whateley? How did the Black Goat of the Wood come to have a thousand young? These are just a few of the ideas explored in “Lovecraft After Dark.” Explore what Lovecraft only hinted at. Let your imagination go wild. We did.

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