Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Monday, 23 May 2011

An Object Lesson

Some random thoughts on returning from Gay's the Word and the launch of John McCullough and Sophie Meyers books.

It's always a treat to see poetry performed live, it comes to life somehow. The reading today put me in mind of Essex Hemphill and Linda King performing at the Oxford Lesbian and Gay Centre; a memorable evening which seems like many lives ago now.

I turned up early to the bookshop and, much to my surprise, it was locked. They were still setting-up inside. If I'd thought about it, I should have checked their opening hours! Only a few people were hanging around outside, and I feared it was going to be poorly-attended. Come seven o'clock and a vast crowd turned up right on time. It was rammed!

And what a pleasure to be in a space devoted to writing by and for our community. It felt like I was coming home. The evening was compèred with vigour by Helen Sandler, who hosts a Queer night at the Vauxhall on the third Tuesday of each month. The big surprise was the question and answer session at the end. One question in particular, the point at which a poem crosses the barrier into polemic (or in so many words)? Not sure how I'd have fielded that if I were in the authors' places! John answered that language was never discourse-free. No surprise there if his PhD was on Foucault! But it raised for me questions about the nature and use of language. Call me a shallow queen if you like, but my mind was focused on two book spines opposite me: "The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio" and "The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus". I couldn't understand why the former was a thicker tome than the latter?

And then, to make the reason for having a gay bookshop plain, I found a copy of Paul Barker's Fantabulosa: a Dictionary of Polari, a book I've been looking for for ages. I duly bought a copy and was surprised when it was thoughtfully wrapped up in a brown paper bag! Do people still worry about carrying gay-identified literature around in public? I thought we'd got over that? If I were on "the down-low" surely I'd have brought my own brown paper bag?

Finally, I found Homo Jihad, the latest offering from Paradise Press on the shelves, still face-out. Which is good news. The bad part is that, like Elsa Wallace's book to be launched in November, the spine was also off-centre. That's 0 for 2 to Lightning Source International who printed both and it makes me think very hard about using them in the future. But to be fair, the book I bought was also 1mm out. Am I getting too prissy in my old age, or does no-one care about the details any more?

1 comment:

  1. lol!

    I think you ARE getting too prissy, Rod!

    I'm older than you, I think, so I'm starting to notice things. When I find common grammar and spelling mistakes in the Times, that's when I start to think that economics have become more important today than standards.

    But, anyway, I see that you HAVE got an agreement with Paradise Press now, so good luck with that and I look forward to hearing about your self-publishing experience and success. (I may go down that route myself, so it's good to learn from those who've trailblazed the route).

    Take care,
    Chris Denton (from Authonomy) :D x


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