Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Cavity Exploration

Our guest blogger at the end of the week will be the most powerful man on the planet, Barack Obama. The Moose had forwarded a list of questions to The White House. Yesterday was spent in the company of several large security officials, three pairs of latex gloves and a dog. Moose HQ was swept for bugs and I can confirm that none were found in the building. I have been given an orange jumpsuit and await further travel arrangements to an island somewhere in the Caribbean. The London Bookfair looms and hopefully we have someone there to sell the foreign rights for 'The art of being dead.' For a small publisher like Bluemoose Books any foreign rights sales are a boon to future publishing as we can invest monies that we receive, after paying the author his due, into books we have ready and waiting. Still no word from the two Johnnies, Messrs Depp and Marr. May I warn them that Barack's latex wearing friends are on their way to ask them a few questions.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Royal Engagement

It is with great pleasure that The Moose and The House of Windsor, formerly Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, announce the engagement of The Moose and Prince William. Their previous love was thwarted by the arcane rulings of the Acts of Settlement and Succession which banned someone dipped in the Vatican font from marrying into the royal family. No longer. The marriage will take place in 2010 and will be officiated by Sir David Attenborough. Dress will be informal, although any reference made to the Teutonic Couture House, circa 1939-45, beloved by so many European Royals, will not be appreciated. The Moose's Mother will not be in attendance having been shot by Prince Philip in the summer of 1976. She is now a hat stand at The Canadian Enbassy in London. All presents, gifts, monies and small countries gratefully accepted.
Thanks go to Jane at, http://www.howpublishingreallyworks.com/ for her pitch party yesterday. I've surfed the cyber blogging world and if I haven't managed to thank everyone who popped along to Moose HQ, I'm doing so now. Thanks.
Off to make the outfit for the G20 demonstration on Thursday. If you see any antlers next to Obama and Gordon, It is I, The Moose, reeking revenge.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

My Lost Hour

I am in a rush becasue the Time Lords have stolen an hour from me. Is there someone I can complain to? John Major had the Cone Hotline, does Gordon have the Hour loss directive you can vent your spleen at?The good people of this sceptred isle have voted with their wallets and not bought Ms Myerson's exploitative book about her son. Even after the square miles of column inches from her meeja chums it has failed to hit the bestselling charts. My faith has been restored. Is this some kind of celebrity backlash? Probably not, but it just goes to show if you call yourself a fiction writer, do just that. Write fiction, don't drag your family into your stories and expose them for profit. After the cash cow that was Harry Potter, I think Bloomsbury may have a few returns to sign for. Off to try and reclaim my lost hour. How long will the queue be?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Freud's a Fraud

Well I'll go to the bottom of our stairs! Notes from a bookseller. Yesterday I got an email for Jonathan at Bookseller Crow on the hill in London. They are participating in the Exclusively Independent promotion, and as you know, The art of being dead is one of the titles being showcased. Yann Martel(Life of Pi), his partner bought a copy of Steve's book, and by the 6 degrees of seperation law, Steve is a Booker winner. So the Moose got to work. I got in contact with the biggest and most high profile PR company in the land. Freud Communications. They are steller. Have a filofax of names that's bigger than God's. Mrs Freud is Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of you know who. Ssh, he may be listening. Anyway, I contacted them and asked them to do some Pro Bono work for Bluemoose. Well, they're massive and now that we've won a prize, we needed someone to sort out all the glitzy networking. Get The art of being dead reviewed in all the Big Papers. They haven't returned my emails. Stewards of Bah. I will have to call in a few favours from my favourite Astral tar and featherer. Holistic knee capping isn't out of the question either. Mr. Freud, I wouldn't worry about your dreams, mate, I'd worry about the
be-antlered publisher charging at you from all points north.
If you happen to be travelling to Hebden Bridge, you will see in the wonderful Station Cafe on Platform One, The Bluemoose Library. Free books to read and share. It's the way forward because you never know who'll pick one up and then make a film. Tarantino often pops over to Hebden to refuel his creative thermos flask. On the Hollywood front, no word from Johnny Depp. Mind you it is Easter time, I bet that Vanessa woman has got him up the ladders doing a bit of a spring cleaning. These pirates, what can you do?

Friday, 27 March 2009

Book Shifter

The Moose has been to Londinium again. Twice in two weeks. So it wasn't me who threw a brick at Sir Fred's House. Titter ye not. Laugh, my antlers are still glowing.I apologise to the CCTV operatives in the various Waterstones in London who witnessed a man in a big coat taking Steve's book off the shelves, you can't sell them there, spine on, and moved them onto the tables that were promoting, Cult Fiction,' It was I. I'm trying to make you money. It works, ask managers in the North. I am a book shifter. I am trying to knock up a draught that once taken will make me invisible. Or perhaps I'll read Mary Poppins again.
We're on the road again next week, so if you're in the Cambridge area The Moose and Steve Clayton, author of 'The art of being dead,' will be at Borders Cambridge @ 6.30pm on Thursday the 2nd of April. Steve will be doing a reading and I'll be answering questions on indie publishing. The event has been organised by Cambridgeshire Libraries and their reading groups. The Moose was born in Ely, which is just down the road from Cambridge but I haven't been back since I was 15, which is several moons ago. Steve will also be appearing on Radio Cambridge @ 3.00pm on The Sue Dougan Show, so if you can't get to the event, tune in, and listen to tales of derring do, life with John Peel, turning down Marc Bolan for the drummers job for T.Rex and listening to what Scott Pack at http://www.meandmybigmouth.typepad.com/ says is a 'brilliant novel from a significant new writer should be hailed as such.'
Off to find my young persons Chemistry set.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Selling Children

The Moose is soon to do a 'Myerson.' I have been signed up by a national newspaper to tell porkies, discuss what my children do, listen in on their coversations, read their diaries and then write about them, sex drugs and Facebook. I thought child prostitution was illegal in this country, apparently not. If you have the right Meeja credentials, attend the right dinner parties and speak the same language then you'll be signed up by a publisher, make lots of money, wring your hands and then appear in lots of newspapers and on TV channels. The whole episode stinks.
To sell your children for profit will now be called, 'A Myerson.'

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Gaol or Bust

I had an interesting email conversation with a journalist from The Observer yesterday. He was trying to justify why his newspaper had gone all gooey over the recent Jeffrey Archer book, three weeks and lots of column inches about the great author and perjurer. His defence was, 'He's got a book to promote and he's famous.' Well that's what I call cutting edge journalism. No wonder they're losing readers by the thousands with creative thinking like that. So Celebrity Authors are here to stay. Heaven forfend that they may actually review anything from a new writer with something different to say. So, to get continuous coverage in The Observer you have to be over 70, have served time at her majesty's pleasure, be famous and love cricket. Simples.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Avast abaft and Archer

Now, I'm not going to cast the first stone at our literary friend, the disgraced Lord Archer of Perjury, go on then, here's a googly, but why has The Observer given valuable column inches to him every Sunday in its last three issues? Yes he has a new book out, that's one Sunday's considered lit ed piece, but then the following Sunday we get a substantial piece on his love of cricket, literary content none, and yesterday there is another considerable chunk given over to him and his historical faux pas. And there was a picture of his new book plastered over the Archfest love in. What has he over the Observer? Or has his publisher Macmillan being wining and dining everyone at that independent organ at Heston Bluementhal's bug free cafe? PR nonsense, but very successful at that. Now Observer people, I know times are hard but you really are serving your readers short with stuff like this. With paper sales going through the floor, you're not doing yourselves any favours. I'm taking my two pounds and taking it elsewhere. That's one less sale, plus I will be telling everyone I know. That's two sales down the plughole. The future of the novel is in new writers not celebrity cricket playing disgraced peers. Now Mr Editor, can you find the clue in the word NEWSpaper? Yes, now get your quill out and do your job or tinternet boy will do it for you.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Passive Reading

It is now officially safe to read again. Government officials coordinating with the World Bank have agreed that there is now enough money in the world economy to go out and buy books. Due to the success of quantative easing, we don't now have to buy 'safe' books anymore. It has been decreed that bold and original fiction can be read without affecting your credit rating.
You can return all celeberity books and receive a full credit. Health warnings on new writing has been removed but you can't read them in company. Passive Reading can be dangerous.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

The Blue Prize For Literature

Bluemoose Books along with its co partners, Apple, is proud to announce the biggest prize in Literature. The £150,000 annual fiction prize will be awarded to what the panel of judges think is the most groundbreaking piece of fiction written by a male from the United Kingdom.
The prize is open to males, over the age of 40 born in June, between the 16th and 22nd of that month.

The judges will be.

Two sticks Tony.
Geoff the Postman
And a librarian.

The closing date for entries is October 31. 2009

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Moose Road trip

Back to the comfort of good old Hebdonia. The trip to London was a great success. Stephen Clayton and I along with the Judith his wife did a whistle stop tour of a few independent bookshops who are supporting The Exclusively Independent promotion http://www.exclusivelyindependent.com/ The sun was cracking the flags and our first port of call was Bookseller Crow on the hill. We dropped in and spoke to Jonathan, the owner and quickly found out what a passionate bookseller he is, which is reflected in a wonderfully eclectic and contemporary selection of books, including a great childrens selection. The art of being dead was on display, in full view and some retail chains I won't mention, OK I will, Waterstones, could learn a thing or two about selling new books. You can't sell them if the public can't see them. Rocket science I know, but I'll send a few of them on a course. The next stop was Dulwich books, again, passionate booksellers and Ray there had chosen Steve's book as he was on the EI panel.
On to Hammersmith library for the big event. The crowning glory in the Bluemoose World tour of libraries .Sixty people turned up to listen to a varied array of talent and different stories from the six authors there to read form their newly published novels. All very exciting. There was a Q and A about indie publishing and a vibrant and hopefully informative evening was had by all.
The following morning and it was on to Housmans bookshop on the Caledonian Road. It's a must visit shop, next door to Kings Cross and so for all those travellers heading up to the North East and Scotland give Starf**cks a miss and pop into a wonderful indie bookshop.
The lasting impression is that we still have fantastic independent bookshops run by brilliant booksellers who are passionate about books and the written word. Long may they continue.
So it's back to Hebden, shoulder to the wheel with its Astral tar and feathering, Holistic knee capping and I must remember the cats in for it's annual MOT and colonic irrigation. God its a poetic life, it really is.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Hammersmith or Bust

Off to see the Queen with Stephen Clayton, author of The art of being dead and his wife Judith. We've packed sandwiches and a flask. All very excited. It's part of the Exclusively Independent promotion, www.exclusivelyindependent.com and Steve will be reading from his book and I'll be ranting, talking for a few minutes about independent publishing and the woes, no opportunites given to indies in these maddening times at Hammersmith library. There will be no blog tomorrow because I'll be far away in a strange country and I don't have the skills to do things when I'm away from the comfort of my own home and PC. I know you can do it via laptop and other such fandangly engines of modernity but I don't possess the cyber knowledge between the ears. I'm not going down the Twitter route either. Jaysus, can't think of anything worse. I know all the cyber celebrity geeks out there are doing it, but it reminds me of all those American and Japanese tourists you see who experience their holidays through the lens of their video cameras without actually seeing with their own eyes. Call me old fashioned. You're old fashioned, but I don't care. Twitter ye not, I'm going to see what the big people are doing in London and then I'll tell you the day after tomorrow. I know, I'm just one big tease. Ta,ta, off to try and dodge the congestion charge. Boris, The Moose is afoot.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Although The Moose will be giving a passing nod to his Irish forbears, unlike his American cousins he won't be turning green for St Patrick's day. There may be a sprig of Shamrock from his antlers though. I spent a couple of hours yesterday listening to a chap from Literature North West, talking about independent publishers in Manchester and the surrounding environs. Despite the economic climate, a livlier and more optimistic bunch you are less likely to meet. If you want great short stories, art, some mischief and a bit of the Manc swagger that goes down so well in the Sarf of England, look no further than Transmission Magazine, http://www.transmission.com/ and Flux, http://www.fluxmagazine.com/ . For the poetic amongst you there is Carcanet, who have several Nobel prize winners on their books. Not my cup of tea mind, but there's room for everyone. Independent publishers bring a vibrancy and vigour, great stories from new writers that wouldn't normally get an airing from the formulaic and generic publishing houses that think challenging writing is Celebrity Noir Autobiographies. I won't be so crass to say that the Indies are coming but at a time when the large mainstream publishing houses are drawing further into 'safe' publishing, independent publishers have a fantastic opportunity to work and build some very exciting and new writers that have compelling stories to tell. If you can get to Hammersmith Library tomorrow, Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm you will meet five new authors reading from their novels. Great stories, beautifully told.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Independent Bookshops

Wednesday the 18th March is a big day for the Moose and especially Stephen Clayton. As part of The Exclusively Independent promotion, http://www.exclusivelyindependent.com/ Steve, author of The art of being dead, has been invited down to the Metropolis to read from his novel at Hammersmith Library, doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm. Tickets have been selling for £30,000 pounds, well, it was worth a Michael Jackson punt, and he is also doing four signings at Indie Bookshops in the capital. Dulwich Books, Bookseller Crow on The Hill, Housemans and Peckham Review. For independent publishers like Bluemoose, and that's independent in the true sense, not indie in the Faber and Bloomsbury mold, EI is a fantastic opportunity to showcase new writers with something different to say. The Moose wanted to joind the IPG, independent Publishing Group, but the annual fee is £500 and there's no sliding scale for fees according to turnover. Now £500 goes a long way to designing a jacket and methinks the burghers of the IPG should have a rethink. I'm still waiting to hear from the publishers association who I contacted on Friday morning regarding an enquiry about foreign rights although a kindly rights specialist did contact me and I've now sorted that particular problem out. Thank you Jane. Much appreciated. Laura Brudenell, the high priestess of publicity and marketing for the House of Moose completed the 13 mile course of the Bath half marathon yesterday. Congratulations. She was dressed as a Bluemoose, you can't have missed her, so today she's bathing her antlers in salt. Off to sunny Manchester today, will report back to see what 'that dirty old town ' has been up to over the weekend.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Grand Theft Shakespeare

I know there is that maxim, 'Those that can do, those that can't teach,' however, my youngest son came home on Friday, I won't mention his name a la Myerson, lets call him son of Moose. They're studying The Enlightenment, French Revolution etc and his history teacher told him that a good book to read, to give him some background to what was happening around the mid 17 Century was Candide by Voltaire. Inspired teacher. Now, there are lots of parents out there who can't get their teenagers to read books, period, but to get a 14 year old off games like , Pro Ev, or Slaughter and The Dogs,great band from the 1970's Manchester Punk scenes, gets the thumbs up from me. Perhaps the way forward in getting Shakespeare into the consciousness is to make it into a game to be played by two combatants. There's enough gore in most of Bill's ouevre to get the average gamers heart and thumbs racing. King Lear could certainly give Grand Theft Auto a run for its money. Now what is the bank manager's number? 666 6666 666.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Comic Relief

Today I tried to get some help from the Publishing Association to find out about foreign rights. They were closed. I left a message. They haven't phoned back. I hope they were out doing something for comic relief because that's the only excuse I'll accept. I've just been watching one of the many films from Africa narrated by Annie Lennox. Very upsetting. Puts everything in perspective really.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Barack's package

As the Literary Editors in Londinium refuse to acknowledge that some great books are being published by independent publishers, the Moose has decided to hire the help of the most powerful man on earth. No it's not Tony Blair, or even the Pope, or perhaps they are now the same person, it is Barack Obama. A package is wending its way across the pond to Pennsylvania Avenue and it will be a hardback copy, very rare indeed now, of The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton. Do not be surprised to see the saviour of the universe holdong this copy when he descends the steps of Airforce One as he attneds the G20 summitt in Britain next month. The answer to the universe is not 42, it's TAOBD. There. When BO says all the right things, all you lit eds will have egg on your faces. You wait and see. The Moose will not be wearing a red nose today. For purely aesthetic reasons, his nose will be blue. I thank you.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Via a link from www.meandmybigmouth.typepad.com I watched 'Title fight,' on The Money Programme which looked at Bookselling and Publishing in the UK, especially how a title is promoted through the High Stret and the costs therein, which are phenomenal. To get one title promoted as say 'Book of the week' can cast a hundred thousand pounds. Not my figures, those of Mr Finlay, the biggest cheese at Transworld. If your pockets are not big enough forget it. You may have the best damned book in the world but it isn't going to get the best promotional slots because you can't afford it. I'ts the way of the retail world. Annoying, yes, but you just have to try and work round it. Do something different, like kidnap Area Managers and the like. We were lucky, a local Wats manager fell in love with The art of being dead and gave Bluemoose half a window, gratis. And he put it on the Booksellers' Choice promotion. Excellent, but this was only one store but it worked. Given prime spots, the public buy. If this had been rolled out across the country, Stephen Clayton, the author would now be strolling along the streets of Hebden Bridge in a smoking jacket, whirling a silver topped cane and proffering pearls of wisdom, appearing on late night book programmes with the Lit Eds crying out for interviews. Apparently Dawn French got over £2Million for her book, now you have to shift a skip load to even break even on those numbers, and there's the marketing and promotional costs on top. And all that time spent assauging Sleb egos. It would be interesting to see what profit they actually made, if any. Dawn, we need to know. She'll be wearing a red nose tomorrow because she's already laughed her way to the bank, but will her publisher?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Moose Project

The Moose is entering into a publishing project with the local high school and local authority which is very exciting indeed. The idea is to follow the progress of a manuscript from the moment it pops onto the floor of Moose Mansions through the editorial, typesetting, jacket design, production, printing, marketing and finally selling the book to high street booksellers and libraries. Students and reading groups will be a part of the whole process and via a designated webiste and weekly meetings will be able to conribute to each stage. Both reading groups and students will be given the task of, 'how they would market the title to retailers and library groups. Will the students use Facebook, Myspace and Utube? Where will reading groups pitch their ideas? It will interesting to see whether the students, aged between 14-18 will think they should publish a book at all or just have it as a download. The reading group are a different deomographic, they are aged above 44 years. Will they go for the standard book format instead? Once I have ticked all the boxes had the CRB checks and it has been decided I am not a menace to society, I will keep you posted. The future's so bright I've got to wear shades. As if.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Landlocked Submariner

The people of Blackburn were very generous in their praise at the The Central library last night, where Stephen Clayton, author of The art of being dead read from his novel. Steve and myself went to a pub for a drink before the event. It was about 7pm and after we got our drinks we were approached by a man who was having problems with his plaited legs. They were refusing all instructions and he weaved his way towards us. He'd popped out for a fag and on his return he couldn't locate his beer. It wasn't a big pub. This caused the Moose antennae to register the first signs of concern. We needn't have worried. His beer was found and he started to talk. And talk and talk. He told us his life story three times within five minutes. He'd been married six times, had been a submariner, loved women and told us he was crazy. He wasn't, he was pissed and had two teeth and held on to his beer like a premature baby does to life. We bade farewell and exited left. I'm wondering if this man will appear somewhere in Steve's next book. Imagination and observation unlike the exploitation of your children, Julie Myerson, are the bricks to build any good story.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Speaking in tongues.

I am just re- reading 'The Throwback,' by Tom Sharpe, very funny. Sharpe is up there with P.G.Wodehouse as one of the authors guaranteed to make the Moose laugh and titter. I am off to see those splendid people at The Arts Coucil today. The Moose has a project in mind, and I hope they will divvy up. Pole dancing and speaking in tongues doesn't feature, so I'm quite hopeful. If they don't, then my thoughts on how splendid they are might change. Fickle? I should coco.
The world tour of libraries starts again today with an event at Blackburn Central Library tonight at 7.30pm. Sandwiches and flask packed, bullet proof vests on. The public can be brutal.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Bullet Proof Rushdie

I was reading in the press yesterday about a site dedicated to Sarah Jessica Parker. It had the fantastic name of http://www.sarahjessicaparkerlookslikeahorse.com/ and then there is and that got me thinking. What sites would the Moose like to throw out there into cyberland? Probably too many to mention, but there is one site that I might like to run. I was flicking through all the Salman Rushdie stuff about Satanic Verses and the Fatwah, I blogged about it briefly last week, and there is an uncanny similarity between Salman's smug photo that's produced whenever he's in the news and the enigmatic smile of The Mona Lisa. If you place one on top of the other, they are in fact the same person. Salman Rushdie IS The Mona Lisa. Perhaps that's why he's always on the news with his opinions. He is La Giaconda. He is in fact Leonardo Da Vinci. He is a character in his own Dan Brown novel. Salman Rushdie is Dan Brown.Now my webiste will be called Salmanrushdielookslikethewmonalisa
First I have to call the press, and then we can have Mr Rushdie placed behind bullet proof glass in the National Portrait Gallery. There he would be safe and the beauty for us is that he won't be able to write again. Ever. Now that's what I call progress.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Bluemoose and Custard

All marketing and publicity plans have been shelved. The way forward is the custard pie. Or coloured custard in a cup. It was wonderous to see Lord Mandelson of Guacemole being hit in the face with green custard. So the Moose has decided that to get TV, Radio and Press coverage all future book promotions will start off with ' a Blue Custard,' hit. All politicians take note. All literary editors of the press take heed. Mind you I might just throw custard on them all for the hell of it. Mr Tonkin gave a half a page yesterday to the new book by Lord Archer of Prison. Now our Jeff may be a fine citizen, though the courts didn't think so, so why does his 15th tome get all this press coverage? We know what fare will be dished up and that's not newsworthy. So, the first Blue custarding will be over Jeffrey Archer. Job done. Watch this space. Now I suspect I will be arrested by the cyber police for promoting anti social behaviour. They will handcuff my antlers and throw away the key. Free the Moose One. From Archer to Alcatraz, that could be Jeff's next book.

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Blogging Moose

The Moose and Stephen Clayton have been guest bloggers this week at http://www.exclusivelyindependent.com/ who chose Steve's book, The art of being dead to be promoted throughout indie bookshops and libraries in the metropolis. The promotion is being sponsored by the arts council and Legend Press. They wanted a few words from the publisher and the author. How the book started life and stuff like that. David versus Goliath. Small publishers versus the big boys, but it's really more about how we got a wonderful story onto the bookshelves and into the hands of the book buying public. If you want to hear more, The Moose is on the road again on Monday 9th March at Blackburn Central Library @ 7.30pm and on Tuesday Steve will be speaking to the Hebden Bridge Reading Group. Missionaries at home and all that.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Two Johnnies

This week the Moose has been a bit of a celebrity tart. I have sent The art of being dead to some famous people. Why? Because it is a damn fine book. And it's cheaper than wining and dining literary editors . For the price of a stamp, I hope they will rave and shout about it, then tell all their celebrity chums and before you know it, Stephen Clayton, the author, is on the front page of all the literary gossip sheets. Sales go through the roof and Bluemoose can publish more brilliant stories. I wanted a 'Ginger,' Spice Girl moment. Do you remember when she was photographed reading, 'A Road less travelled,' and sales went ballistic? Well, I've sent the book to the Two Johnnies. Messrs Depp and Marr. It will make a great film, Mr. Depp just needs a nudge in the right direction. It has nothing to do with the fact that Steve's wife Judith thinks he's a bit of allright. And Mr Marr, well I love the Smiths. I also gave a copy to the poet laureate. I've covered all the basis. Film. Music. Literature. See you all on the red carpet at the Oscars in three years time. I'm having the frock knitted as we speak.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Good Moose News

The Moose returned from Newcastle last night after a tour of the new central library and a meeting with the great and the good. I was ready for a fight. However, I remain unbruised and the antlers are still pointing in the right direction. It is heartening to report that Newcastle City council have decided that the library is an an esential service for the citizens of that borough. When all the library news nationally is about closures, to see the £25 million pound investment in a state of the art library in the middle of a thriving city centre is brilliant. The building is bright, light and accessible and of course everything from the issuing of books and the use of laptops is free. The Moose made his point to Roy Clare, cheif executive of the government funded MLA, museums libraries archive, and I also sat down and had a chat with the poet laureate Andrew Motion. They both agreed that libraries are essential, especially given the economic climate, and it is good to see library attendance up by 38% nationally. I was speaking to the converted. Everybody was saying all the right things, which was pleasing but worrying at the same time. When governement funded bods agree with me I start to worry. Are they just acquiescing to get me to move on? Anyway, a good day was had by all, and I've seen the future of the library service in Newcastle and it looks good. I do have an issue with PFI, which is how the building has been funded, it's like paying for your house with a credit card, but that's another fight for another day, but the citizens of Newcastle have a fantastic new library and I congratulate the council for everything they're doing in their provision of a first class library service. Other councils should take note, with political will and public consultation, providing an excellent library service could win you votes. Library vote shocker and the food was pretty good too.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Mona Rushdie

In these times of economic hardship when executive evacuation is hitting the fan at an alarming rate, you need laughter. The Mooses tonic for the day is anything by P.G Wodehouse or Tom Sharpe. In fact in these 'Alice in Wonderland,' days Berty Wooster seems a beacon of intelligence and sobriety. I've also been dipping into S.J Perelman who is as witty and amusing as any American writer plying his trade today. Perhaps its just me but there does seem to be a dearth of great comedic writers these days or is it the fact that editors don't think they can sell humorous books? Surely when we're all going to hell in a hand cart clutching our maxed out credit cards, laughter is the tonic required. An editorial director told me last year that they had had had their fingers burned trying to publish humorous books. Well, you're not marketing them right. If you have a great story, beautifully told and it is funny, we will buy it. Trust me, I read books. In the late 70's and 80's when we were also suffering an econimic meltdown, Tom Sharpe was one of the biggest selling authors in the world. Now, you're not telling me there isn't someone out there today with similar writing credentials? Kick the miserabilists into touch and start selling something to put a smile on our faces. My challenge for all the commissioning editors out there is that if they can publish a humorous title that can make Salman Rushdie smile again, the Moose will eat his own antlers. Now that would be funny.

Monday, 2 March 2009

The Moose is off to Newcastle tomorrow. I've been invited to meet Andrew Motion, who is opening the new Central Library in Newcastle. I have written a poem for the occassion. It is part of the Moose Rant about the closure of libraries. I've been having an online discussion with Roy Clare, the Chief Executive of The Museums and Libraries Archives. He's your man to see about libraries giving 'Value for money.' Mmm. Can't do that if they're shut Roy. Roy used to be a Rear Admiral. He knows a lot about boats so he was given the job. He already has a CBE so he must be important. I have ironed my publishers shirt and have looked up on Wikipaedia on how to eat a Canapes. I don't have a problem with pies and peanuts but you can bet you're bottom dollar the burghers of Newcastle have ordered lots of multi coloured food no bigger than a fifty pee piece that live on silver platters. I may even take a picture. I have had to fill in a CRB check for a visit to a prison in the North of England, and now all my poems are under national scrutiny, so I can't tell you what I've written for the Poet Laureate. What I can tell you is that it rhymes and follows the lines of Der der der der der der der, der der der der der. Der der der der der der der. Der der der der der der. There's money in this poetry lark.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

St Bono

The BBC is having a love in with U2, which is newsworthy as they are the biggest band in the world, haven't released a record in 5 years and probably are the saviours of the record industry as we know it. You can also download their album for free from all manner of sites this week, which is a good thing. But you can't get away from two things when you talk about U2, and it's not the music.
1. Bono's glasses. Don't Bono, you're a middle aged man with teenage children. It's embarrassing for them and us.
2.You talk about aid and philanthropy but you don't pay your taxes in the country you live in. Ireland. You have some complicated set up in Holland to save you a few Punts. And you call for your government to increase it's aid budget. Well, matey it could do if people like you with mounds of the stuff paid what you should in taxes.Now, you've raised more money than I probably ever could, which I applaud you for, but when you get on your soapbox, I switch off. Whatever moral high ground you previously shouted from has gone. You are now some sort of accountant who seems more interested in his Dutch pension fund than an artist. Specsavers are doing a two for one offer, top up the pension fund with the savings. Plus I've never forgiven you for singing The Lords Prayer at Live Aid. Whats' God doing for the poor in Africa? Anyway, he prefers The Smiths.