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Month: June 2008


London calling: farewell to the Valle



“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

It’s that time again – time to pack up the red suitcase and move on to somewhere new. Six and a bit weeks – 48 days to be exact – have passed in the Valle and our lease is at an end.

Next stop is London for ten days or so to film some interviews for the book, but also to catch up with some people I’ve missed a great deal while stuck up a mountain. After that… well, it’s too early to say. Watch this space, and all that.

The Valle has been an incredible experience – warm, tranquil, re-energising, amazingly productive – and with some first rate visitors to keep things interesting.  If you were one of those visitors, then it was lovely to have you. If you weren’t then – well – maybe next time, yeah? Yeah.

See you in London.


Games without frontiers (with oranges)



On pain of death at the hands of RFW&N, my time in the Valle has been dominated by hard work and early nights.  And yet, somehow, amongst all the toil, we’ve still found time to have the occasional very small – and tightly regulated – bit of fun.

Take, for example, the games.

I’ve invented some brilliant games for us all to play while out here. So many in fact that last night Rob crowned me the master of games. The Gamesmaster. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that the title had already been claimed by someone else.

There’s ‘Kate Nash or Not Kate Nash‘ – where players listen to short (five or six second) clips from iTunes and have to determine whether the singer is Kate Nash or not Kate Nash. Rob is the current champion of this, having zipped through Kate Nash, Remi Nicole, Kate Nash and Laura Marling, Kate Nash and Kate Nash before being tripped up by Colbie Caillat. A bonus round involving a Victoria Wood clip took him a good minute and a half of internal debate.

Then there’s ‘Roof Ball’ – a game involving getting a ball stuck on a roof.…

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Let the whoring begin



Ok, I’m back in the room1, and from hereonout things start to get really interesting.

The proofs have been read and re-read, checked for any last typos and factual errors – including double-sourcing the trickiest stuff with help my crack team of soi disant experts (/witnesses) where necessary – and as near to a final version of the thing as can ever be is now in W&N’s capable hands. Having now read my words for about the hundredth time, I know exactly how most people feel when they read them for the first.

So, now the fun begins; the real business of new media whoring.

I’ve got loads of other exciting things planned: interviews with characters from the book, a podcast or three, experimental interactive things that should be fun for everyone involved (including you, dear reader) and oh so much more. Not least the writing of the bonus extra chapter that RFW&N insists that I write – bringing the story bang up to date, and including some stories that didn’t make it into the book for one reason or another. Think of it as a lean-forward DVD extra.

And for those of you who have asked, there will be some kind of booze fuelled evening to mark publication.…

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Meanwhile, across the Internet



Blog silence ends by tomorrow, I promise. Just getting – as they say – my shit back together after a traumatic week of proof reading / changing.

Meantime, Eris has joined us in the Valle – all the way from San Francisco – and has been busy blogging her whistlestop tour of London, the Valle and beyond. Which is lucky as otherwise the adventures of the last few days – frisbees, cowboy hats, classic rock and hideously expensive cocktails surrounded by topless Eurotrash – would have gone undocumented.

See here for the blog and here for photos and video.

Ok, more later – but first Eris and I are off in to the Valle to buy bread and – perhaps – to rescue the frisbee from Juan’s bar.

Oh – and I promised Varls that I’d mention her Writing For Games event tonight in my next post. But it’s sold out. So that’s good.


Diem perdidi, motherfucker



I’m still neck-deep in these proofs – reliving the last five years of my life, in painful detail – in the space of four days.

It all got a bit much on Thursday night and I decided to get very, very drunk indeed in the Valle. The alcohol here really is exceptionally affordable and, here, the concept of ‘licencing laws’ seems as ridiculous as the idea of the TV licence seems to Americans.

You know there’s trouble ahead when you are dimly aware of ordering a entire bottle of Bailey’s at the bar and it’s only just passed midnight. I fucking hate Bailey’s. Of course, rather than providing the escape from reality I was hoping it would, the alcohol wiped out all of yesterday – unless one considers watching ‘Entrapment’ for the millionth time to be ‘work’ – and now means that I have just shy of 24 hours to get this bugger finished.

Still, at least if I feel like I need another break, I can always flip open my ‘dialled calls’ list and repeatedly bash my head against this concrete table until the world goes away.

Right! Back to the past! I’m just getting to the really good bit.


Burden of proofs



A busy few days coming up. Or at least as busy as anyone can claim to be while swinging in a hammock in the mountains of Southern Spain.

Bea from Orion has just sent through the page proofs of the book – that is, the PDFs of the actual page layouts, as they’ll appear in print. My job now is to go through them and make any last minute changes before they go to press

For most part, this is a dull process – a final scan to ensure that no stray typos have survived the numerous editing levels that books go through. But it’s also a last chance to tweak any facts – and people – to make sure they’re represented as I intend them to be. And with that last chance comes awesome responsibility – and I’m terrible at responsibility.

To make matters worse, W&N also want me to write a bonus downloadable chapter thing updating some aspects of the story from where the book left off ’til present day. I’m going to get cracking on that next week – it could be a lark. Hoo yes. Meanwhile, RFW&N continues to bombard me with work, with an arduous-sounding telephone interview on Friday morning.…

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