Did I mention my book plan? Not that monster. The British beer 1700-1973 thing. Not my plan for a book. My . . . plan for books.
My life may appear, to the naked eye, as total chaos, but there is some reason and not a little rhyme hidden in there. At the bottom. Under all that funny gunk.
It's not my idea. I'm too old to have ideas. Thoughts are all I get. The kids, they have ideas. My kids, I mean. "The kids" is pretty blooming unspecific. Like "the street". On which the kids usually are. It's Andrew's idea. "Why don't you get a book printed, dad." "Mmmmm . . . . that's a good question . . . "
Andrew beat me in print. He wrote a book and had it printed. Shattered my ideas of being the writer in the family. Bastard. . . . . bastard. . . . double bastard. Why aren't I young now? All this great er, stuff, they have now. Telly all day. Kids programmes that aren't just unconvincing puppets. Computers. The internet. International travel. Bicycles. They don't know they're born, they don't.
Excuse my aged rage against the young. It's pure envy, nothing more. Book plan. That's the title. I feel sort of obliged to get around to it sometime. I have a book plan. I just thought of it on the tram just now. My first impulse was to pretend I'd been plotting this out all year. But I'm a crap liar.
I had a few beers in town tonight. Fred Waltman and Tom were in town. We had a blind tasting in Wildeman. True to form, I failed to spot one of my regular tipples. Two of my regular tipples. I was forgetting Tripel Karmeliet. How on earth could I miss that? In my defence, I had been drinking Schlenkerla Urbock. Before we started. And in between flights. And after the odd not so nice beer.
On the tram home, I got to thinking. It happens usually at least once a day. That I start thinking. Mostly, I notice and stop things getting out of hand. After a beer or two, I can't achieve that level of self control. Books. Books were in my thoughts. Shiny new books.
The thrill of holding a proper printed book with my name on the cover has gone to my head. Driven into an egoistic frenzy by my act of vanity publishing, I've decided to move on from just self-publishing a book. One isn't enough. I want to publish a whole series of books.
I can't expect anyone to pay for the rehashed stew I'll be serving up. From my website. My blog. The stuff that was too low quality even for either of those. Like the crap advertised on daytime television, these books won't be available in the shops.
There'll be eleven books in the series. A nice round number. And one more than the print run of each title. I'll just be getting 10 printed of each. One's for me. Nine for everyone else.
I have four copies left of book number one, The Amsterdam Pub Guide. Two are sort of assigned. Two still up for grabs.
The next in the series will be "Can we go home now?". Pretty obvious what that will be. But what the hell, first correct guess gets a copy of the book.
More notes towards a history of the beer mug - Loved and disliked in equal parts, and enjoying an unexpected renaissance in hipstery parts, despite being more than 70 years old, the dimpled beer mug is ...
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