Last night I celebrated the launch of my first novel at The Alex in Southend. Here’s my speech:
I was told last night it was a requirement at a book launch to give a speech. Twenty minutes ago I started writing one.
I stand before you tonight as a man who has written a book. Before that, I was a man writing a book and before that still I was a man.
If you haven’t written a book then you are in that position, unless you are a woman, in which case you are still a woman. Regardless of any way you have been chosen to be represented you are full of potential. I would like to dedicate tonight to anyone who is sat on a good idea. I would like to tell you to go for it. It’s only because I am surrounded by such incredible people that I was able to start realising my own potential. I look around this room and see all of you who do.
I would like to thank you for being a part of this, especially Ben for introducing me, to Kate for believing in and for dealing with me in the capacity of both a girlfriend and a carer. To my friends and to my family, especially Robert and Edward who are never entirely aware of how much I am watching them and noting down every stupid word they say in the hopes I can turn it into literature.
I would like you to raise a toast to The Stamp Collective.
To celebrate the birthday of my heroes; my dad and Bob Dylan, I covered Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright on my dad’s old acoustic guitar.
With a week to go before the launch of my first novel I finally received the proof copy.
I invited artist and all round good egg Adam Gardner, who designed the cover, to be part of the special moment and tell me I look like I’m in late 80’s Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
As an aside, I have purposely cut any shots of the book or mention of the cover to protect the mystery around it. All will be revealed on 30 May.
I am pleased to announce I am having a book launch to celebrate the arrival of my first novel ‘The Stamp Collective’.
There will be music and readings and books and more (the more might be wine).
This is one of my favourite tracks from the latest Arctic Monkeys album.
On Wednesday evening I sat down over some marinaded chicken livers with Adam Gardner, my friend and go to designer, to talk about the ideas he said he had sketched for the cover of my new book The Stamp Collective.
As I sipped at my bottomless Coke Zero he took a bound notebook from his satchel and presented me with what he referred to as “the rough idea”. He turned one page towards me and what I saw was an image that has raced across my mind since before I sat down in August 2013 to start writing the novel. His vision and line-work were as though he had traced it from a projection shot out of my brain.
Quite simply, it is sublime.
The additional notes he gave me on the overall look and feel only backed up my decision in offering him the role of designing what will be my first independently published novel. He designed the cover for my book of short stories Where Did All The Money Go? as well as the artwork for the Stalin musical I co-wrote and put on as a two man show in November last year.
This design is something else.
As such, I have decided to keep it under wraps which in itself is an in-joke considering the concept art which will be lost on you until you read the book. This goes against everything I usually do. I’m one to take the first chance to blast an image or an idea everywhere as soon as the opportunity is afforded to me. I want to take a slower path and build towards this as an event.
The Stamp Collective is coming.
Get it down yer lad.
This week has been pretty full on for me.
If you know me at all you will know that I like to have irons in the fire, or fingers in pies, or whatever other metaphor you choose to use for staying busy. It just so happens that this week involved a number of those different fires or pies burning me.
That’s not to say that anything bad happened, just that I had an awful lot on, more than usual. It will all hopefully reveal itself in time.
What I have come to realise, and this is where the longest lesson part comes in, is that my thoughts of how bad it is going to be are always far worse than the reality of the task or the problem.
I sat down on Saturday with a daunting headline ahead of me, and thoughts of what I would do if I didn’t make it and whether there was any room to manoeuvre within, but for the week before I had been building it up, along with everything else to make it seem an awful lot harder than it actually turned out to be.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that the longest lesson, and one I am still learning is, it doesn’t matter how hard something may seem or how much work there is to be done, you can do it. Stop thinking about how hard it is going to be and get along.
You’ll find that the tasks can soon be knocked down if you just have the power to stand up.