Archive for June, 2012

So, my years of hard work  have finally come to some kind of end point.

House of Dreams, my beautiful, funny first novel has just been published to Smashwords. It will be there and pretty much only there for a little while as a kind of soft launch, to see if there are any errors. Please let me know if you want a free copy in exchange for proof reading it and helping me spot any problems. Although I’ve spent so freaking long editing and proof reading I can’t believe there’s a single comma out of place.

It’s all pretty exciting, and this really isn’t any kind of end as I’m now going to have to do a bunch of marketing and suchlike. I’m thinking maybe some grotesque and disturbing publicity stunt involving nudity and live animals. Or maybe I’ll just get some postcards printed up.

Looks pretty good, huh?  Check it out here.


Took advantage of the brief respite from the shitting rain to visit the beautiful Grove Cafe in Alexandra Park today. Set in a magical little area in the north west corner of the park, surrounded by pine trees and only marred by all the dogs whose fucktarded owners seem to think everyone likes a slobbering, dog-food reeking animal jumping around and trying to lick their food/child/balls, it is AP’s best kept secret. The Grove Cafe is run by a real-life Italian dude who sings opera and makes good coffee: my macch was so tiny you could barely see it, but strong and like I imagine real Italians have it.

They do good food too: panini, breakfasts etc. The menu is a little quirky and sort of seasonal, doing things like mulled wine in winter and excellent Marine Ices in summer as well as a few other random things. The blackboard outside often lags behind the kitchen, so always best to ask. My fave is the oddly named baguette Anglaise with heaps of melted brie and bacon. And they stick olives in everything.

Re the dogs, I have employed two different tactics to try and encourage their owners to keep them on their leads.

Strategy 1 (artful and effective): approaching any dog owner whose dog is off its lead (totally contrary to the clearly stated notices, you anti-social fuckwads), I mention that there are plain-clothed dog wardens who are handing out on-the-spot fines, and that I was hit with one such fine just the other day for my own dear lop-eared poodle terrier (or whatever).  Best put little shit-balls on his lead now, huh?

Strategy 2 (forthright, less effective but way more satisfying): loudly abuse  any dog owner whose dog starts trying to eat my food, flatten my kids or otherwise get in my freakin’ way, employing  a full repertoire of urban dictionary inspired swearwords and obliqe but clearly ungenerous and disturbing insults. My wife prefers it when I use strategy 1.

Posted: June 14, 2012 in Writing

I am now just days away from publishing House of Dreams…I think.

I’ve spent the last few weeks editing the living fuck out of it, badgering my proof-reading buddy and my web design buddy to pull their fingers out, and building my new website:

I’m going for a kind of soft launch and publishing it to Smashwords first, rather than Amazon, so I can see how it looks as an e-book and hopefully pick up any errors.

Free copies for anyone who wants to beta test it and let me know what needs changing.

I’m thinking it’s going to be priced at 99p, which seems small enough not to put people off.  You’d pay 99p, right? And it’s not like I’m expecting to make a fortune anyway.

So keep watching, any day now… any day, oh yeah, baby.

Today I’m checking out a new member of the ludicrously over-populated Crouch End café scene: The Blue Legume. My wife tells me this is an offshoot of a Stoke Newington institution (she lived there many years ago before I rescued her from Bohemian squalor and brought her to chichi CE; she ‘s never really said thanks). It’s on the site of the World Café, which was itself something of a CE institution until it folded a few months back. The decor and  menu are actually pretty similar to the World Café: stripped floorboards and bare brick and it serves upscale café food. They’ve got a good looking breakfast menu and their Croque Monsiuer is a distinctly Brit version, with thick chunks of ham and a strong cheddar.

The macch is good and has a slightly sweet, malty taste. And you get a tiny Amoretti biscuit too.

The place appears to be run by an Eastern European dad and grown-up kids team, who look benignly weird, kind of like the Addams family. That they all dress in black only adds to the effect. Maybe they’re from Transylvania?

whilst I’m there I’m intrigued by two very different male customers . One is wearing smart casual business clothes: jeans, striped shirt, shoes that I think may be called loafers (although I’ve never really known the specific criteria that define the loafer), and all of it looks like it cost five times the amount I would ever pay for jeans, a shirt of a pair of shoes. He’s messing about on a iPad he keeps in a leather case.

The other guy strides in and standing right in the middle of the café immediately removes his sweater, before taking a seat or ordering a drink, like some kind of piss-marking ritual. Under the sweater he’s wearing a polo shirt with the collar turned up. This is a calculated sartorial statement, and now I’ve told you this you will instantly know what kind of man he is: a twat, obv., but a particular kind of rich twat that probably spends a lot of time on yachts and at outdoor events where people drink champagne with straws from those little bottles.

As I considered these two different versions of masculine identities I wondered what they would think of me, should they be looking. What, I suddenly thought, was my niche in the world of male archetypes?

I returned to my croque monsieur a little less sure of how the world worked.