Archive for August, 2012

This post comes to you from Paris, as I wind up my little tour of Europe with my old buddy Sticky.We’ve been recreating out inter-railing trips of the late 80’s and although a little more restrained than the vodka fuelled, three countries-in-a-day, sleeping with the winos outside the Gare de Nord experience we had back in the day, it was a great little trip back to the old days. So we mostly just sat around and ate out at nice restaurants, but you know, I’m forty now, singing Leaving on a Jet Plane  round a camp fire with a bunch of  Dutch kids was just going to be a bit weird. I did get back to Pere Lachaise to visit Jim Morrison’s grave (now sadly sand-blasted of virtually all graffiti and surrounded by Japanese tourists instead of heads, like it was back in ’86) and there was an incident with a very sketchy dude in the back streets of Prague involving three, yes three types of bad drugs, which could have gotten way ugly but managed to remain surprisingly jolly.

I learnt all the words to the beautiful and heart-breaking song Where Do You Go To My Lovely by Peter Sarstedt, ran a twenty miler around Paris taking in a visit to Rue Emile Durkheim (the only tribute to the great man I could find, sociology graduates take note) running down the Viaduc Des Arts, the Paris version of NYC’s High Line and dodging the hipsters along the Boul Mich.

And I went for coffee  at a very Parisienne cafe: the Cafe Delmas in a stunning little square in the 5th Arrondissment.

It was good coffee, in the way that the standard French coffee is: not too strong and with a good, gently roasted, nutty taste. I managed to swipe a little ecume from Sticky’s cafe creme to make it into a macch and there were some tiny Valrhona chocs to go with it. The place even smelled strongly of jambon cru… at ten in the morning – now that’s French!

In other book-related news, House of Dreams is still available as an e-book on Amazon and other sites, and the print version should be out any time soon, so keep checking back.


Czech it out, baby!

Posted: August 19, 2012 in Writing

Today’s post is coming to you all the way from the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, formally Czechoslovakia. I’m here for a few days with my good buddy Andrew and I’ve already learnt a whole bunch of stuff, historical, cultural and what have you. Turns out I was phenomenally poorly informed about this part of the world; get this, I even had to Czech (ok that’s going to be the last of those), what language they spoke and what the currency was (Czech and Krone). I now know about the soviet invasion, the 1968 hoohah and the velvet revolution, not to mention the infamous defenestrations of Prague- ask me, go on, ask me.

I have dubbed the place a “city of surprises” what with there being another great big fuck-off palace or church or weird statue around every corner. Check these two beauties out:

Jesus and an awesome sunset on the Charles Bridge and a dude pissing at the Kafka museum- this place has it all!

I have taken to using the phrase “a city of surprises” so frequently that Andrew has threatened to stage the next defenestration of Prague with me in the role of persecuted catholic!

I haven’t really checked out the coffee scene yet, although Starbucks is coming in pretty handy for the free wifi and as I don’t speak more than four words of the language I’m a little nervous of ordering a double macch and ending up with a bowl of pig knuckle soup and pint of absinthe. But I guess I’ll work it out. Off to Paris on Tuesday.

In other matters, my debut novel, HOUSE OF DREAMS, is all ready to hit the shelves as a paperback. Proof copies all approved and should be up on Amazon any day now as well as hopefully in a few good local bookshops (that’s local to Crouch End, not Prague).