Go fuck yourself, Juxtaposition (also featuring bananas)

I haven’t shared my hilarious and insightful wisdom or sarcastic bile in a while. I presume that THE ENTIRE INTERNET has been tearing out its virtual hair wondering where I’ve been and what I think about Jonathan Stroud’s latest blog entry about caravaning in Norwich and about the progress of my non-existent NaNoWriMo project. Not to mention the roller derby: am I still a roller derby superstar? Actually, if anything, I’m even more famous in that respect than I was a month ago. I now feature on a certain Nottingham team’s recruitment poster. Surprisingly, this is not because I exemplify the lithe and powerful athletic form of those involved in the sport of roller derby, nor the image of a strong and independent roller girl, tattooed and unusual – an alternative to the mainstream, that roller derby teams often prefer. Alas not. They have used this image of me because I look like an overstuffed human sausage in a sports dress, and am conveniently located next to one of their particularly lithe and  particularly powerful-looking athletes.

Go fuck yourself, juxtaposition.

Anyway, enough. I’ll start back again with all the usual shit soon enough but for now all I want to say is that Neil Gaiman (smugly) eating a banana is nowhere near as good as Amanda Palmer eating a banana. Discuss.


Neil Gaiman ruins my life. Again.

I watched the movie ‘Stardust’.

It was dreadful and I absolutely LOVED (parts of) it. The female characters were all hideously offensive setreotypes, but Robert De Niro played a cross-dressing sky pirate and there was magic and adventure and an excellent cast. It didn’t so much make up for the stereotypes as distract from them, but that was sort-of-ok even though it was wrong.

I watched the whole thing, enjoyed great swathes of it (often despite myself) and then – as the credits rolled – realised the obscene truth: the nice little movie I’d been watching HAD BEEN ADAPTED FROM A NEIL GAIMAN NOVEL. That’s not even the worst of it. If only. The worst part was that the first thing that popped into my head when I realised it was a Neil Gaiman creation was “oh ace, can’t wait to buy the book and see how he imagined it”.

WHAT? EXCUSE ME? Did I just think, “I can’t wait to buy the book”? Did I accidentally express EAGERNESS to read something written by my nemesis? Since when am I a contributor to Gaiman’s Empire of Smug? Since when do I use my hard-earned farthings to support his smug lifestyle? NEVER! Imagine my horror. Imagine the cold prickle of disbelief, the overwhelming sense of self-loathing and betrayal. How could I possibly be thinking such things?

I’m even now inclined to get the book to read for myself.


American Gods? Neverwhere? Now this STARDUST? Where will it end? When will he stop torturing me with all his talent and his imagination on the one hand, and all his smug and his shameless self-promotion and his‘cool’ and his ‘nice’ on the other. ARGH. It kills me. At least I hated Coraline. At least I’ve got that to cling on to…

The Usual Suspects: Christopher, Landy, and a man so boring he’s not even boring.

Apols for the lack of author-stalking recently. First, I was off being a roller derby superstar again – we won our first bout and I was named ‘Best Jammer‘ for the first time; then, a week later we won our SECOND bout and I was named ‘Best Jammer’ for a SECOND time! Soz for the boast but it’s the best thing in the bloody world.

Second, I’m basically a completely lazy suckerface. No further explanation required.

So, The Authors. Pretty much EVERYTHING has been going on whilst I’ve been kicking some A on the track.

EINS! Everyone’s favourite female YPF author whose first and surnames ARE BOTH FIRST NAMES, Lucy Christopher, was awarded MY PhD. Go doctor-elect Lucy Christopher! I expect all her published work from now on to show her name in all its new doctory glory, though I wonder if Chicken House would have marketing concerns about that…?

ZWEI! An opportunity has arisen for me to engage in a little real-life author-stalking. I am HIGHLY excited by this prospect. Derek Landy (of Valkyrie Cain fame) is doing a little book signing tour and is coming t’Yorkshire! BY ‘ECK! Unfotunately he’s chosen to come on a Thursday, presumably having forgotten to check my schedule because I WORK on a Thursday, as do most failed failed authors. Silly, selfish, self-absorbed Derek Landy.

DREI! The Edinburgh Festival exists, is going on, and all The Authors are going. Likeable Patrick Ness (who I’ve never really heard of) is hooking up with Andy Stanton, Luddite (of Mr. Gum fame) at the Edinburgh festival to chat about WRITING and the [my imaginary] Guardian Children’s Fiction prize and about getting them pesky young people involved in “the whole exciting process”. Read that last bit in sarcasm-voice, please. Presumably Andy Stanton, Luddite, will be putting forward the idea that we DESTROY ALL VIDEO GAMES. Take their X-Boxes and Playstations and replace them with paper and chawk and bits of string like wot he had as a young’un. Oh Andy. Just give up and get on t’internet so I can stalk you from the (relative) safety of my own sofa.

VIER! I’m getting more and more fascinated by the tepid beige entity that is Jonathan Stroud. I don’t really understand what he is or why he exists. Initially I was dismissive, but the more I read his blog the more vaguely not-completely-bored I become. It doesn’t sound like much but actually it’s almost notable. The man is COMPLETELY, entirely, wholly, all-consumingly normal. He’s in this weird beige area between mildly-interesting (which would at least be mildly interesting) and just shy of completely-bland-and-dull. It’s clever: he’s not quite entirely bland-or-dull because being entirely bland-or-dull would be interesting in it’s own way. Reminds me of Yossarian’s liver pain in Catch-22. Let me give you an example:

Bartimaeus ‘Lost Chapter’ revealed!

Just back from an excellent weekend in Norfolk, where it was (unusually) warm enough to swim in the sea, and definitely nice enough to stroll along beside the quays, watching people crabbing and eating excellent fish and chips straight from the paper.

Now I’m back home, writing hard and enjoying it: 5 pages a day is my current aim. And my mood is made even better because the lovely Ring of Solomon UK paperback is out on Thursday. A large box of them has just been delivered to my door by a weak-legged postman, and they look fantastic.

Anyway, to celebrate, we’ve got something special planned. On Thursday, 9 a.m. UK time, I’ll be posting up a ‘lost chapter’ from The Ring of Solomon for everyone to see. To start with it’ll be exclusively on my Facebook Fan page (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/JonathanStroudAuthor), but it’ll be posted up on this Bart site later.

When writing a Bart book, there are always lots of scenes and sequences that don’t make the final cut, and Ring of Solomon was no different. This extract features Bart and Faquarl trying to kill their nasty master, and getting into a little spot of bother over it… So you can take a look at it from Thursday! Meanwhile, more surprises later in the week…  Stay tuned!

Jonathan Stroud introduces the revelation of a lost chapter in one of his books – which is presumably supposed to be an exciting marketing ploy – with a description of his weekend in NORFOLK! And then asks his readers to “stay tuned”, as if he’s done a brilliant job of building up suspension somehow! Oh Jonathan, you tease. Ridiculous. Love.

When I started writing this post I had a point but then I forgot it.

Orrite. Been a while. I’ve been busy having my brother come to visit getting farted on at regular intervals by a 17-year old child who is APPARENTLY related to me in some way (as if: I don’t have siblings, I have minions) and watching horses have curved metal rods nailed to their feet.

The Authors have been all excitable since my last post, all doing things and then blogging about them like it’s going out of fashion.

1. Jonathan Stroud Went To New Orleans, Fails To Sound Enthused. It’s an easy mistake to make: you’ve come back from some important Writery gig, you’ve schmoozed and want to let you new schmoozees know how much you appreciated everything they put together. The only problem? YOU’RE FUCKING TIRED! You just want to get your slippers on, take a long dump and then sit on the sofa in your pants watching adverts for the new Hermionie Granger movie. Crying, probably, because it’s the last one and you know that the rest of your life will be meaningless thereafter. Anything you write now is going to sound forced, dull, lacking your usual sparkle and finesse. Not bad you understand, it will simply fail to convey any point of interest whatsoever.  I’ve never read any of this guy’s work or seen any interviews with him or in any way researched enough to make an informed opinion (if you’ve come on the look out for informed opinions then boy are you in the wrong place!) but he sounds like a bit of a bran-flakes-for-breakfast kind of chap: inoffensive, well-meaning, nice and yet somehow unsatisfying… My advice: sleep first, Stroud; write second.

2. Derek Landy Finishes Another Novel, Has Some Emotions About It. That’s right kids, Valkyrie’s next adventure is all finished. And Derek’s having a mid-series crisis about it. It must be tough for him, poor lamb: all those successful published YA novels under his belt and STILL they keep coming. Luckily (for him), we like Derek so we won’t mock further. We like how he created Valkyrie, kick-ass female protagonist that she is (though admittedly in thrall to her male mentor). She even – shocker! – totally has frequent conversations with other (named) female characters which – another shocker! – frequently aren’t about some guy (although aforementioned male mentor does show up with irritating regularity). There are problems, of course. Derek Landy neglected to call his successful series of YA urban fantasy books after the (female) protagonist and instead – mistakenly, I believe – called them after the (male) mentor. There are other things but hey, go read them, find out for yourselves; can’t expect ME to do all the legwork.

3. Nail Gaiman Did Some Reasonably Cool Stuff, UNreasonably Expects People To Care. Ugh. Damn you Neil Gaiman, I’ve had it with all your Being Impressive. Try to stop the constant boasting and write another award-winning novel, why don’t you?

4. Lucy Christopher Still Alive, Still Not My Stalker. The main point of interest here is that YA author Lucy Christopher still hasn’t expressed a desire to become my internet stalker. I don’t get it. She’s good though – she writes words in CAPITALS sometimes, and it’s almost like she’s a real human who gets EXCITED about real life things such as signing a copy of her book for Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. THE ACTUAL AUTHOR OF THE ACTUAL BOOK THIEF! Sorry for the repetition but I didn’t think you were impressed enough the first time around. What? You haven’t read The Book Thief? FOOL! It is all lovely and unusual and you should get a copy from your local library immediately.

One thing The Authors are teaching me is that Being An Author is chock full of Going To All The Places and Speaking To All The People. They’re off all over, ALL the damn time! Who pays for their travel? Where do they stay? Do they compensate for their carbon emissions? Do they buy lunch or take their own sandwiches? I’m a fan of the packed lunch myself  (I always like to know where my next bit of food is coming from). Anyway, all this speaking and networking would be something of a challenge for old Sasperella. Talking? To humans? No thanks love – avoiding all face-to-face human contact is why they invented the internet isn’t it? That and procrastination.

When I started this I had a point I wanted to make, but I’ve forgotten it. Attention span of a goldfish = requirement for failing at being a novelist.

Briefly roller derby; mostly author-stalking and lamenting Andy Stanton

I haven’t managed to do much good stalking this weekend as I’ve been all busy trying to be a ROLLER DERBY SUPERSTAR!! It has good points and bad points: it throws off my Camp NaNoWriMo attempt [bad] and eats into my writing-slash-blogging-slash-author-stalking-slash-reading-books time [bad] HOWEVER it means I get to do a bit of rough and tumble twice a week [good] with a bunch of awesome rollergirls [good] whilst keeping fit [sort-of-OK-I-guess] on ROLLER SKATES [brilliaaaaaaant]! Would you like to see a pre-bout photograph? OF COURSE YOU WOULD!

Silent Singer

I'm the one doing 'silent singer'.

Please immediately go and support your local roller derby team. Thank you.

Anyway, back to it. The Authors have been a little on the completely silent side recently: no new blog posts from smug Neil Gaiman, Derek Landy who is good, or, my ultimate hero, YA fiction author Lucy Christopher. I can only presume it’s because they are all seeking to destroy my fledgling blogging career: they’ve heard about my multiple (two) readers and they are INTIMIDATED by my increasing popularity. It’s understandable. But don’t worry, I’ve been lurking about in shadowy corners of The Internet looking for other unsuspecting authors-I-can-raffishly-stalk. Jonathan Stroud (Bartimaeus trilogy+1) and Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking trilogy) both have frequently-updated blogs and are thus eligible for stalkage. I have no opinion on either of them at the moment, but here’s hoping at least one of the two will turn out to be suitably ridiculous. It’s a shame that my attempts to stalk that brilliantly posh nonsense-nuzzler Andy Stanton (of Mr. Gum fame – don’t you guys know ANYTHING?) have failed so pathetically: the man just does NOT exist on The Internet except in bloody YouTube videos and, c’mon, with the exception of almost everyone, who even USES YouTube these days? So, if anyone sees him please can you tell him to stop being so SELFISH and get a bloody blog and update it regularly with all that hilarity he seems to have time for in his books SO THAT I CAN STALK HIM.

The end.

Oh, hang on, a quick PS for some breaking news:

Award-winning YA fiction author Lucy Christopher has been singing along to The Smiths, which is a band liked by People Who Are Well Cool. This probably means she likes The Cure, too, which puts her dangerously close to having something in common with Neil he-who-ought-not-be-named-with-quite-such-regularity Gaiman. I worry. I’ve put YA fiction author Lucy Christopher on a pedal-stool and now she’s on thin ice. Metaphorically speaking.

OK, ACTUALLY the end now. Tune in next time and I’ll tell you about a hilarious joke I made the other day, and about the time I met the most furious YA author in the world. [Cue Rolf Harris impression] Can you guess who it is yet?