Monday, December 15, 2008

3AM interview

Andrew Stevens from 3AM asks me about Crap Towns. A nice trip down memory lane... Almost makes me think I'd enjoy doing a follow up. There's still a lot of crap out there...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Books to read

Books to read
Originally uploaded by Sam Jordison
Here's my to-read pile... Thomas Pynchon has been temporarily removed as I was sizing it up to write my blog about it over on GU... Note Staying On by Paul Scott... next booker blog subject! Also I've read Hero Of the Underground, not sure why that's still there. Really excellent book too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Alan Partridge moment

Reading this Guardian article about Alan Partridge style local radio DJs and author interviews this morning, I had a painfully bright flash of recognition. Normally, I've been nothing but impressed by the DJs interviewing me as I do the rounds when promoting my various book projects. They've been witty, knowledgeable and even kind when giving me the on-air opportunity to punt my wares. But just a week ago, I had my own moment that, no doubt unfairly - as the article suggests - but inevitably, put me in mind of the great chief of chat.

Things went smoothly enough in my interview (one of a number I did to promote Sod That!) until I was asked:

"Does your book give away a lot about your personal life?"

"Well, it might give you some information about my prejudices," I blustered, not sure what the two DJs were getting at.

"Well what does your girlfriend think of it?"


"What does she think of the entry where it says that you should never be honest with your partner?"

At this point, there was an interjection of dead air. There was no such entry in my book. I would never suggest such a dreadful thing, either. Perish the thought. Slowly, the horrible truth dawned on me. My problem was that 'Sod That' has been afflicted by the release of a suspiciously similar work, which was quoted in the Daily Heil a week or so ago. It seems that the DJ team who were interviewing me had read this article, but not my book. Understandably enough, since the rival work is painfully like mine in intent, if not content, they had assumed that I had written it. In fact, that was the next question:

"Did you write this book?"

"I did, but not..."

"Well I was reading this thing in the Daily Mail..."

It was at this stage that I was forced to explain that they had been quoting from a different publication... But half way through this explanation I was cut off, in classic Alan Partridge style, my splutterings interrupted by a hit from the 80s... Leaving me alone in the ISDN studio in Oxford, echo-drums pounding in my ears, reflecting on what a giant nob-head I must have appeared to everyone listening.

Sadly, I've been unable to find the embarrassment on 'listen again'. Even more sadly, I didn't have the dignity of Hardeep Singh Koli and bail out of the interview, before it got too late. Hopefully, I at least gave a few people in the region a laugh. Even if it was at my expense...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The author reads from his work

To buy the book, click here.

Appearing on Sky news

If you can't see the video, please click here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sod That! 103 Things Not To Do Before You Die

It's in the shops on September 11 and available online at amazon and similar.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Flat Earth Society

A small extract from my book, The Joy Of Sects

Founded: 1892
Country of origin: UK
Gods and guiding voices: ‘God’
Membership: Last recorded in the US in 1990 at around 2,800
Texts: The Bible; Samuel Birley Rowbotham: Earth Not A Globe; Samuel Birley Rowbotham: Zetitic Astronomy
Basic beliefs: The Earth is flat. God says so.

Are you really sure that the Earth is a globe? Do you have real scientific knowledge to back that up? Or are you blindly believing in Scientific Truth and taking all that stuff about Foucault’s pendulum and measurements of curvature on trust?

Flat Earth theorists would say that if you are taking it on trust, you’ve been fooled. Nearly all ideas that support the Earth’s ‘globularity’ are, in fact, contrary to reason. People that say they know that the Earth is round because ships have sailed around it are just displaying ‘wretched logic’. After all, ships can sail around the Isle of Man and that doesn’t prove that it’s a globe. It’s ‘absurd’ to believe that there are people living in the so-called Antipodes. Wouldn’t they just fall off? And don’t say they’re hanging on because of gravity. What is gravity? Is it solid, liquid or gas? Have you ever seen it? Didn’t think so. Do you subscribe to the theory that the Earth is rushing through space at the awful rate of 63,000 miles an hour? If you do, why haven’t you been whirled off into space?

Flat Earth theory isn’t a recent phenomenon. It’s as old as, well, the Bible. That’s the source of phrases like ‘the four corners of the Earth’, and that’s why Christians suppressed Ancient Greek mathematical proofs for the roundness of the globe during the Dark Ages. However, from the ninth century onwards, the fiercest debates were not about the shape of the Earth, but its position in the universe. Galileo was imprisoned for saying the Earth went around the sun. Nobody really objected to the fact that he also thought it was round. It wasn’t until an English gentleman, Samuel Birley Rowbotham, published his book Earth Not A Globe in the mid-nineteenth century, full of logical arguments like those printed above, that the shape of the Earth once again turned into a burning issue.

A six-mile stretch of canal called the Bedford Level became the scene of fraught experimental showdowns between the ‘Flat Earthers’ and ‘globularists’. One convert to Rowbotham’s cause, John Hampden, offered £500 to anyone that could prove him wrong. When Alfred Wallace did indeed prove that the Earth was round in an experiment conducted on the canal in front of impartial judges, Hampden called him a ‘knave, liar, thief, swindler, imposter, rogue and felon’. He dedicated a large part of the rest of his life to writing poison-pen letters to Wallace and his wife.

In spite of Hampden’s lost bet, Flat Earth Theory continued to thrive. Christians all over the world began to form societies attracting thousands of members. The original British Flat Earth Society was founded in 1892 and kept on going strong until the early 1970s when its last active members, Samuel and Lillian Shelton, died. The pictures of the round Earth taken from space had proved to be something of a crushing blow – although the society did come up with the rather neat explanation that the entire space programme was a con, and the moon landings were scripted by none other than the mischievous Arthur C Clarke.

There are still plenty of Flat Earthers in the US. They claim (logically enough) that creationists and other Biblical literalists are hypocrites for insisting that the Bible disproves the theory of evolution, but failing to also maintain that the Earth is, ‘as God says’, flat.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Month In The Country

A few shots of the book to accompany this article.

Inside illustration:


Inside cover:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Life's Too Short

Life is too short update this blog very often, clearly, for which I apologise. It's also much too brief to waste it doing a lot of other daft stuff... As is explained in full here.

Yes, it's a new underpopulated blog. I'd be very pleased if it received visitors and they started to fill it up for me... Just follow the simple on screen prompts.