Wednesday, September 12, 2007

‘Dad, there’s a man in a dress tryin’ to beat me up!’

Well I finally got here, and all the way from Manchester, England too! Okay, I understand that nowhere on the planet is more than a couple of clicks away these days but still, it’s always good to arrive where you want to be and getting published in the US is a real buzz. Actually, this first novel thing turned out to be not quite as daunting as I had convinced myself it would. One of the hardest things about it has been what I’m doing now. Publishers and seasoned, techno-savvy authors call it a ‘virtual book tour’ apparently but to me and you it’s called ‘being a pain in the arse until someone agrees to let you pitch your book and muscle in on their hard earned blog community.’ To be honest, when I was first told about the concept I thought, ‘hmmm, not for me that. Think I’ll stay here at the back and watch what happens.’ but, having finally done it, I found the whole business pretty cool; made contact with some really helpful people and I must say, I’m really pleased with the sites that I have managed to get support from. But more on that later in the blog. For now, and by way of an introduction to the tour, I’d like to say a bit about the places and the people that inspired my debut novel.

Manchester is a fantastic, vibrant city. It’s where I grew up and it’s where Recycling Jimmy happens.

In Manchester there are only two serious choices that a young man has to make; which football team to support and what clothes to wear to the match. I chose United, (wisely as it turned out) but perhaps not so clever was my fashion choice. See, I was a ‘mod’ back then, and for those who don’t know, in early eighties England mods were an endangered species. People just loved to hit us. I guess we asked for it though. I mean it wasn’t ever going to look right for a fourteen year old kid to hit the streets wearing a two-tone suit, Ben Sherman shirt and shiny black brogues was it? Kids dressed as men is just wrong, like we’d escaped from a Bugsy Mallone set, and if that wasn’t naïve enough, we would finish the look by draping ourselves in heavy ex-NATO army parkas that served no useful purpose other than to slow us down as we ran from gangs of rockers and skins, punks and new romantics. I can honestly say that getting chased down the road by some bloke who’s wearing make-up and a blouse is not something that you want your dad to see. Looking back though, my lack of pace turned out to be not such a bad thing as invariably those short lived chases would give me just enough time to get my mouth into gear and ready to talk my way out of a beating. Talking was a tactic that worked well for me back then and the sharp wit that I relied on is what Jimmy and Kevin do so well in the book. Admittedly, some of their slightly twisted exchanges result in darkly dubious conclusions and actions but their character (basically good hearted lads) remains in tact. I guess the person who is most corrupted by the whole ‘suicide for profit’ deal is Wanda who, having entered as a principled and ambitious young lady, changes into something more akin to Ma Baker than Mother Teresa.

So what can you expect from my blogs on the tour? Well, they’re funny for a start and if you like them you’ll love the book. There is a theme running, that being a brief discussion in each about different elements of writing black comedy but I must warn you that these are my theories only, just stuff that I’ve had to think about during the whole process so you’ll see an awful lot of rambling there too. I like to think and talk about those things that are for the most part just on the limits of my knowledge and that’s the other thread you may pick up on. A lot of the time I may be expressing opinions that are woefully ill informed! But that’s not such a bad thing is it? After all, theories are there to be challenged and changed so I like to keep my mind open. I can be serious but it’s very rare and I hope that my laid back take on life and its challenges doesn’t offend. I’ll try and do it with tact (more blog on this later) but I‘ll apologise in advance just in case I don’t pull it off.

As for the line up, here it is:

13th September‘There’s only two Andy Gorams……’So what makes a sick joke sick? Here’s my take on bad taste. By the way, this is a cracking site. Take a few minutes to have a read and I guarantee you’ll want to comment.

14th September
‘’Do not open your parachute until you are clear of the boat.’’
An introduction to Urban Philosophy (wise words formally known as bullshit). You’ll see this smattered all the way through Recycling Jimmy, the only thing other than skunk that makes you laugh and think at the same time, but without the paranoia. By the way, if you don’t know Mr Biffo yet you will do soon. The lad is a genius and it won’t be long before you’ll see his credits drifting up the screen after you’ve watched your favourite sit com.

15th September
Finally, jokes have made it across the Atlantic.
A quick debate about the differences between US and UK humour (apart from the spelling). Spike Milligan vs Jerry Lewis?This site has a vast number of contributions too so there should be something to read while your there if you don’t like what I have to say!

17th September
Cough for Christ’s sake man!
Dealing with dodgy dialect. Hosted by Mr Angry, this has got to be one of my personal favourite blog sites. Great take on life, and could have been written by Jimmy Gee from my book. Nice one.

18th September
So Why is Zoe’s Boyfriend a Twat?
This, the Kunati site, is where I do most of my blogging. Coincidentally I have just completed a manuscript which deals with the science of picking a partner. It isn’t that straight forward as it turns out! Ask Zoe who, by the way, deserves every bloggers kudos for nicking the best European blog of the year award for the past three years running. Go and have a look at and you’ll understand why.

Andy Tilley

Author: Recycling Jimmy
Publisher: Kunati Inc. (September 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1601640137

No comments: