Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Things that go awww in the night

I was going to have a big mumbly grumble about how Hallowe'en is rubbish these days. When I was a kid you attempted to carve scary faces into a swede,* aka the hardest vegetable known to humankind, and hoped no one would throw eggs at you if you dared to venture out, wearing your big sister's tights and something gothic made of binbags. Now it's just a perturbing combo of parentally-sanctioned begging and dressing up like a whore. (This wasn't just me being an old fart: a 12-year-old kid in costume came marching around the tables of a cafe I was in yesterday, sticking a bucket under people's noses - which he presumably expected to be filled with cash, since most coffee drinkers don't bring a handful of sweeties to Nero's with them on October 30th - and swearing loudly at us when we refused. Niiiiice.)

But then tonight I walked past the house of the crazy-brilliant children's authors who live up the road, which is decked out with fake cobwebs and pumpkin lanterns and cheerful people, and possesses exactly the kind of homemade awesome that made me think very fondly of the aroma of warm, slightly rotting swede. Hurrah for fake witch warts made from Rice Krispies! Your time is not over after all.

*Pumpkins were not to be found in Wales in the 1980s, alas.

This interview with Rob Newman, former member of The Mary Whitehouse Experience, turned slightly duff novelist and political activist. I was quite helplessly in love with him when I was about 16. The romance waned a tad when, post-gig, I queued up for an autograph and realised quite how dependent he was on enthusiastic hugs from teenage fans to soothe his fragile ego. Understandable (ish) given what he says in the interview about not really managing fame, but not what one demands from one's heroes. Sadly his new BBC4 show is, erm, awful. I reckon someone who professes not to own a telly has no business in writing for it: he's not persuaded me otherwise.

Busy busy busy. Have finished the Rewriteathon at last: it's off for line-edits etc now, so I've got a week or so's grace before I'm back to snipping and tweaking. Also wrote some extra blurb for a sampler which will be doing the rounds of booksellers soonish (this would usually be a bound proof, but there just hasn't been time to put one together), which says encouraging things about press coverage and giving people free mouse mats. (Do people still use mouse mats?) Apparently exciting things are happening with the US layout. We've got a new UK cover (black with shiny bits, ooh: I heart it very much). And it's now on Amazon UK, too (though the cover isn't yet, sorry). Blimey.

Fixing my wi-fi (sodding cheapo Curry's laptops, grr), West Wing season 7, eating lots of cream crackers. Though I also ate the world's juiciest pomegranate earlier, which has contrived to squirt all over my bedroom wall. I'm leaving it there as my sole contribution to the day's festivities (and hoping I remember to clean it up before anyone come round and assumes I've been decapitating people).

6 comments:

Holly said...

Oh dear, those cafe kids sound *charming*. Like a group who came to my house the weekend before Halloween last year. Apparently they'd be on holiday (during term-time?) on the 31st so were trick-or-treating early. Before, y'know, we'd bothered to buy any suitable candy. They said they'd take any other food or money we had in place of sweets, at which point I snorted and slammed the door, then received a torrent of verbal abuse. *sigh*

Anyway. Really looking forward to the book release! A shiny cover is always a good thing. I imagine some people do still use mousemats. I don't have one, but instead use an old issue of New Scientist, flipping the page occasionally when I want a new picture. :)

Jess said...

I want a mousemat. Mine says Dell at the moment. Boo.

We never got trick or treaters in London (presumably too frightened of all the people with guns or something), so it was quite a novelty. We had one small witch with parents, and five sets of extremely smiley, cheerful and well-spoken teenagers, in mostly home-made costumes, all of whom looked quite chuffed at my home made (and quite rubbish) spider-web-iced biscuits. (Except, interestingly, the fat kids, who looked a bit crestfallen. A big pile of butter and sugar not fattening enough, clearly.) We also had a large crowd of youths galloping down the middle of the road and some fireworks, but at least they didn't bang on my door (or swear at me!)

We didn't go as far as decorating the walls with blood - tee hee - but Small Person jigged about the living room going 'Pukkin! Wow! Pukkin!!' for ages, so the pumpkin carving was worthwhile. I was shocked at how easy it was. But then that's because I remember spending the WHOLE AFTERNOON HOLLOWING OUT A SWEDE WITH A TEASPOON. Mum must have thought it was brilliant - great, that's the kids sorted for the next FOUR HOURS!

Jess said...

Oh, and congrats on those last three pages. When can I read them?

I laughed a lot when I saw that if you click on your name in amazon you get the Roly Mo books, and your extensive careers teacher oeuvre. Do you think writers need an agreement like actors do, and you'd have to be Susanna Day, or Mary Day or something to avoid confusion?

Rocrastinator Extraordinaire said...

Holly: you should've offered them some lentils or something. It's food! It's like the 'carol singers' you get who come and atonally bark 'wewishyouamrychristmas' once and then stick their hands out - and then look completely bewildered when you ask what charity they're collecting for.

I really have turned into a grumpy old git. I'm going to be that mad lady with the umpteen cats, and all the kids will be too scared to knock on my door in case I start shouting 'I remember when it was all just fields' at them...

Jess: aww, bless you and your homemade biscuits. And Small Person's continuing fondness for pumpkins. (There's a reason you're supposed to use pumpkins: it's called HOLLOWNESS. We were amazingly dedicated kids to actually sit there hacking lumps of swede: I feel quite impressed.) We are both now living in some kind of glowy middle-class alternate universe, though, surely?

Josie just sent me a cunning thing Amazon have set up where you can have an 'author page'. So it might be time for me to emphasise that I have not written any Year 9 coursework materials, but that one where the Mexican rat thingy needs a wash is all mine...

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