I'm still working on the next couple of Bear Alley book releases and we should see The Man Who Searched For Fear out next month; I'm hoping that I can hustle the Countdown/TV Action index into shape next month for publication in February, but I'm not promising anything at this stage. I'm still roughing out the introduction but it has been a slow process. The Bill Lacey collection, on the other hand, has been coming along nicely and I'll post a couple of pages at the end of the column.
This is the second week in a row I've used the word "slow". In part it's the run-up to Christmas, which always involves sorting out a ton of things that aren't normally a problem. I will have family staying over for a few days, for instance, so there's beds and blankets and bacon to sort out . . . my sister loves bacon butties and would probably sacrifice the bed if it came down to a choice between those three. Her dog needs the blankets.
There's a sense of happy chaos in the house at the moment. Mel and I put up our tiny tree on Monday and smothered it with decorations; and this year's tree-topper is a talking Dalek. I'll do my best to get a photo over the next couple of days.
Minecraft Annual 2014 (Egmont, 122,635)
Beano Annual 2014 (DC Thomson, 88,360)
Last year's Beano figure was much higher at around this time of year, the Top Three for 15 December 2012 looking like this:
One Direction The Official Annual 2013 (HarperCollins, 158,791)
Beano Annual 2013 (DC Thomson, 146,897)
Moshi Monsters Official Annual (Sunbird, 139,047)
The other chart I produced last year was of the best-selling Bear Alley Books, which I will compile and post at the end of the year. I'm pretty sure I know what will be topping that particular chart, unless something weird happens in the next week.
Working alone at home, there are quite a few things that hold body and soul together. For me, one of the most important things is music. I have always listened to music, radio and, nowadays, podcasts while I work. So I'm thinking that I ought to plug some of the people who have kept me going. I'm not going to do that now, but I'll have a think over the next few days and post a few odds and ends between Christmas and New Year.
But here's one. This is a promo for a DVD that has just come out – I don't have a copy yet but it's on my wish list as my first treat of 2014. I love Frost* (the asterisk is important). They have produced two superlative albums (Milliontown, Experiments in Mass Appeal) and a third is in the works. To tide fans over they've just released The Rockfield Files, with eight live tracks (two acoustic) and an interview.
If you're new to Frost*, the first track below is "Black Light Machine" from their first album. The second video is the trailer for the DVD.
I've lined up a little Christmas comic strip for the next few days, which I hope you enjoy. Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas . . . I hope you have a good one. Here's a taster of Agent of the Queen for you. Something to look forward to in 2014.