Reprinted for the first time: a classic story of one man's fight against
government oppression in the gladiatorial arenas of the near future.
I've had something of a miserable week in the grip of post-release blues that seem to afflict me every time a new book comes out. There's a nervousness that takes hold that I find difficult to shake off—once I'm working on the next book, I'm back to my normal, cheery self, but at the moment I'm in that trough of not knowing how well the last book will do once we hit the release date and figuring out whether it's worth committing more time and money to a business that, frankly, is still not paying its way.
Adding to the general ambiance of low-level melancholy has been the news of the death of a family friend after ten days of intensive hospital care. It inevitably brings to the fore thoughts of our own mortality... and just as I'm trying to improve my own health.
And it's autumn. Getting up in the dark, no late evening walks in the sunshine. It's still relatively warm, but even a small downturn in temperature has made it feel chilly and going out now means a couple of extra layers. We've had a couple of heavy rainfalls and on Monday, as I stepped out to take take advantage of a break in the clouds, I was soaked by a car driving through a deep puddle, spraying me with a shower of dirty water from the gutter. It was bad enough for me to need a change of clothes before I attempted my stroll again.
But autumn means a few interesting visitors to the garden, including the return of the squirrels and a grouse (I think... might be a partridge) which turned up on Wednesday. And, overhead, we've had huge flocks of geese honking their way across the skies.
Have you noticed that whenever I have to deal with artwork, as I was doing at the tail end of the Arena book and now with the next pair, that Bear Alley's Friday columns become incredibly chatty? These "Comic Cuts" columns are turning into a diary of my ups and downs as I stumble through life. I'm sure they used to focus more on hobby stuff. I suspect that, having now run Bear Alley for over eight years and over 3,200 posts, I'm getting more comfortable with it. Like an old pair of slippers.
Another slight frustration this week was to discover that one of the books I picked up at the weekend was one we already had. Mel and I are fans of The Now Show on Radio 4, and of the individual comedians that make up the Now Show team, having seen pretty much all of them—Steve Punt & Hugh Dennis, Mitch Benn, Marcus Brigstocke—live. So I was pleased to find The Now Show Book and proudly handed it over to Mel. And she said, "I've got a Now Show book upstairs," which she promptly fetched... and that was when we discovered that my new book was simply the older book reprinted without the pictures. In tiny letters on the back it owned up to being a reprint of The Now Show Book of World Records, published in hardback the previous year.