Friday, October 27, 2023

Comic Cuts — 27 October 2023

This week was nowhere near as exciting as the week I described in my last column—so exciting, in fact, that there were two columns!

I've had some problems with e-mail and I was unable to download any for a couple of days; the guy on the phone from my ISP was unable to help me because I couldn't get into my account and nor could he. This meant trying to recover my account with the ISP's recovery team, which ran into a number of immediate hurdles. I don't drive, so I don't have a driving license; nor do I have a current passport, because I haven't travelled abroad for many years and never bothered to renew it.

So proving who I was proved to be a problem because they wouldn't accept my election id, which is acceptable for voting a government in, but apparently not good enough for re-establishing my e-mail.

They also wanted proof of my address, so I sent over my most recent bank statement and a phone bill. That wasn't good enough because the bank statement was over three months old. I explained that my bank had turned my account "paperless" without my OK, so I sent a TV license. But that wasn't good enough... so I couldn't prove who I was or where I lived.

I couldn't get a new password, because they would be sending it to an e-mail address I couldn't access through my PC or my laptop.

After a fraught couple of days, I had a breakthrough. I was regretting that my tablet had stopped working about 18 months ago, as it had saved my life back in 2019 when our phone line was out of action for a month. Every day, I went down to a local Syrian cafe called The Olive Branch and used the tablet and their free wi-fi to access orders for my books and keep in touch with people. I'd jot down postal addresses in a little notebook... which is when I remembered that I had also jotted down the webmail address and password in that same notebook.

Miraculously, I was able to access my account and although I'm still having to sign in every couple of hours, I can at least see my mail now. They seem to be moving their system over to a "Generation 2" web system, which might be where my problems started and why they're still not 100% sorted.

I've temporarily moved some of my mail to a gmail address, which I'll also use for groups and one or two other things in the future. Until I can get someone to look at the set up I have, I'll have to keep stumbling along for a while, which is my usual mode of perambulation when it comes to technology.

I took Wednesday off to visit the Knife Angel sculpture with my mum. I had heard of it but didn't realise it was so tall – 27 feet – and made of around 100,000 knives that were seized by the police or handed in during amnesties. It has been on tour since 2018, and has been located next to the Jumbo Water Tower in Colchester during October before heading off to Bolton, Greater Manchester, next month. You can find out if it's coming to your town here.

I'm still trying to spread the word that The Trials of Hank Janson is available. Trying to get any publicity is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. I did an interview with Jules Burt, which was a lot of fun to do (and which has had nearly 500 views) but I've contacted three other people who do podcast/videos about paperbacks and I've not even had a reply. Maybe they're just not interested in a guy who sold 20 million paperbacks and was responsible for changing the law that allowed Penguin Books to publish Lady Chatterley's Lover.

In the meantime, I've waiting on publication of two pieces in The Guardian – on Keith Giffen and Tony Husband [UPDATE: published online Thursday evening] – and I also wrote a random short feature on Shenstone Press, the Mansfield-based publisher of the 'Glamour Girl Novels' series and did some research into the family behind Alliance Press, who put out a considerable number of paperbacks in the 1940s. I'll get back to work on Beyond the Void tomorrow and I'm waiting on approval of a proof before the button is pressed on A Laverda Journey. You can't hurry these things however hard you try!

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