Tag: Hops and Glory

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Hopping into Canada (I know, that’s enough ‘hopping’ post titles)

Seems the US is not quite dead and buried – agent says there are still avenues to try.

But in the meantime, anyone massively keen to read Hops and Glory can get it via amazon.ca.  The book is on release in Canada – and according to Amazon it’s release date is set for 1st August.  It’s available for pre-order, and currently on offer for an absurdly reasonable $17 Canadian.

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Hopping into the US… or not.

Disappointing news – for me at any rate – from New York: American editors like Hops and Glory, but not enough to commission it for a US publication.

Frustrating, because I’m getting daily messages from people in the US asking me for news about a possible release over there.
If you or anyone you know has contacts with a publisher who is a little more friendly to the idea of beer books (I know there are some – the evidence is on the study shelves behind me) then please let me know.

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Hop onto Facebook

I’ve set up a Facebook group to promote Hops and Glory.

It repeats a lot of what will be on here but there are some extra bits because the format supports it a bit easier than a blog for an increasingly techno-moron such as myself.
I’ll be putting photo galleries up there and starting discussion groups that can remain a bit more current than blogs posts that slide down and off the page.  
Not really worth getting into Facebook for if you don’t already do it, but if you douse it please join my group.

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Here comes the summer…

… and here comes Hops and Glory, just over four weeks away.

Back from Spain feeling chilled and rather too round after lots of the sort of beer that tastes great when you’re there but you wouldn’t want to bring back, and too much jamon.  
I just added a list of Hops… promotional events at the top of the right hand column.  It looks a bit small at the moment and a better man than I would have waited till there were a few more on there before adding it, but I’m too excited.  Lots more are in the pipeline and will be added the second they’re confirmed.  
I’m tempting fate with the Latitude one because I’m not officially on the bill (so I might miss my lifetime’s ambition to get my name on a festival line-up T-shirt) but I’m first reserve for when someone drops out – and people always drop out.  If no-one has done so by the start of Feb, the line-up in the link at least gives me a list of names who might just have a little accident before the festival opens… 

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I am une chienne Andalusian!

Going on holiday at dawn tomorrow, so I won’t be updating for two weeks.  

“How will that be any different from normal?” I hear you quip.
Well, I am (fingers crossed) hopefully making writing my full-time occupation this year rather than what I do at evenings and weekends while earning advertising’s dirty money to pay my mortgage, and I have been trying to blog more regularly, apart from when family circumstances in February prevented it.  So it feels a bit odd to be leaving off.
But it has been getting pretty down of late – many of my recent posts have been negative and critical, exceeded only in dourness by some of my commenters.  When I get back in May I’m going to try and lighten up a bit and look for more of the positives in the wonderful world of beer.  It’s going to be a long hot summer so I hope you feel like trying that too.  
By the time I’m back the launch of Hops & Glory will be only one month away, so expect lots of plugging,  more extracts that didn’t make the final cut, and details of promotional activity up and down the country.  If you like my writing, I’d love it if you could get involved.  I’m up for readings, talks, IPA tastings and book signings anywhere in the UK, and hope to avoid a repeat of the event at Borders in Bournemouth last year where I managed to coax one old lady to sit down and listen to me with a bottle of Schneider Weisse.
Y Viva Espana!

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Those other Hops & Glory legals in full

I posted the other day about how evil lawyers are making publishers like mine very jumpy indeed by reading books for anything they might conceivably make a libel suit out of, then hounding people who have been written about to try and make them sue.  

So here’s an experiment – let’s see if they’re as attentive on blogs.
I’d like to tell you the other lines we’ve agreed to censor to avoid legal action over the book.  See if you think I’m in trouble:
  • I’m not allowed to refer to Mariah Carey as a “deranged diva”
  • I’m not allowed to describe a “cave full of evil, bad-tempered little goblin cooks” and follow this with the phrase “shit, imagine that – a whole tribe of Antony Worral-Thompsons”
  • And I’m strongly advised not to include the following passage, which was intended to illustrate my own incompetence in organising my sea journey to India, as well as highlighting the pretentiousness of the North London, self-loathing middle class of which I’m part.  My editor didn’t think it was good enough to go in the book anyway – it didn’t make him laugh, and didn’t move the story forward, and given that we were quite far over the agreed length, no-one wanted it in except me.  But it was legal worries that finally killed it.  The conversation is presented word for word as it happened:
It was hopeless combing the outer reaches of the internet like this. What I needed was a specialist travel agent, someone who organised Travel with a capital ‘T’ and pointed and laughed at squares like me who queued at Heathrow to board flights with businessmen and families with screaming children like everyone else.  But where would I find someone like that?  Did such a place even exist?  It must do.  But where?  The retrospectively obvious answer flashed at me from a TV screen one morning while I was torturing myself in the gym.  I’d been walking past ‘Intrepid Travel’ in Upper Street, Islington, almost every day since it opened about four years ago.  Islington.  Of course.  Islington could never make do with an ordinary travel agent. It was next door to Black’s, the outdoor and camping equipment shop.  How could I have forgotten this?  Intrepid Travel.  Christ, yes.  That was me.  The façade of the shop was built from slightly distressed wood, like you might find at a chandlery, for example.  Stencilled onto the woodwork, in paint that looked like it was designed to withstand salty sea storms, I read: Intrepid is for those with a yearning to explore, a sense of fun and a wish to get off the beaten trail.  Intrepid travellers want to experience a country and its people. They enjoy a flexible and relaxed attitude to travel, come from all corners of the world and are of all ages.  Some travel with friends, though many by themselves.  They are real travellers. Fuck yeah.  Real travellers!  That was me!  I wouldn’t have dared go in here before planning this journey because they would have laughed at me.  Now, I adopted my best Traveller’s body language and expression – yeah, I’ve BEEN there – and walked in. “Do you organise sea voyages?” “What, like to Antarctica?” “Sorry?  Well no, not necessarily.  I meant generally, like container ships or maybe tall ships.  I’m writing this book you see and –“ “It’s just that we don’t do that.” “No, no, I don’t want to go to Antarctica-” “I mean, we don’t do any kind of sea travel.” “You don’t book voyages by sea of any description?” “No.” “How do people travel on your adventures then?” “Well… they fly, obviously.” “So the unbeaten track starts at Luton Airport, does it?” “Pardon?” “Nothing.  Doesn’t matter.” “I can give you the name of a website.” “That would be great!” “It’s called travel without flying.  Or fly free travel.  Something like that.  Something for people who are frightened of flying, anyway.” “I’m not frightened of flying!  I’m trying to be more adventurous.  I thought that was the point!” “We’ve never used them, but someone told me about it once.” I walked out, staring at the façade again to make sure I’d read it correctly.  “Not really that intrepid then, eh?” I said just loud enough to be heard, because the alternative was bursting into tears.  I stared at Black’s, and realised that, along with most people who shop in Islington, I’d only ever been in there during the third week in June – just before the Glastonbury Festival.  
What the hell was I going to do? 

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Fat Lori ov Derby is a Slag

Hops & Glory is just going through legal proof reading just before it goes to design and print, and it’s throwing up some bizarre battles to keep in some of my favourite pet lines.

It seems that legal issues over books have intensified since I slagged off Anheuser Busch in Three Sheets to the Wind to the point where I included the unproven allegations about one Busch family member escaping a manslaughter charge because the evidence that would have proven it mysteriously disappeared.  
Those were the days!
Now, it seems that lawyers are reading non-fiction books with the sole purpose of finding something they can create a libel case out of, then contacting the injured person or institution, making them aware of what’s said and trying to persuade them to launch a libel action – largely because Britain has the harshest libel law in the world.  My publishers have been hit with five writs in as many weeks, for stuff they thought was safe.  Makes a change from chasing ambulances I suppose.
Anyway, one of several contentious issues arises early in the book, when I’m trying to convey the atmosphere in Burton on Trent today and harking back to its former glories.  In the middle of this bit comes the following passage:
Behind the storm fencing and DANGER KEEP OUT signs outside the derelict Riverside shopping centre and the abandoned Club Extreme, the Salt’s Brewery well still runs beneath the litter-strewn concourse, workers’ portaloo and graffiti informing us in emotive and disapproving terms that Fat Lori of Derby is liberal with her sexual favours, complete with her mobile phone number.   
It turns out that there has been a case where someone has referred to graffiti like this, then when the book is out the person on the graffiti has suffered harassment and sued.  Would Fat Lori share the same fate?  
The building in question was derelict at the time.  I figured if it had been pulled down by now, the number would have vanished and no-one could harass poor Fat Lori.  So I phoned my mate Rudgie (who you’ll get to know well in the book) and he confirmed the building is still there.  However, he left his very busy desk at Coors to go and see if the graffiti still adorned it.
It seems the building has been fenced off and you can’t get near it.  And someone has nailed what looks like a door to the wall which obscures most of the message, so all you can read is:
Fat Lori
is a
It looks like me, Pan Macmillan and Fat Lori are all safe.  But in the book Lori has become Jodie, just to be sure.

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What your book really says about you

This is not just another desperate plug for a book that doesn’t even come out for another nine months, honest, but I was just checking the link to Hops and Glory worked (you can’t be too careful) and noticed that Amazon now does a thing where you can suggest key words that link you to other items “that have similar qualities” to the one being looked at. Hops and Glory has already collected quite a few, which is curious given that the only people in the world who have read it yet are me, my wife, my edirot and agent. Some of the tags are obvious, others less so. I’m grateful that one of the strongest tags is ‘humour’, but ‘travel’ and ‘India’ don’t feature. And the strongest tags – the areas that are most closely related – are… well, just look for yourself. Amazon seems to think I’ve written a book that combines one man’s beery adventures on the high seas with a penchant for poking around in people’s poo and pretending to be a doctor:


Is there something wrong with the sales blurb?

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The fruits of labour

Talk to any author for more than ten minutes (and if you ask them about their work, you’ll be there for at least that long) and you can be pretty sure that at some point they’ll unintentionally use language that compares writing to giving birth. No massive insight there, the creative process and all that. Someone once said that giving birth to a child is like shitting a bowling ball. Obviously writing is not as physically arduous as that, but the mental equivalent to shitting a bowling ball sounds about right. And while writing is not as painful as childbirth, do bear in mind that the labour usually lasts for around two years.

But there are of course some wonderful aspects to both. You know when the expectant couple get their first little scan of the foetus and bring it home to show everyone? The equivalent for me is when I see the first cover design. It’s the point at which the book stops being something that exists only in my head and on my laptop and starts to take on an independent life of its own. So here it is!

Another thrill is when it gets listed on Amazon for the first time, and that just happened too. I was very touched to see that someone has already pre-ordered it, and that’s not me or my wife.

This book has ruled my life for two years – I was heavily into it by the time I first started blogging. I can’t wait to get the bastard finished and unleashed on the world. I’ve finished the first draft and it’s now with my editor, but it’s far too long and we’re going to have to cut about a third of it out – expect lots of IPA-themed blog entries to appear on here as they’re slashed from the book (a process Steven King refers to as ‘killing your babies’).

The book comes out on June 5th 2009.