Hell Is A Coat You Don't Yet Own

"Cool people don’t win the Pulitzer."

Jane Smiley

I didn't post many pictures from Florence when I was out there a few weeks back. This is because I didn't take many and a lot of them were less than stellar, but here's a couple I really like:

Be A Fucking Lion. End of story.

Be A Fucking Lion. End of story.

Man discovers his twin brother is a centaur and beats him to death with a salami.

Man discovers his twin brother is a centaur and beats him to death with a salami.

I love Florence. It would be a good place to end my days when I am (a lot) older. Which leaves me with something of a dilemma as I definitely said the same thing about Copenhagen when I came back from there too. Truth of the matter is, I will likely end my days in an old cattle shed in the Welsh hills.

So long as I have said all I had to say, that will be fine also.

Thanks to those of you who have picked up a copy of Cities of the Dead. Stocks arrived yesterday and I'm about to do the old 'brown paper' thing ready to hit the post tomorrow. I forgot it was Christmas soon and that the world only has four people capable of delivering things promptly at this time of year. It's far enough away not to be a huge pain in the ass but if you've ordered and are reading this - feel free to check in with me if you're still empty handed by mid-week.

This week, I also figured adding this beautiful thing to my wardrobe would be a fine thing to do. Not for daily wear while walking the dog on the beach obviously but for those occasions when a little class is called for... it was love at first sight and I think that's OK - even though those cuffs won't stay white for long.

Imagine the state of them back in the day when you wore these things out in the field.

Open All Night

It's a weird feeling taking time off from your day gig. It takes a long time to acclimatise to it and then, just when you're really into it, it's over again. Luckily the day gig is something I still love, but still, downtime is invaluable for figuring out what's a tree and what's the wood.  

Downtime does not mean days on end of box-sets though. Around here it means a clear runway at chipping away at the big pile of ideas that need wrapping up for my own sanity. First out of the blocks was Cities of the Dead and now, I've turned my attention back to my first love of music to hopefully wrap up a thick old thing that will probably be known as HOWL. I'm determined to get it at least finished by the end of the year - it's been the red-headed stepchild kept under the stairs for far too long.

I also unearthed an unfinished project I had 'put to one side' and then accidentally buried under a big pile of paper. I've mentioned it here before and that would be the Black Dye White Noise photo-book I was working on with my hyper-talented friend Chiaki Nozu. From only the initial few pages of design proofs, I can see it's way too good to leave lying at the side of the road, so let's see if we can't make some serious advances over the next few months. The cover looks a lot like this:

And because I think it's cool as the breeze, here's the first spread from the tour with Backyard Babies:

There will be words along the way too. This simply needs doing! 

There's also a lot of Bear action going on today. I decided to bring the bigbearrescue.com concept back here to run as a blog instead of leaving it as some two bit site that didn't do anything by itself. Mostly on that front though, a new shirt designed by WolfSkullJack goes on sale in the morning - just check out the Bears tab above for that. It's a peach - here's an extreme close-up of the initial sketch just for the record:

Cities Of The Dead • Hard Boiled Travel Writing

"You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to."

Jonathan Franzen

A few months back, I almost published a book in what I thought was a great format - the old Penguin pocket book style - and it is a great style, but when I got my hands on them, they sucked so bad I withdrew them immediately and went back to the drawing board. With those few months behind me of rustling up a few different formats to see what happened, I finally decided that the 6" x 9" format that I'd always used was in fact, wonderful.

So, with that pointless experiment out of the way, I can proudly present my latest collection - Cities Of The Dead - which is available to order right here and now in that wonderful 6" x 9" softback format and if I do say so myself, it looks fine, fine, fine - particularly when you stash it next to all of my other books in the store. 

The digital editions for Kindle, iBooks and Kobo will also be available on that page from December 1st at a suitable digital price. I'll repost information here when it's all been taken care of later in the week.

Meanwhile, if you missed the extracts that have been published in Skin Deep over the last few months, there's an extract from the chapter on Paris right here that also features some great photography from my friend Dirk Behlau

Anyway, here's what it looks like. I am really pleased with how this turned out:

Anybody buying five copies or more, will find an extra copy in their package to hand out to friends/leave on the train... whatever you choose. If you're an indie book store owner who is considering taking some stock, drop me an email and we'll work something out along the same lines that really works for you.


Meanwhile, out in internet-land, the preview copies that went out got off to a good start with this review: 

'Hard Boiled Travel Writing' is a phrase I like very much indeed and 'elegant'... nobody has ever called me or what I do elegant before. I'll add that to the list of odd things that happened this year. 


Alongside of the online promo, I'm going a little bit old school with it too. The internet can be like leaving a baby in the middle of a house party and expecting everybody else to look after it, so over the next few weeks I'll be hitting the streets with 10,000 of these - though not all at once because 10,000 flyers can be quite a pain to haul around with you:

To finish, I'll leave you with this from a man who, in spite of knocking back more than a few, knew what he was talking about:


“they thought that writing had
something to do with
the politics of the

they were simply not
crazy enough
in the head
to sit down to a
and let the words bang

they didn't want to
they wanted to
succeed at

Charles Bukowski: The Last Night of the Earth Poems

The Street Of Dreams

This weeks Burn Baby, Burn (XI) is live, loud and clear right here. It's a peach.

In other news, yesterday, a proof of the first book coming out in a couple of weeks or so was headed this way for signing off. If all is well, it will go on sale immediately and that will be a big tick in a win column out here. 

Other than that, my evenings are chock full of getting the second book ready in an equally efficient manner. These are all good things.

Which is a very short way of saying, all I have for you today is a playlist... 

Back to work.