Nowness: February 2024

It’s February 2024 and all is well.

Samara and I still live in Glasgow as the baby Jesus intended. I’m a writer. Never mind what she does, nosey.

Work

I run a small press magazine called New Escapologist. Issues 14 and 15 are sold out at the official website but we recently expanded into the real world with these cool shops.

I’m making a film with Mark Cartwright and Anthony Irvine about the Iceman. We’re basically turning my book into a documentary. I was down in Bournemouth this week, filming away.

I’ve finished editing John Robinson’s second book about Momus. It was published this month and it’s a physically very beautiful book.

I’m writing a piece about my relationship with Richard Herring’s blog for the next issue of From the Sublime… magazine. The working title is “My Pet Man: 22 Years of Warming Up.”

I’m preparing for my live show in March. My posters are all over town, though the one at the Sparkle Horse pub keeps getting taken down and I keep putting it back up again.

I heard yesterday that I’m Out is being discontinued (all 1,300 remaining copies to be pulped) by Unbound who aren’t happy with sales despite their stupid cover and title change (that I advised against) and not lifting a finger to market it. I’ve got seven books under my belt now, but the stiff letter I sent to Unbound is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever written.

Reading

I’m halfway through The Freewheeling John Dowie by, well, John Dowie. Dowie (I’ll stop saying Dowie in a minute) was a great alternative comic in the ’80s who quit the business when it became a business. He’s great. Stewart Lee mentioned him in the interview he gave us for the Iceman film a couple of weeks ago and I suddenly remembered “of course, I must read that book!” Unfortunately, it was published by Unbound (see above) who made an arse of things and is now out of print. You can buy it expensively second hand. Mine was free because it was damaged in the post and I demanded a refund. The book is at least brilliant: a grumpy memoir about cycling in Europe. It’s like Dervla Murphy but properly funny and realistically miserable. I love it so much.

I also recently read Werner Herzog’s excellently-titled memoir, Every Man for Himself and God Against All (which everyone should read but only if they’ve already read his more interesting Guide for the Perplexed) and Bonjour Tristesse by Fran├žoise Sagan. The latter turned out to be translated by Heather Lloyd, my old friend Helen’s mum. I didn’t realise until I read her translator’s note and saw that it was signed off “Glasgow, 2013.” I enjoyed the unexpected sense of connection.

Travel

I was on the English south coast this week, filming with Mark Cartwright and Anthony Irvine and our little team. I’ve already said that. Pay attention.

We’re going to Lisbon next week. Like Lanark, all I need is some sunshine.

Time Wasting

Most weeks, we attend a particular Monday night pub quiz. It’s a waste of time, money, and health but we continue to attend for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s because we keep WINNING. Oh yeah.

For TV, my partner and I have been watching old episodes of Jeopardy! after we enjoyed the recent UK version despite it being hosted by an awkward old taxidermied bear. On my own, I’ve been watching Inside Number 9, which I gave up around the fourth season but am enjoying catching up with. “Merrily Merrily” is my favourite story so far.

Some films I enjoyed recently were that Scala!! documentary, The Holdovers (which was so surprisingly good that I can’t stretch my imagination in a direction capable of criticising it – it’s a proper film like The Graduate or something, which I’m told is “mid budget”), and Poor Things (which was good but I found myself annoyed by the London bits not being set in Glasgow instead; why resist the call to elevate something instead of doing the same old expected shit?). I saw all of these films at the GFT. Support your local art cinemas, you sods.

Here’s my picture of the “month” so you can continue to monitor my ongoing decay, this time taken in Meadow Road Coffee, Glasgow, where I stopped to recaffeinate and to get a pebble out of my shoe:

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