Monday, November 29, 2004

Wolf Music

Those of you who have fallen in love with the Bloomsbury site for books by me and Dave McKean at, those of you who use their marvellous screensavers and ecards, probably need to know that Kevin Perry, who is one of the people who made that site, and incidentally is also a member of the UK's Finest Hawkwind tribute band, The Assassins of Silence (which leaves me wondering about how the people in the UK's second-best Hawkwind tribute band feel about this, or even the ones in the UK's worst Hawkwind tribute band, and whether there's a whole Hawkwind tribute band league table, but that's beside the point), has a band called XOO and has done a Wolves In the Walls song. He describes it, remarkably accurately, on his website as Mid-80's Hawkwind meets early 70's Genesis round at Arthur Brown's place. Oh, and a children's picture book. If you're now wondering "how can I hear this?" wonder no more. Just go to and click on it.

Meanwhile the Wolves in the Walls children's opera moves forward, Nick Powell (who is writing the music for it. Some English bloke in a black leather jacket who badly needs a haircut is currently writing the lyrics) has just given me a CD from his two-man band, OSKAR. I've had some of it on my iPod for a while -- I love a song called "Strike This" -- and am very pleased to have more. You can download some OSKAR tracks (and watch some bits of videos) at -- it's eclectic and strange and very cool.

(Now playing on an iTunes party shuffle of recently-added CDs: "Harry Rag" from the Kinks BBC Sessions CD. No, that stopped. Now it's the Dresden Dolls' "Coin Operated Boy.")

Vitamin Q now not only includes "Twopence more and up goes the donkey" but tells me more than I previously knew about the expression.

Lunch with Lenny Henry -- I gave him his copy of the 1602 hardback, which I dedicated to him. And I told him I like his blog: is the latest entry. Very honest and interesting insight into life as a working comedian. (I still wish it was organised more like a blog -- something you could keep reading down, rather than having to figure out where the previous entries are.) We talked about making some cool art together.

Re: Emperor Norton In reviewing some old bookmarks, I came across this article (,4273,4110736,00.html) on Emperor Norton. Upon cross-referencing to my Endless Nights calendar, I noted that his date of death -- January 8th -- is consistent between the two, but the calendar lists the year as 1800 rather than the article's 1880. Given his reported date of birth of 2/13/1819, my money's on the article's accuracy.Under the circumstances, some sort of 125th anniversary memorial seems in order...--Bill, of the dangerously crazed FG crew

I think it's very unlikely that he died nineteen years before he was born. Sounds like a proofreader missed that an 8 had become a 0. I agree that some kind of Emperor Norton memorial is in order. For myself, I shall either declare myself Emperor of America, issue my own money, or (more likely) have a long and interesting Emperor Norton Memorial Mug of Tea. I hope that there are people out there who can come up with better ideas than that.

Neil, As Nov. 30 quickly approaches and National Novel Writing Month comes to a close I realize that a good chunk of my 50,000 words is utter crap. So I was wondering if you could comment a bit on your rewriting process. Do you just start from the beginning of the book and go through it page by page? Or do you skip around fixing things at random? Any tips of advice you can give would be great. Especially since I wrote this without any type of outline or without much thought before starting. So, I'm not talking about a little tweak here or there, but major overhauls to large sections. Like I said any kind of advice you can offer, things that make it seem less painful, would be great.Thanks,Steve Stanis

What I try and do is:

1) Finish it.

2) Put it away. Drawers are good. Don't look at it for a week or so.

3) Read the whole thing, doing my best to pretend that I've never read it before.

4) Fix the big things. (These tend to be things that pop out at you when you read it, like noticing that you've led up to the prison escape, and then meeting the prisoners after they've escaped, and realising that it might really have been a good idea to write the escape. Or that the first chapter would really work better as chapter 5.)

5) Read it through page by page and fix the line by line things. Notice that Omar mysteriously becomes Mustapha on page 50 and stays Mustapha until page 90 when he becomes Mustafa. Pick one and make it consistent. Wonder whether anyone will notice that you've put Paris in Belgium. Decide to leave it there, on the basis that no-one will notice.

6) Get up in the middle of the night and move Paris back to France.

Does that help?

(Now playing as I finish playing this: "Psycho" by Jack Kittel.)