Hello, I’m back!
And so is Autumn!
Hello there, welcome to my shiny new website and I hope it is to your liking. It’s been a while since I’ve done a newsletter and my apologies for that, but the plan is that I’ll do one every two months for the foreseeable and maybe even one every month but we’ll have to ‘monitor’ things a bit. Because I feel very well in my head right now and I’m so grateful and delighted about that but I have a tendency to think that because I’m fixed I’ll never be broken again and that is not how it works, is it? So we are going to take things, not slowly, no, but at a brisk, trotting pace. But no galloping, not yet in-an-anyway.
Right! So today is August the seventh and I LOVE August because it’s the last month before Autumn officially commences and I ADORE Autumn more than I adore Prada dresses and new socks and Percy Pigs and Pasha Kovalev, which is, to say, quite a lot.
Also! This week, we will be tolt the name of the first Strictly celebrity! About bliddy-well time, amiright? What has kept them? I distinctly remember ‘learning’ of Jeremy Vine mid-July two years ago. But I am not complaining. Well clearly, I am, but shur lookit.
So what can I tell you? Well, I’ve a new book coming out on September 7th. My apologies (as always) for the length of time it took me to write it. It’s called The Break and it’s about a man and a woman called Hugh and Amy who’ve been together for 18 years and for various reasons Hugh hits a mid-life crisis (he’s 46) and wants a Marriage Sabbatical (ie 6 months off from the marriage to be temporarily single.)
I was quite proud of it until it went to the printers and then I realised it was a load of shite, but this always happens to me (and most scribers, I gather): As soon as it’s too late to change anything, the doubts start. But a good few people have read advance copies and said nice things so that will have to do me.
All the Keyesez are well. Well, well-ish – as you know, we are a family who enjoys bad health. None more than me (more of which, anon.)
We are just back from our summer holiers in a villa in Italy, in a lovely little town near Sorrento. It was fearsome FEARSOME hot but I endured it because I am very fond of my siblings and their spouses and nippers and I hid in my dark room during the day and did me scribin’ and I emerged, in the relative coolth of the evening to be fed and have the mighty craic.
The Redzers are quite grown up now – Redzer the Elder is nine and Redzer the Younger is seven. Baby Teddy is two and a half and we’re going to have to stop calling him ‘Baby’ Teddy because any day now (imminently) a new sibling for him is expected.
Teddy is GAS and is very fond of his Auntie Rita-Anne but was having trouble saying the full ‘Auntie Rita-Anne’ so he decided to shorten it to ‘Gary’. He took to bursting in to her bedroom and yelling, “WHERE ARE YOU GARY? GARY! GARY I WANT YOU!” No-one knows why he picked Gary but I feel it displays a pleasing strain of eccentricity which many of the Keyesez have.
The telly has been shite all Summer – with the exception of Love Island. I sneerily dismissed it but then Gary said she was watching it and Gary has no truck with anything distasteful or vulgar so that made me take a look – and the next thing myself and Himself were hooked! And so was Gary’s husband Jimmy.
Now about Jimmy, Jimmy is a botanist and on holidays he was reading that book about Wounded Knee and he likes documentaries and he’s THE LAST PERSON you’d think would watch Love Island. But when I met him on Friday just gone he looked extremely sorrowful and he said to me, “How’re you getting on?” When I said I was fine, he said, surprised, “But since Love Island finished on Monday? Does your life not feel empty and pointless?” I said, no, no more than usual, anyway and he sighed heavily and said, “It seems to have hit me hardest of all…”
I’m watching and loving Game of Thrones. Also Top of the Lake which is so fabulously odd and raw and unexpectedly funny – Brienne of Tarth is HILARIARSE! And Dicte, do you watch Dicte? It’s a Walter Presents yoke on Channel 4, a Danish crime thing, but very sweet except that I’m slightly agin the daughter Rose, for being a bit of a sap. Other than that, I love them all, especially JOHN WAGNER, the poor clueless craythur.
Now books! I have read many brilliant books ‘in recent times’. Let me alert you to some of them:
- The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman (Magical)
- Friend Request by Laura Marshall (Grippy)
- The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig (A state of the nation novel about Britain. If a man – say like John Lancaster – had written it, it would be winning prizes.)
- I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice (non-fiction, exquisite writing, moving, very special.)
- The new Michael Connolly, the name escapes me (crime procedural, new character for him, a female detective, he is so very skilled at what he does.)
- Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear (debut novel, crime/family dynamics. Great writing.)
There are more but we’ll leave it at that for now.
I’ll be doing a fair few ‘events’ in September and October in the UK, the details are here on the site.
Then also in October, going to Australia, details will be coming and in November, Canada!
Now it’s time for:
Ailment of the Month!
I expect this to be a regular feature and I hope to sport many strange and unusual ailments. This month I am thrilled to announce that I’ve been diagnosed with arthritis in my hands and feet! I’m only thrilled because it’s a little bit different from my usual ‘flu-like virus.’ Now that I think about it, I’m very worried that I might have to wear flat shoes and that CANNOT HAPPEN. Because a) vanity and b) I’ve worn high-heels for 40 years and the muscles in my calves have bunched up and shortened and my heels (my actual ones, not my shoes) haven’t touched the floor in over two decades.
Oh Naples, I forgot to tell you about Naples. After the week with my family, myself and Himself went to Naples for three days and I was excited and a bit apprehensive because more than one person (two) told me that Naples was a shithole.
And yes, on first encounter, it was ‘not-clean’ and fairly covered in graffiti and dusty and roasting and crowdy and the traffic was INSANE. Also, we were warned we’d be pickpocketed and swindled and swizzed by taxi-drivers and mugged on the metro and in fairness we WERE swizzed by our inaugural taxi-driver and I was in a fouler. But in less than 24 hours, I’d adapted to the place, I liked the energy and I found the people to be warm and kind and I quickly got the hang of the traffic, you’ve got to be ‘bold’ see, you’ve just got to step out into it and the cars and Vespas will swerve around you.
And the FOOD! Holy mother a’ Jez, the food! Pizzas, yes, of course, but other quare little cakes, which were so wonderful and which the Neapolitans are rightly proud and everywhere we went we got given free drinks and by the end of our stay I was in love with the place and I’d recommend it if you were prepared to be brave and embrace the chaos.
There are museums and galleries if you like that kind of thing. I don’t, but no judgement. I – being honest with you – like going on the hop-on-hop-off open-top bus and getting a sense of the place, as it’s lived now.
Oh I forgot! After we’d been swizzed by the taxi-driver, people told me on Twitter to talk Italian in a strong Dublin accent and the Italians would think I was Sicilian and would give me the respect. So I did! And it worked! And it was only the fact that the only Italian I speak is ‘Buona Sera’ and ‘Mi Scuzi’ (favourite phrase ever, in any language, Himself wants to correct the spelling to scusi, but I like the z) and ‘Prego’, that led to me being eventually uncovered as a non-Sicilian. But for those few minutes, I was TOTALLY channelling ‘Scary Sicilian crime boss.’ Ah, well… *Dabs eyes*
So there we are, my amigos / amici. We will talk again next month, when I will ‘address’ you on the eve of publication. Yes, I know I said this was a two-month yoke, but because of the book publication, we’ll make an exception. Also, you will get the chance to win a signed proof copy of The Break (if that’s of interest to you.)
Tanken yew for all your kindness, I hope you’re keeping well and I’ll be back in September.
Lots of love