Administrative Things and Poetry Review.

Apologies to everyone who had problems accessing Private Secret Diary this week.

This was due to a number of things, the main one being that I really haven’t got a fucking clue what I’m doing. Thank you if you tried to contact me or left a message on the Facebook group. All should be sorted now, although I have no idea how this ‘sorted’ happened, which only creates more disquiet in my mind. Anyway, the entire back-end disappeared for two days, so if anybody had a back-end landing on them in the middle of the week then I’m very sorry.

Now there is a new version of WordPress out, and it wants me to upgrade. My life is hell.

In the meantime, I did something a bit different, and interviewed Katy Evans-Bush. Katy’s been a reader here since about the year dot, and has a new collection of poetry out (‘Me and the Dead’), which is bloody exciting, as I don’t usually move in such circles. Private Secret Diary’s literary influences are fairly self-evident to the educated reader, and in a bid to widen the intellectual tone of things here, I asked her some searching and intense questions about her creative ouevre…

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“Delete this at your Peril”.

Neil Forsyth kindly sent me a copy of his new book, thinking that I might like it. Neil’s with a small publisher and doesn’t have an Evil Pr company to do his Pring for him, so I said that I’d write something about it if I enjoyed it.

I then spent the next week kicking myself for being so stupid, as I immediately realised that it would probably be shit. The concept, you see, is that Neil, under the guise of cheeseburger van tycoon ‘Bob Servant’ has been replying to spammers, engaging them in convoluted email exchanges and then printing them up in a book. I know, I know – ‘prank call’ humour. So it seemed horribly clear that Neil and I would have our own awkward exchange of emails, which would probably then be adapted for the sequel – ‘Conversations With People Who Thought The First One Was Shit’.

Happily, I’ve been laughing myself silly at it. Bob’s a superbly rounded character, there’s a natural sense of the intrinsically funny and the author knows how to pace a gag. There are some beautifully dry annotations, and a picture of an ostrich that is perfectly, perfectly placed.

Take that as a recommendation for the Christmas pile, then. “Delete this at your Peril” – more information here.

Embarrassingly late…

…but I got a bit tied up with all the redesign stuff and time passed before I knew it.

My Boyfriend is a Twat – the book, available in all good bookshops (plus you can get things like this off the internet now). Zoe lives in Belgium, which is the Norfolk of Europe, and has been blogging since the Reformation. I’d regard her as a friend although to be honest we’ve never met, spoken on the telephone or even emailed each other, and only occasionally leave comments in each others’ boxes. Behold: my social skills in a nutshell. I’m hoping that this will be a Christmas hit amongst the sisterhood – do buy a copy for your girlie friends.

If You’re Happy and You Know It – by Andre Jordan (A Beautiful Revolution). Which is out this week!!! Andre was from the same blog intake as I, and pissed me off hugely by being both a) better and b) more attractive to women. Fortunately for my ego, he decided to concentrate on cartoons, annoyingly being good at that as well. Andre’s stuff is genuinely fantastic, so if you buy one book of depressed cartoons this year, make it this one.

While I’m here, a belated mention for Rachel North’s book ‘Out of the Tunnel’. Rachel’s (in the nicest way) more ‘new acquaintance’ than ‘old friend’, so no bias here, but I’m around half way through her story and enjoying it immensely for something that’s not my usual subject matter or style at all. Big recommendation from me; buy it for a friend or enjoy it yourself on the – er – walk to work.

(Incidentally, if any other readers have books or whatever to be promoted, do feel free to debase yourselves in the comments box).

Funny stuff to resume next week. Meanwhile I’ll be off to the Groucho club with my celebrity writer mates to snort coke off the breasts of whores.