Getting to Number 1!

Writers approach the endeavour of sharing their work with the world with different aims in mind, but I’m guessing that being able to say that you’re a “Number 1 Best Selling Author” is something most would cherish.

Amazon comprehensive catalogue offers you the chance to be “No 1″ in your genre, be that Horror, Mystery, Cook Books or Zombie Apocalypse Teen Romance Fantasy Steam Punk.

So, while I can tell you that cricket books aren’t big sellers for kindle, there was a week in early March this year when I made it to No 1 on amazon’s UK store with Dad’s Cricket Diary.  Here’s proof for the doubters!

dads number 1

 

Sure, it was only for a few days, and I “bought” the position with some Facebook advertising, but I am now a No 1 Best Selling Author.

But rest easy – it won’t change me.

Doing it Live!

There’s nothing quite like live…

Last night I had the great privilege of experiencing English poet Harry Baker live at a house concert. Yep, that’s World Champion Slam Poet Harry Baker in a lounge room around the corner from my place.

One of my son’s mates is a mad HB fan, and reached out to him when his Australian Tour was announced. So, the arrangements were made – gig on Tuesday night, lounge room recital Wednesday night, gig Thursday night, fly out to China Friday. Such is the life of the international poet.

After I received my invite, I resisted the temptation to gorge on HB on-line. Once I found his TED talk, it was enough to hook me – he’s a maths nerd who is into words, my kind of guy. I decided to hear the poems fresh and live for the first time.

And so …

About thirty people – mostly friends of the teenage host and his sister – assembled in a family home for the experience of a lifetime. There were many HB fans, and plenty who were there to find out what the fuss was all about. They didn’t have to wait long.

Photo: Mark Profaca

Photo: Mark Profaca

Like most things, YouTube just doesn’t do justice to the force of nature that is Harry Baker live. He’s smart, witty, unassuming and engaging, while his poetry is all at once gentle, sharp, challenging and inspiring. He held the crowd’s attention for an hour that flew past – no one wanted it to end.

HB and friends

HB and friends

But end it did, with HB spending the rest of the night talking to the fans who are mostly back at school or uni today, inspired not just by his rapid rhyming words but by the journey he has chosen – to work hard at his passion rather than take a course that others might have expected.

Everyone threw some cash in a tin to finance the night – Harry is a full time poet, and no one could argue with the value.

House or Lounge Room concerts are a “thing” in music, and the model has grown in popularity, with one of the Australian pioneers being Deb Conway (see article here). Artists can easily end up making more money playing in a backyard for 20 people who pay $20 a head and buy a CD than playing in a “venue” where the money is tight and a sound engineer needs to be paid.

I’ve hosted, been to and played at a lounge room concert – they are thoroughly brilliant, and you should give one a go.

Meanwhile, here’s my favourite poem from the night – Real Men

Or it might have been this one . ..

Memories of Star Wars

Thirty Eight Years is a Long Time in Hollywood.

It’s hard to believe that it’s thirty-eight years since the original Star Wars film was released. The Spy Who Loved Me,Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Saturday Night Fever stand as films that were also released 1977.

In 1977, movies that were released some 38 years earlier included Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood and Bringing Up Baby starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I’ll leave you to reflect on the relative longevity of each of those films.

I remember the release of Star Wars very well. My school had somehow been given five tickets to the film’s premiere, and decided to run a Science Fiction Story competition to fairly allocate the tickets. Fourteen year old me was nerdy enough to want a see a new, exciting sci fi film, and always being one for efficiency, I recycled a story I’d written in English class and duly submitted it. The fact that it was really a supernatural horror story rather that being anything to do with sci fi should have been a significant impediment to me winning one of the tickets, so it was just as well that only four other students could be bothered to enter the competition.

star_wars_40510

So, as fate would have it, I ended up a winner and therefore was among the first to experience the wonder of the world that the film created. I was happy to assume the role of school-yard cinematic pseudo-sophisticate and spruke the film to all and sundry.

The contrast between that rather luke-warm response from the student body in 1977 and the frenzy surrounding the release of Star Wars VII couldn’t be more stark. The trailers for the new film have nearly melted YouTube on their release, and both my sons, along with groups of their mates, are booked in two months ahead to see the new film at one minute past midnight on release date, along with multiple multiplex-fulls of others, old and young. Whether dressing up for such events can be classed as deep loyalty or tragic fan-boyism is open to debate.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new film, but thirty-eight years on, I won’t be “first” this time around – the price of staying up until the small hours is just too high.

Meanwhile, I have mixed feelings about the fact that I can’t find a copy of that old short story. Like Star Wars Episode 2, it’s probably best forgotten.