Frosting On The Railroad

The diary is getting full - no complaints here though. Next month (that would be September if I have my facts correct) sees a double-headed working trip to Colorado, delivering the first draft of The Family Of Noise to my pseudo-agent, wrapping up the Sci-Fi Tattoos book and a house move on the cards - throw into the mix that the day I come back from the States, Eleanor leaves to go to some week long 'thing' in Dubai and that's September pretty much finished before it has begun. Also on the cards somewhere in there is a meeting about re-booting The Ballad Of The Goat-Faced Boy project which I have medium-sized hopes of getting back on the table after it fell off. Not that I actually have a diary - I can't think of anything worse then having a diary when you have lots on your plate. That would be just one big fat reminder of all the things you hadn't done.

Talking of things I haven't done - I have quite a long short story that I need to wrap up: The Run-Along Man Sells Spoons. It's quite something - well I like it anyway. Now I have written that down I think I may have mentioned it here before. It needs shopping out into the big wide-world somehow so I'm going to take some time out soon and see if I can talk anybody into playing host to Arthur Conan Doyle crosses paths with Monster Magnet. It's clocking in at 10,000 words right now - so that's quite a long short story really. Let's see how it wants to end and take it from there.


I used to love magazines for their own sake - that ought to be obvious being as I've spent most of my adult life around then in some form or other. Is it my imagination, or are they suffering badly right now? My own mag aside (obviously as I'm not allowed to have an opinion about that) , the only other magazine I buy and read without fail every single month is Vanity Fair. (I love the way the distributors think they know the mag and choose to sell it amongst women's magazines almost as much as I love the way they think they know my mag and choose to sell it either with bike mags or up on the top shelf). Vanity Fair is excellent  - it has world class writers, doesn't skimp on the photography, has superb thought behind the production and the iPad edition rocks hard too. I take a lot of cues from Vanity Fair but hopefully, nobody can tell.

So, this week, I picked up a copy of National Geographic Traveller hoping for inspiration because I love travel writing when it's from the heart. But that's not what I got...

What I got, mostly, was 180 odd pages of watered down press releases that do nothing more than appease advertisers. There's a couple of good (even great) features in there but for the most part, that's not what I expected from National Geographic at all. When you see a story about New York and the intro says "If you think you've seen New York, think again" and the pictures that follow are of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Grand Central and a shot of the skyline... well it doesn't bode well for wanting to really get into the guts of the thing. When did readers become stupid and lazy? (I'm tempted to state here that it was the day they switched the internet on but it's asking for trouble).

That left me with two trains of thought:

1. Mail National Geographic and tell them that when they were tired of their editor, they should maybe give me a call. I'm not perfect but that mag needs some big steel balls if National Geographic are going to keep their reputation intact going forward. Then again, what the hell would they do with a loose cannon on the deck?


2. Start my own travel writing blog where I could see if I was able to back up Point 1 in relative safety. Yeah... it's easy for me to sit here and take a pot shot but in my defence, I'm not doing it anonymously. Could I be good at travel writing? Could I be great at travel writing? Could I be the most loved and hated travel writer of all time?

Not a clue. Let's build a blog to work with and see how that pans out. I'll be sure to mention it when it goes live and you can all pile in with your size tens if you wish.

Anyway, if you want travel writing done properly, pick up a copy of the book (or audiobook - which is also top notch) Travels With Charley from John Steinbeck. It may be over 50 years old but hey, Game. Set. Match as far as I'm concerned.


On which subject - take a look at this train which is run by Renfe I believe - it's a luxury cruise liner and I would give many, many right arms (don't care who they belong to) to write a story about it for... well, I'd write about it for anybody to be honest. If you guys pick this up from a tag, sincerely... drop me a line and let's set something up.


That was a lot of words without even so much as a picture break, so to make up for it, here's The Posies performing the entire - yeah, ENTIRE - Frosting On The Beater album at Donostikluba 2008 (which I believe is in San Sebastian). Go make tea first... it's over an hour long.