Monday, 28 July 2014

Monday 28/07/14

These are the Polaroids for the people who pre-ordered via Kickstarter last year.

And this is the press release for the new book. You may notice that between the time that the press release picture was taken and the time the Polaroids were taken I moved from London to Southern California.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Friday 24/07/14

The special edition of Highlights of My Last Regret is now on sale. I'm sure you weren't holding your breath, but I'm sorry about the delay anyway.

There is a mass market edition coming out in October, which will be available on Amazon, book stores, etc, but for now you can buy this special edition directly from my publisher, Limehouse Books, only.

There are only 100 copies of the special edition. 

You know what, I might just keep one, so there are only 99 copies of it. In fact, we sold 30 copies on Kickstarter last year, so there are only 69 copies of it. You do what you think is right.

You can buy it here:

Highlights of My Last Regret

Regret is my second published novel. I am terrible at talking about my writing and trying to sell it to you. Do you want a vapid mirror selfie with no shirt on hinting that I can't write a text message, let alone two books, or a close up of my blond leg hair proving how non-Greek I am instead? 

People seemed to like Exit Through The Wound, the first novel. It got shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize, Attitude magazine picked it as their classic read last month, referring to it as "a nihilistic monument to self-absorption, first world problems and affluent ennui", and The Independent newspaper wrote a nice article and referred to me as "a bitterly funny satirist", which is more than I could have asked for in my lifetime from a national newspaper and I want it written on my gravestone, thanks.

Regret is in the same style, I won't lie to you. It's in the same style as the first book and this blog. I can't write anything else. 

It's not a direct sequel of Exit Through The Wound, but some of the same characters appear; it's a continuation of sorts.

The blurb on the back cover is this:

"Parke Hudson has all the trappings of extreme wealth: an alcoholic mother, an estranged father and Ryan, his beautiful but paranoid girlfriend who excels at tracking his every move.From L.A. pool parties to Coachella, Parke is faithful enough to confess his indiscretions, each time seeing how far he can push the boundaries of their relationship. It is only when he decides to spend his summer in San Francisco with his mother Sadie – who carries an altogether special affection for him – that Ryan finally decides to call it a day. Will this latest relationship status help Parke see the error of his ways?

Dark and uncompromising, Highlights of My Last Regret is a cutting satire of modern relationships from the acclaimed author of Exit Through The Wound. This special edition includes a diary written by the author."

Special Edition 

The special edition has a different cover (which I loathe, but it's OK, I like the mass market cover), but more importantly, the special edition includes a personal diary that I wrote to someone I was in love with a few years ago. 

It was written over one summer, during a break in a three-and-a-half-year relationship and it is basically one elaborate, humiliating love letter from one person to another, knowing that his love will never be returned. It contains a short story, an open letter, hand-drawn diagrams, yes, I just said hand-drawn diagrams, a mini comic strip, etc. It's really unpretentious, vulnerable and exposed, and I would feel like a complete idiot reading it back, were it not for the fact that behind all the cynical London Preppy stuff and general divorcement from any emotional involvement in everything else that I write, well, sometimes, love. What can you do?

So that's that.

Again, the links to buy this special edition are:

(PS. Apologies for the delay to everyone who bought this on Kickstarter last year. The books will be mailed out - including the individual Polaroid pictures - in the next few days. Thanks for your patience)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Monday 07/07/14

Attitude Magazine featured my first novel as their "classic read" (yes, I know) this month. And wrote this bit about it. This bit makes me really fucking happy. Feeling grateful, feeling like my life has some meaning outside wearing baseball caps and posting instagram pictures (but still not feeling ‪#‎blessed‬):
"A nihilistic monument to self-absorption, first world problems and affluent ennui, Exit Through The Wound is as elegant and sharply perceptive as its disenfranchised anti-hero. Despising his Greek origins, London-based Maine immerses himself in a cycle of work and play, punctuated by prolific self-medicating and a vague orbit around an undefined, sometimes-sexual relationship with a young American heiress and her male-model boyfriend. His voice is acerbic and artfully devoid of feeling, which is what makes his observations - of friends, family and colleagues, not to mention his own soporific stance with regard to any purpose - so compelling. When a colleague enthusing about an extreme YouTube video demands how often do you actually get to see someone die, his response is, "Every day, when I look in the mirror." Indulging in minor acts of misanthropy in the form of passive aggressive defiance to social mores, Maine makes for a surprisingly likable character. As his excessive amphetamine addiction leads to a progressive numbness disease, we get a neat metaphor for his increasing divorcement from any emotional involvement with the world. An obvious reference point is Christos Tsiolkas' Loaded, but this is a tasty slice of outsider fiction in its own right, and Morgan is deserving of a wide and appreciative readership"

Monday, 16 June 2014

Monday 16/06/14

At some point in the last five years, “bro” overtook “urban” as the predominant aspirational youth culture in America. I don’t know why it happened. It happened. You remember when everyone was trying to be all gangsta on yo’ ass. Well, now everyone wants to be just a chill bro. Chillen the eff out. Chillen the eff out at Coachella, sports games, maybe the old tailgate. Bud Lite.

These cultures don’t bypass the gays, of course. We’re all still fucking broken and want to belong. We’ll latch on to whatever heteronormative trend comes along. Bring them on. In fact, we won’t just latch on. We’ll take them on, give them a few spins, mix them up with our personal struggle and psychodrama, and throw them back in your face in caricature form. You remember all the gays who turned up in the clubs with the big gold chains, giant hi-tops and elaborate trucker hats. Well as the equivalent of the urban gay (or gayngsta), you now get the gay bro.

I was fortunate enough that the whole gayngsta phenomenon passed me by. I didn’t get it. I wasn’t attracted to it. I used to see those kids, who were really, really popular, by the way, and think – well, what difference does it make if you’re wearing a thick gold chain around your neck and have a smoking gun tattooed on you? You’re an insecure gay guy, no different to me, and you’re fronting like crazy. It’s a Halloween costume. 

I am unfortunate enough, though, that the whole gay bro phenomenon doesn’t pass me by at all. I see them, and I want them. I fall for their Halloween costume. I want to sleep with it. The word that I use is “unfortunate”, because the people who tend to take these strong, masculine identities and adopt them full-time and live them day after day and actually believe them, tend to be the people who are most insecure about their sexuality. 

No good is going to come from pursuing a relationship with a gay bro. A full-time masc musc gay bro, who’s convinced himself that he’s not a “typical gay”, is a walking vision of internalised homophobia. Do you think a gay bro is ready to hold you in his big arms, lie in bed with you at night, look into your eyes and tell you that he loves you? I do not. I think the full-time, masc musc gay bro has to learn to love himself first. 

Now, the fact that I’ve typed out the last two paragraphs is ridiculous in itself, I know. I might as well be reading them out loud to myself in the mirror. Anyone who’s made a series of bad life choices in the past few months, which resulted in following me on instagram or seeing my facebook, will know that I’m so obsessed with the bro phenomenon that I’ve taken it on myself. Yeah, I can say that I’m self-aware and I’m subverting it and even mocking it, but in reality perhaps I am just perpetuating it, perhaps I do hate myself as much as I claim that those people do. But give me a chance. I just came out to my Dad. One step at a time.

Anyway, this is not about me. This is about bros. And you. And bros and you. How will you find them? How will you identify them in the street, on the beach, in the gay bar where a friend dragged them, honestly, they’d rather be at a sports bar drinken Bud Lite, how will you take them home and have emotionless, guilty-yet-passionate sex with them before they pass out next to you with their arm squashing your chest while you lie awake on your back staring at the ceiling? (Bros don’t lose any sleep). 

In fact, never mind identifying them. How will you become them?

North’s Braux Programme

Become a braux with these ten easy steps:

1. Misspell everything

Bros come in a wide range of intelligence, but the smarter ones can’t let you know that. No one is going to take a bro seriously if he exhibits a high level of intellect. It just takes away from his swag. Key words to spell wrong are the present participle forms of every verb. For example: you can never type “just chilling”. It always has to be “just chillen”. “Drinking” is “drinken”, “golfing” is “golfen”, etc. Spelling things wrong also shows that the bro just doesn’t care enough to use the autocorrect suggestion when he’s texten you. You can take it or leave it. (I’ll take it). No one can ever convince me that when I receive a text message that describes something as “amaxing”, the bro did this by accident. Or that his iPhone didn’t suggest “amazing” instead. It’s just that the bro chose it this way, as part of his act. Sometimes they will also text you with ridiculous typos, which again, should not be happening in the day and age of autocorrect, but here we are and they do. When you receive a text that includes the words “posSibly” or “headingt to th game”, you know that he ignored the autocorrect suggestion. The message the bro is sending you is that he doesn’t have the time for this shit. He’s heading to the game. You’ll figure it out.

2. Carefully choose your accessories

Bros’ whole look is pretending not to have one. They’re not like the other gays who worry about clothes, fashion, looks, and trends. They’re too straight acten for that. Bros wear what makes them feel comfortabol. This is, naturally, bullshit. Bros care about their look A LOT. There is no other scientific explanation as to why all of them, bro after bro, make the same clothing / accessory choices. There is no other reason why they rest their sunglasses on the back of their neck, instead of the top of their head. It’s impractical and they might lose them. But they still do it, because at some point they saw another bro wearing them that way, and this bro didn’t look like he cared about his sunglasses, so now neither do they.

Other key fashion choices are: bandanas, lanyards to carry you keys, anything with a USA flag print, hoodies, socks pulled up high at the gym, wearing your t-shirt inside out because you happened to put it on that way and don’t care enough to change it, anything from Under Armour, those compression shorts that you wear underneath your shorts at the gym / when you play sport, boat shoes with board shorts, Nike, long-sleeved button shirts when you’re in a gay club because you’re masc musc non-scene and don’t need to show off your muscles…and the ultimate braux accessory – the Backward Baseball Cap (which has an entry of its own - see below).

3. Be into sports

This is what you were put on this planet to do. You were put on this planet to play sports and you were put on this planet to follow sports. But make sure everyone around knows about it.

4. Drink like a boss

Bros drink. A lot. Bud Lite, mainly, but also bourbon, shots, and wine when they want to be more sophisticated at a dinner party (before asking the host if there’s any beer, actually, or failing that, bourbon). If you’re tailgating, which combines your two main raisons d’etre – sports and drinking – you’ll basically drink anything and everything that will get you the most paralytic, the quickest.

5. Listen to shitty music

EDM. Country. The end.

You must attend Coachella, of course – unofficially known as Heteronormative Christmas – but you don’t have to watch any of the faggy alternative bands, don’t worry. You can just stay in the DJ tent, where you’ll perform the trademark bro dance of extending your right arm forward high above your head with an open palm facing down and moving it up and down to the beat while you’re standing still. Oh, you can also jump up and down briefly when your pills kick in. But don’t forget the arm.

6. Be outdoorsy

Pretend like you have a horrible aversion to staying indoors. Pretend like your spirit cannot be contained within four walls. Pretend like you’re always on your way to some badass outdoor activity. There was one time when I was talking to a braux online and his response to “what do you like to do” was: “Not a gay club guy. Sports, beach, rock climb, raft, surf, travel, friends, sleep”. I knew right then that I’d been abducted. I knew right then that he would be taking my heart. I knew right then that no one was above him. I knew right then that he would be breaking my heart. He’d tear me apart because I’d really love him. He’d take my heart away and leave me to bleed out, bleed out. Then he blocked me.

7. Picture-taking etiquette

When you’re having your picture taken, you need to be a badass. It is imperative that you do one of following: a) you stick your tongue out in a silly / insolent way (you’ll perfect the combination of looks in time), b) you give the camera the finger. I’ve never seen a bro do both (a) and (b) at the same time, so choose carefully.

8. Don’t read

Don’t read anything. Apart from sports news websites maybe. It’s just not bro. If you’ve read all this down to here, I’m sorry, you’re not a bro. 

9. Choose your words carefully

Bros have a very particular way of speaking and writing. I’m sure someone somewhere is making it their life’s work to put together the definitive brocabulary dictionary, but for now just start all texts with “sup” or “whaddup” and address everyone with “bro”, “bruh”, “brah” (both are acceptable), “boss”, “dawg”, or even the classic, “dude”. You can also use “aight” as your go-to affirmative. 

10. The Backward Baseball Cap (BBC)

The backward baseball cap is your one, conclusive, unquestionable statement to the world that you’re masc musc non-scene. You will not be taken seriously as a bro, unless you wear a BBC at least 80% of the time. For the other 20%, you can turn it forwards. The choice of baseball caps that you have is very wide. It is safer to stick to the classics though: your college team, your hometown team, the team of a city you’ve never been to but like the colours of, any fucking team will do. You can mix it up with some Nike or Under Armour, occasionally. Don’t wear one of those big caps with the gay slogans though, as your BBC must never be humourous or camp. Those caps are exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to do.

You can wear your baseball cap everywhere. There are literally no fucking limits. You can wear it in the gym and sweat through it like a motherfucker (but you’ll look masc), you can wear it to the gay bars (and you’ll look non-scene and everyone will want to fuck you) and you can even wear it in the evening at semi-formal dinners with a long-sleeved, button down shirt (and you’ll look fratty, which is something you want).

That’s it.

Please follow these rules and be a bro and send me pics. I will probably want you. If you already know me and I don’t want you, try putting on a backward baseball cap. I will probably change my mind immediately and suddenly want you. Whatever you do though, do it quickly. We have about three, four years of this left, then the heteronormative rules will change and if you keep doing bro, you’ll be left sad and alone, like a 2009 urban gay dancing by himself in offensive high tops and thug chains at a circuit party, still in 2014.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Monday 26/05/14

I always wanted to tell you this, but I've always been really scared. Nothing in the world terrifies me more than what I want to tell you. But I've reached a point where, not only does this ruin our relationship, but it's also making me lead my life unhappily.
You've said to me several times and you said it to me again recently that you don't think I'm open towards you and Mum and that I don't communicate with you enough. I'm afraid there's a main reason for this. It's because I was ashamed about who I am. I was so ashamed that I felt worthless and I felt that I don't deserve happiness.
Now I don't personally feel this shame, because I've come to terms with myself, but I still feel a great shame hiding this from you and Mum; hiding this from you in particular. I'm gay.
I don't know if you ever suspected this or if it even crossed your mind. It doesn't really matter at this point.
This has tortured me for a very long time. I've known ever since I was born. Ever since I remember myself anyway. It's part of the reason why I left Greece when I was 17 years old. Both because I knew there's no tolerance for that sort of thing here, but also because I never wanted to admit it to my family. (This isn't the only reason why I left, of course; I also really enjoy living abroad).
Still, it took me a long time to admit it to myself even after that. Only when I was 25-26 was I able to be honest and to stop lying, both to myself and everyone around me. Thankfully, I was living in London already at that time and nobody seemed that interested, no one reacted negatively.
In any case, I wanted to say that if it took me twenty-five years to accept this, I don't expect you to suddenly be OK with it. (Even though I would really like that).
I understand your background, how you grew up and what you believe in. And you might never be able to accept this. But I don't know, you might do, if you think about it for a while and let some time pass.
In an idea world, this will improve our relationship. I'm still the same person, nothing changes about the [name] that you know. I don't behave differently around the people I know abroad, to all of my friends, and I won't behave differently around my family (if you want for our relationship to continue). I know there's a certain preconception in Greece about how gay people should behave, but this is not based on reality.
I hope that after this, you will still want to be in my life. I hope that after this, you will still love me. This would mean a great deal to me. On the other hand, I expect that you might react negatively .You might want to stop talking to me. You might want never to see me again. You might want to cut me off completely.
I'm prepared for everything. The only thing I'm not prepared for, is to continue being scared, alone, and living with the "shame" of this secret from my parents. That's why I had to tell you. I'm 34 years old and I've accepted myself for around ten years now, and I've grown really tired of having a fake relationship with my family. (And like I said, nobody in the UK or the US has a problem with this, but psychologically I will never be well and I'll never be happy until I tell my parents).
Nothing in the world will make me happier than for you to accept me and continue to love me for who I am. But again, I will understand if you want to have nothing to do with me. I love you always and I'll always be your only son.
Love, [name]

Monday, 19 May 2014

Monday 19/05/14

On Saturday I’ve been in Athens for four earth days, but in Greek time that’s actually two and a half years. Time in Greece drags very much and every day feels a lot longer. This also explains why they all look so much older than they actually are. By the time the average UK or US resident is in his early teens, someone who lives in Greece looks and feels as if they’re at least 32. You can check any Greek high school for evidence of that. Greek people in their early 20s look 45, etc, until they all turn into those little hunchbacked, snow-haired, black-clad caricatures you see on postcards from the Greek islands when they’re 38.

At least on Saturday the main event for which I came over is taking place and this main event is my sister’s wedding. In preparation for this wedding, during the daytime when my sister has her friends over to help her get ready, etc, I am mainly hiding in my bedroom. Then my Dad comes over and he tells me that I have to go out and say hi because otherwise I’m being very rude, and this guy controls all the money, so I do as I’m told. Then I go out and say hi and it’s all very awkward and then I go back in my room pretending that I have to get ready, but I just sit there and refresh Facebook, maybe watch some episodes of New Girl online (I do not enjoy New Girl).

Then eventually we all do get ready and leave and when we get to the church I am reminded that I’m actually best man at this wedding, well, it’s not so much that I’m reminded because I’d forgotten, but I had definitely blocked out the fact. The good news is that the best man at a Greek wedding does not have to make a speech. If that had been the case, it would have been a flat-out no for me. The bad news is that you do have several other ceremonial tasks to perform, but at least you can do those in silence and with a little bit of direction.

One thing that does happen at this wedding is that I get to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in twenty years or so, and that includes aunts, uncles, long-lost cousins (who now have children of their own), parents’ friends, and people my sister went to school with. At a Greek wedding, once the ceremony is over, the bride, groom, best man and the couple’s parents all stand there next to each other in a line and all 250 guests walk past, shake their hand, congratulate the couple and ask the best man when he’s going to get married if he’s single (which I am) and straight (which they think that I am, because there is simply no alternative in Greece). 249 people asking me when I’m going to get married and telling me that I’m running out of time because I’m 34 is a very uplifting half hour, which in no way makes me feel inadequate, worthless, like I’ve failed in life, and that I will never, ever find happiness, just fucking forget it.

My favourite guest is one of my Mum’s best friends, who has known me all my life and is very, very, like, very rich and has always had a soft spot for me, and the only thing that she says to me is: ‘Do whatever makes you happy; anything that makes you happy’ whilst looking at me intensely in the eyes, and to be quite honest the only thing that’s missing is a wink. Because, you know, she knows. And she wants to let me know that she’s fine with it. I like her.

Then the church bit is over and we go have the reception. I have to point out here that I’m a huge fan of weddings, and wedding receptions, in particular. Wedding receptions are the only occasions where I drink alcohol and that is a fact. Naturally I am an extremely fun wedding guest, because I get drunk very easily and then I take to the dancefloor. If you have an upcoming wedding, please invite me, you will not regret it. Before all this happens though my sister makes a speech and the main focus of the speech is how I traveled all the way from Los Angeles to be there for this, and I really appreciate this very much, because I’m a complete megalomaniac, and why wouldn’t the focus of this wedding shift from the couple to me? Then we eat, drink, get wasted, smile awkwardly a few dozen times while distant relatives I haven’t seen since 1997 continue to put the knife against my throat until I provide specific timings for my own wedding, dance, and go home.

Then next day, my sister, her brand new husband and my parents are having what could be referred as a post-wedding brunch. During this, there is some casual banter about the wedding, what everyone wore, who looked terrible, who got the most drunk, that sort of thing. Then my Dad asks me why I insist on being single and why I’m not married yet and whether I’m intending to grow old alone and miserable. I tell my Dad that, no, I’m not intending to grow old alone and miserable, if I have the choice, but sometimes things are more complicated than we want and we can’t do much about it and I would appreciate it if he didn’t keep pressing on this matter. Then we continue to talk a bit more about the wedding, who was the best dancer, who’s aged badly, who has the most beautiful children, that sort of thing. Then my Dad proposes a toast and this toast includes a lot about me being single and alone and hopefully at some point finding a nice girl to get married to, and then I walk out of the post-wedding brunch and I go back home.

There, I write a six-page coming out letter to my Dad in broken Greek and littered with spelling mistakes and leave it to my sister to give to him when I’m on a plane flying back to LA later this week. I'm 34. I believe some people do this before that age. But I suppose one has to be ready, and for the first time I am.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Sunday 30/03/14

This is us. This is my social group. We are gays living in big metropolitan areas heavily involved in the gay scene. We all know each other. We all have big muscles and violent abs and handsome faces and lots of disposable income and innumerable sexual partners, each one hotter than the next. We adopt variations of heteronormative looks (some of us are bros, some of us are jocks, some of us are simply worked out guys next door), which we document incessantly on Facebook, Instagram and all your other surrounding news feeds / timelines. We will post pictures of us with our shirts off, standing together on party dancefloors or next to expensive hotel swimming pools, and sometimes we’ll even quote Mean Girls and tag the picture with, 'You can’t sit with us'. We go to the best parties, take the best drugs, and have VIP tickets for the best events. We didn't even pay for them. Are you jealous of us?

We fall in love with each other and we move in together, and retire from the scene for a few months, maybe a couple of years, because we’ve found happiness, and we don’t need this any longer; we’re over it. Then we fuck things up for fun or because we’re bored, and we start going out again and seeing all the people we know – most of them are still there, at a different part of their own cycle – and we fall right back into place and we do it all over again. We can have this forever. All that changes is that each time you go back there’s one more person at the pool party that you have to avoid making eye contact with / dancing too close to, because in the very recent past you destroyed their soul a little bit, or they destroyed yours.