Sunday, 27 March 2011

Exit Through The Wound first extract & Pre-order info

Right, so Exit Through The Wound is out to buy in the shops / Amazon on the 8th September. Pre-ordering directly from the publisher, Glasshouse Books, below means you get it in advance (some time in August) and at a lower price. Why wouldn't you, hmm?

If you think I'm really bad at this 'selling' business, you should see me do a reading. I read to the floor. In fact, you should come and see me do a reading later in the year, and if I do look up and make eye contact with anyone at any point, they'll win a prize.

Anyway, yes, please buy the book. If you like me you have the added benefit of making me happy and if you don't like me, well, the quicker you buy the book the quicker I'll disappear and you'll never hear from me again. Win-win.

After the links, you can find the first extract from the novel.

For delivery in the UK (£6 + £2.50 p&p):


For delivery in Europe (£6 + £3.50 p&p):


For delivery outside Europe (£6 + £4.50 p&p):


Here's the beginning of the book. An earlier version of this piece appeared on the blog briefly. It was the first thing I wrote that made me think *oh*. Maybe I could write a longer story.


Here goes.


40

During that summer in California, I wore shorts and t-shirts a lot. I watched boys measure steroids in the next room at the place where I was staying. Buy and sell them and measure steroids. I played Blur, mainly ‘For Tomorrow’ – I must have heard this song at least a hundred times in those few weeks. During that summer I decided to stop shaving and to grow my hair. I took long walks on my own, well, what meant to be long walks but I always came back within half an hour. I kissed several girls; I’ve lost count exactly how many. One night that summer I went to the local shop wearing what I thought was a solemn face and a hooded top and shorts and old deck shoes, and I wanted the strangers that I came across to say that I’m down. I bought two cans of Coke but the guy at the till mustn’t have been paying attention and he didn’t notice the sadness in my style and instead he read ‘Ralph Lauren’ back at me from my hooded top and he smiled. During that summer I finished reading several books, none of which were new, all of which I had read before. I let a stranger jerk me off in a car park and I tried to learn the lyrics to a Hole album, though I forget most of them now. I went to parties about every weekend, some of which I was invited to. During that summer I spent most of the time worrying that I wasn’t 16 and I would never be again. I decided that I should never read books more than once, because I’m running out of time and there are too many books that I still want to get through. That summer my best friend told me over the phone that I would never find love, I would never be happy in a relationship. I snapped back – thoughtlessly – that I’ll find many relationships and he said: ‘exactly’. I hung out with many prostitutes, some of whom were open to me about it and some of whom weren’t, and for those ones that weren’t, I pretended that I didn’t know. Early that summer I found my favourite spot in the city, some park bench overlooking downtown LA, and sat there alone on several occasions, watching the view and planning to bring somebody I cared for to sit there with me one late evening before I left the city. For one reason or another, this never actually happened. I lost a lot of weight again, mainly because I usually forgot to eat, plus I never worked out anymore, and I went to a lot of concerts; I paid for most of them. I went out to several clubs and I kept taking drugs, yet more ferociously than before, though I always turned it down when somebody offered me Es or MDMA on some dancefloor somewhere, regardless of how fucked I was on GBL or GHB or ketamine or coke, because I never wanted to feel euphoric, ecstatic, happy. These were still dirty words. It was a Sunday morning in a club during that summer when some guy walked up to me and told me that I looked perfect, then asked me to close my eyes. When I did, he kissed each of my eyelids softly and went away. I didn’t react to this but it made me think of my Father for some reason and I felt sorry for him. Sorry for having me as a son. During that summer it got really hot and it reminded me of summers in Greece when I was growing up, and that usually made me more upset because thinking of a wasted youth and the passing of time is the quickest way to kill my spirit. I drove into the desert several times, usually in the evening, taking girls with me that I was dating at the time. We’d park on the side of the road, leave the music on in the car and sit on the red, dusty rocks surrounded by darkness. On a few occasions other cars sped by, filled with drunken young boys who would yell out of the windows as they drove past. All those times I kept quiet. During that summer I tried to cut out sedatives for the first time, but that only meant reducing my Valium dosage to 10mg every 48 hours or so. It was years later that I was able to sleep consistently every night without any pills. During that summer I lay in the park every other day and got sunburnt and although I could have done this with friends, I usually did it alone. During that summer I realised that I would never live to see my late 30s, because this existence isn’t sustainable really, no one can survive it, but that didn’t upset me, it didn’t bother me that much and I decided to be practical instead, so I started making lists of things I wanted my friends to do after I wouldn’t be around anymore. During that summer, I started researching jobs that I would never apply for, ate lots of cheap ice cream and shot up for the first time.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday 25/03/11

You know how books sometimes have a quotation right at the beginning, before the actual story starts? From another book, or a poem, or a song, or some really smart person of some sort? The quote that I want to get is from a Sylvia Plath poem called Pursuit and it’s this:

‘I hurl my heart to halt his pace,
To quench his thirst I squander blood;
He eats, and still his need seeks food,
Compels a total sacrifice.’

I’m not sure if I will get it yet, because you need approval and stuff like that (and Sylvia Plath is, apparently, one of the most requested poets, probably because she’s well known and attracts people like me who are not actually really interested in poetry and have only read one poetry book in their lives), but in any case, if you buy my book please imagine it there at the very beginning. Thanks.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thursday 24/03/11

Here are my top 21 songs from February / March 2k11.

Usual disclaimer: Songs 'appearing online' over these two months. Anything goes - singles, album tracks, remixes, other leaked tracks.

Ranking order correct on the very minute of clicking on 'publish post'. I reserve the right to change my mind seconds later.

I limited myself to three songs maximum by artist, unless they were Yelle in which case they could have four.

(Clickable links)

1. Que veux-tu - Yelle
2. Out of control (ft Paul Barker) - Wolfram
3. S'eteint le soleil - Yelle
4. Mon pays - Yelle
5. Fireworks (ft Hercules & Love Affair) - Wolfram
6. Evil woman - Hoodie Allen & Mike Posner
7. Is that your girl - Mattie Safer
8. Unillusion - Yelle
9. A house of many ghosts - Brothertiger
10. Think you can wait - The National
11. Big fat bass - Britney Spears (yes, I did just put Britney right after The National)
12. Norway - Wolfram (sorry, can't find link)
13. Crazy for you (ft Annie) - Designer Drugs
14. Walk it back - R.E.M.
15. Singular - Discodeine
16. Embody - SebastiAn
17. Bernadette - IAMX
18. Cold Red Light - IAMX
19. Udon or Work - High Powered Boys
20. High together - Siriusmo
21. Hold my breath - Holy Ghost!

The end

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tuesday 15/03/11

I emailed a friend today and asked him what he's reading and he wrote back with a link for this book called ___ by a writer called ___. I looked it up and it turned out he was an English writer and this was his first novel and it just came out. Then I looked up the writer on facebook - we have two friends in common - and found his profile and emailed my friend and said:

I looked up ___ on facebook. His profile picture is a tiny blurry shot of the back of his head. How do these people expect to sell any books?

And my friend - who's a bit of a lit snob - wrote back quite facetiously:

I don't know, perhaps they believe it will sell based on content 'LOL'

And I said:

Yes, in the year 2011 when no one buys anything printed on paper anymore and despite this, still, hundreds of thousands of new titles come out each year, I'm going to sit there and hope that my book sells 'based on content'. HA. I operated on a specific policy during the London Preppy days, which was 'come for the pictures, stay for the words' and it worked very well, thank you, M.

Then I came home and I put this together, because I kinda think that Exit Through The Wound is pretty good (though I find it embarrassing to state anything like this), but I also appreciate the highly ridiculous in life and I don't think this will ever go away.

So:

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday 11/03/11

This is the back cover of the book. The paper planes make sense when you read a particular bit of the story.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Thursday 10/03/11

An email I received yesterday:

I was having dinner last week in Cape Town and two guys at the next table were talking about your blog. The tables were close together so I listened. They talked about whether they thought it was actually real. And they decided that it wasn't but they couldn't work out who the person was in the pictures with the red bar.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wednesday 09/03/11 - Meeting Bret Easton Ellis

I thought I’d write this, seeing that I’m a real-life Bret Easton Ellis tribute act with that tattoo and everything, so why not.

I don’t know if I should assume that everyone who comes across this page knows everything about London Preppy, so here’s a brief history:

- I kinda like Bret Easton Ellis’ books
- At one point I got a tattoo of his name on my arm
- At another point I got another tattoo referencing Less Than Zero, my favourite book of his
- A couple of years ago BEE was giving an interview and he brought me up as an example of a super-fan or something, I guess

The whole tattoo thing has been quite divisive, not because there are no other people out there with writers’ names tattooed on them, but, I suppose, mainly because BEE is still alive and active, which makes my choice a little creepy. It’s probably fine to have Shakespeare or Kafka or Nietzsche tattooed on you, because these people are dead and it’s not like you’re ever likely to meet them.

On the other hand, people also get tattoos of singer or band names on them all the time and these singers or bands are very much alive, but somehow this comes across as more normal. I don’t know why and I don’t care much.

I’ve said before that I didn’t actually have some burning desire to meet Bret (like I don’t really have a burning desire to meet anyone, because meeting anyone is very stressful and you have to talk and things, which I’m not good at), but as it happens I actually went to a book signing for Imperial Bedrooms last year and met him there. And here’s how that went.

My friend Enid sent me a message in July last year telling me that Bret was doing a reading at this book shop on Kensington High Street and that I should go. My first thought was, well that’s definitely not happening, but then I guess what happened was that I spoke about this with some friends and we decided it would be a fantastic opportunity to drop a meme and generate some ridiculousness and hilarity in the form of ‘a story to tell’. So I went.

My friend N bought us tickets and I paid him back in Xanax and we got there at a relatively decent time when there was already a queue, but not a long one. The reading was sold out apparently, but when we got in and took our seats it turned out that the chair next to mine was and remained empty, which is a shame because A Girl also wanted to come, but she couldn’t. I’m not going to complain much though, because it’s nice to have an empty seat next to you, as you well know.

Bret came on and he read a bit of Imperial Bedrooms and them some broad from a ridiculous chick magazine who thought she was Mariella Frostrup ‘interviewed’ him and I suppose he did a good job of not throwing a hardback on her head, but perhaps I would also be more patient if I were getting paid.

Then they opened to questions from the audience and the main people I remember participating were:

Some old Italian woman (45? 50?) with numerous incredibly long-winded, going-nowhere questions in broken English and the heaviest accent I’ve heard in my life, who made me turn religious momentarily and thank Jesus for not sounding like that (although I still have an accent).

Some lit geeks on the front row who were asking literary questions and practically providing answers as well whilst Bret was talking, mainly namedropping books and writers, etc, trying to convince everyone in the room that they’re exceptionally well-read and cultured and perhaps they were, but there were also incredibly unattractive and at the end of the day we all know that being good-looking is the only thing that really counts.

A young couple who were attacking Bret with such original questions as ‘how can you say Less Than Zero is a moralist book when it’s bleak and filled with violence’, etc, which made me think that if I do become a successful writer (ha), I’ll still go to readings twenty-five years down the line and answer questions about the red bars on my pictures on the blog, and how much of what I write is true, because there are always morons in the general public who can’t think of anything new for themselves.

Anyway, when that insufferable section was over we had two choices: either leave or queue up and have our books signed by Bret. Naturally, after a mild panic attack, I decided to stay.

And these are some of the highlights of what was said between Bret and me over the next, say, 10-15 minutes.

Me (as an opening line): So yeah, I’m the guy with the tattoo of your name *points at arm*
Bret: Oh, you’re London Preppy

Then we talked about the interview he gave to the magazine mentioning me and my blog, then I tried to reassure him that I wasn’t a crazy stalker, then he made a good impression of believing me, then I generally stuttered a lot, then he mentioned seeing me on twitter and contemplating whether he should follow me (“should Bret Easton Ellis follow London Preppy”, he asked himself, apparently), then I told him that he should, then he said he hasn’t read much of the blog, then I told him that he’s not missing out on anything, then there was more small talk, a ridiculous picture of us together and then he signed my book ‘to London Preppy’ instead of my real name (my choice, as I thought this would generate a more buzzworthy jpeg for blogging / tweeting purposes). Before I left he said that he’ll follow me on twitter, asked if people can private-message each other there and then suggested that we keep in touch. None of which things have happened since, of course, but hey the guy has been in the public eye for three decades and knows how to speak to fans and what to say. He’s not crazy.

Anyway, I guess that’s everything. Since I finished my book a few weeks ago, I’ve been contacting him on twitter because I’d like him to have a read and in an ideal world give me a sleeve note, but he hasn’t acknowledged this.

Perhaps this is a little desperate, but I think I have one opportunity in life this year to make this book a success and be a full-time writer and I'm going to try not to waste it. Bret has had a ridiculously successful writing career over the last twenty-five years and people who have been following his interviews /twitter / writing lately (pre-Imperial Bedrooms to now) can clearly see that his focus is currently Hollywood / the movies and he’s extremely keen to 'break through' there in some capacity or another (possibly because that’s where the big $$$ is or possibly because that’s his preferred medium now), but I’m about thirty years behind in career life-stage and a moderately successful first novel with a sleeve note from my favourite living writer would do me fine.

Wednesday 09/03/11 Part 2

Does anyone have a spare ticket or two for Hercules & Love Affair this Friday at Village Underground? Obvs, I'll pay (but it's sold out).

Wednesday 09/03/11

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tuesday 08/03/11

Well this has never happened before, but here we have a guest blogger on London Preppy; whatchu gonna do about it?

This guest blogger is a new friend (I’m using the word liberally as I don’t believe in human interaction, let alone human ‘relationships’) and is a) female and b) gay. Perhaps like me you were unaware that women can now be gay too, but this is primarily the point of this post. It’s educational.

She currently lives in London but is moving to Melbourne of Australia fame within the next couple of months. If you happen to live there, you should try to seek her out and be her friend. There are a lot worse things you could do.

The guest blogger writes:

Ok, so for the past couple of months, I’ve been working out at London Preppy’s gym and we’ve been chatting about the talent there (for him there’s loads, for me, as a lesbian, it’s a veritable desert of tumbleweed, broken dreams and unfulfilled potential).

Anyway, at some point, it dawned on me that London Preppy, author, philosopher and gay-man-about-town, knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about his sisters-in-arms, the lesbians. I think this only truly realised this when London Preppy said “I know nothing about you or your kind, Gia, so don’t assume I’m understanding any of these cultural references you keep mentioning, they’re all passing me by.”

My first thought was ‘this is a travesty, and after I’ve spent hours poring over his blog as well’. My second thought (because I’m practical, it’s one of our ‘things’) was ‘I must write a handy lesbian spotters guide to educate him and promote pan gay man / lesbian woman solidarity’.

So I did. And here it is.

Introducing The Handy Lesbian Spotters Guide.... featuring Leftie Lezzie, Curious and Deviant, Sporty Dyce and more! (but not loads more, I know you have lives, people).

Use it to identify that girl in your office who claims never to date. Ever wonder who those strange women (who aren’t fag-hags) are when you’re out? Tick off each typology the next time you’re out on the scene. Has your sister never brought home a man? Here’s your answer...

“Leftie Lezzie” estimated 18% of les population

As the name suggests, this lesbian is left-leaning, and is likely to be in possession of an expensive, liberal, but mostly useless, education. She is highly likely to be a vegetarian (meat is murder) and tends to drink herbal tea whilst reading The Guardian. She has an annoying social conscience and will lecture you endlessly on abortion rights, free university education and how appalling the Tories are. She would probably be a lesbian, even if she didn’t fancy women, as sex is a ‘feminist issue’. She has poor dress sense and tends to wear plastic shoes (no leather allowed). She totally knows that today is International Women’s Day. If you’re ever invited to Lefty Lezzie’s house for dinner, don’t go, you will be fed an under-seasoned lentil-based dish and you will get cat hairs all over your trousers. If Leftie Lezzie was a celebrity, she would be Germaine Greer.

Curious and Deviant”: estimated 11% of les population

This is the segment that fuels the fantasies of lad-mag readers and anything with “girl-on-girl” in the title. They are stereotypically feminine and most likely to be bi. They tend to look quite predatory. They visit (and sometimes stay) in lezzie land because of sexual curiosity and because they think this is an instant ticket to hotness. This is the segment most likely to utter phrases such as “well, a woman just knows a woman’s body better” or “fancy a threesome?” Almost all women on the fetish scene fall into the Curious and Deviant typology and there is a steady stream of them frequenting girl-bars, trying to pick up innocent lesbians to corrupt. They tend to have better luck doing this, if they leave their boyfriend(s) at home. Don’t worry about being invited to their house for dinner – they don’t cook. If Curious and Deviant was a celebrity, she would be Angelina Jolie (and she fantasises about this fact often).

PS, Other point of interest; my girlfriend falls into this typology. I fall into the ‘innocent lesbian, being picked up in a bar’ typology. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

“Gay-man Wannabe”: estimated 24% of les population

You see Gay-man Wannabe every time you go into Soho - her spiritual home is ‘The Candy Bar’. This typology has come about because we don’t really have a culture or an identity to speak of – Gay-man Wannabe has cottoned on to the fact that gay men do have a culture (even if it is a shallow, vacuous, drug-fuelled one) and has therefore simply co-opted it, ripped it off, stolen it. If gay men ever stopped admiring their pretty reflections long enough to realise this, Gay-man Wannabe would have a lawsuit on her hands. She’s into fashion, the gym and grinding her jaw at 4 in the morning. She’s quite androgynous but because she’s only 5‘4 and female, she tends to look like a 12 year old boy, rather than the hot, muscled gay guy she’s emulating. Rather embarrassingly, tween-aged girls in Topshop sometime run over to her thinking she’s Justin Beiber* If Gay-man Wannabe was a celebrity, she actually would be Justin Beiber. Or possibly P!nk

*this actually happened to a friend of mine. Apparently it made her feel like a ‘total peado’

“Sporty Dyce” (estimated 19% of les population)

Sporty Dyce is your classic sport-loving tom-boy. She comes in two flavours; posh or common. Posh Dyce went to all-girls boarding school, did lots of pony-riding (take that any way you want to) and had an ‘incident’ with her best friend Harriet, after too much shandy, in the lower sixth. Harriet and her never spoke again (v sad). Common Dyce was dressed in her older brother’s clothes because money was a bit tight at home, so it’s all the parents' fault really. Posh Dyce likes hockey and rubgy. Common Dyce plays footie. All of the women’s English football team are common Dyce (fact). Weirdly, Common Dyce all have long hair, because they think that having short hair makes you look like a lesbian. Unfortunately, this means they just look like lesbians with crap long hair (if you don’t want to look like a lesbian, take off the track-suit luv!). If Common Sporty Dyce was a celebrity, she would be Sporty Spice (obviously). If Posh Sporty Dyce was a celebrity, she would be Claire Balding or Ellen MacAuthur.

“The Straight Lesbian” (estimated 16% of les population)

As the name suggests, The Straight Lesbian would really much rather be hetro. She views her sexual orientation as a massive inconvenience, a cruel joke. Unlike Curious and Deviant, who at least enjoys sex with men and is nominally bisexual, The Straight Lesbian has no real feelings towards men at all but craves the respectability of marriage and children. All Straight Lesbians were v happy the day civil partnerships were granted. They also love a bit of baby-making and will scour the internet looking to purchase sperm by dubious means. . If The Straight Lesbian feels she can’t deal with faking an actual hetro marriage, she will look for a ‘wife’ to settle down with. There are quite a few unsuspecting straight men married to straight lesbian. Sometimes, they switch and pretend that they are actually straight, but five years later, their ex-girlfriend will still receive drunken phonecalls off them reminiscing about ‘how good they were together’.
Personally, I find The Straight Lesbian absolutely terrifying.

If the straight lesbian was a celebrity, she would be Anne Heche (Ellen DeGeneres’ ex gf, now ‘straight’)

Point of interest: I once went out on a date with a Straight Lesbian. She asked me (on the first date) if my brother would be open to the idea of sperm donation. I replied “my brother is manic-depressive, so I would really worry about the quality of his sperm”. She said “yes, but how does he feel about sperm donation?” - we didn’t date again.

“Eastend Hipster” (estimated 12% of les population)

Soho is dead. Eastend Hipster knew this about three years ago and has been strutting her stuff, albeit v cooly, in Dalston and its environs ever since. She wore Wayfarers the summer before everyone else did, she had the skinny jeans and the two-tone hair a whole season before the fashion bods took notice and to be honest, I don't know what she'll be wearing this weekend, as I. am. not. her. She studies art at Central St Martin's College, and like the song goes, despite living in a squat and being a bit of a working class hero, she often skips to the home counties of a weekend, to visit the decidedly middle-class ‘rentals. She thinks I'm only bitchin' 'cause I'm jealous, and she's right; now is her moment in the sun, so let her enjoy it; she's cool, she's hip, she's all over those underground warehouse parties and she's so post-meta-gay that she doesn't even see sexuality as a label... 'it's more of... an energy between two people in a moment'.

Like most tryhards who find themselves accidentally surfing the zeitgeist, she's also insufferably smug. If Eastend Hipster was a celebrity, she certainly wouldn't give you an autograph and she might just be Agyness Deyn.