Sunday, March 23, 2008

For Pete's sake

I've mentioned the music of Pete Atkin on here before, and I've also mentioned his excellent new CD, Midnight Voices, which is re-recording of many of the best songs he wrote with Clive James (yes, yes - the crime critic) back in the 1970s.   I should therefore tell you that the CD is now officially released (though it's been available from Pete's own Hillside Music for some time now) and is getting good coverage is places as diverse as The Word and The Times

Pete's also performing, with most of the band who play on the CD, at the Stables in Wavendon on 4 April. 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Deadbeat diplomats and chiselling crooks

The governments of Mongolia, India and the Philippines have been ordered to pay $57.6million in property taxes to New York City.  The New York Senator, Charles Schumer, has proposed withholding the outstanding payments from any aid given by the US Government to these countries.  He is quoted as saying: "When these deadbeat diplomats refuse to pay millions in taxes, we continue to send them aid.  It doesn't make sense."

Public responses to the issue have been predictably mixed.  I won't add my opinion, except to say that I suspect London's mayor, Ken Livingstone - whose language can be as colourful as Schumer's - may be watching with some interest...


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Turning the goose into the Russian bear

There are times when I worry that the themes addressed in The Shadow Walker might have turned out to be more prescient than I'd realised...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Many of them are dewy-eyed

We really do seem to be living in an increasingly global society.  We've grown accustomed to the growing number of Eastern Europeans in the UK, and it appears that in turn the Czech Republic  is now becoming home to an increasing number of Mongolians.  Sadly, accordingly to the Czech newspaper Pravo, a growing number of these visitors are falling victim to fraud.  The newspaper suggests that 'it is relatively easy to cheat Mongolians, because many of them are dewy-eyed.'  Which, in this case, appears to be a synonym for 'honest'.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A pink low-rise house by Soul Street

Some time ago, the Daily Express, taking a momentary break from its more usual coverage of the late Princess Diana, reported on Brits buying second homes in Mongolia.  I was a little sceptical at the time, but I should have known better than to doubt the Express.  Belatedly, the Financial Times is now following up the story

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beyond (and inside) Borders

This risks becoming horribly circular, but just thought I'd mention that Peter Rozovsky's reliably excellent blog, Detectives Beyond Borders, has recently drawn attention to my link to the fascinating interview with Yondon Otgonbayar, the General Secretary of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.  Thanks for the link, Peter. 

Peter illustrated his piece with an image of the cover of The Adversary, which gives me all the feeble excuse I need to remind you that the paperback is now out in the UK.  Available from any half-decent bookshop, and I note that Borders are promoting it as part of their 'buy one, get one half price' so you could get a copy and then save some money on that other book you've been meaning to buy.  Or vice versa, of course. 

Saturday, March 1, 2008

One of the good days

The writing life has its ups and downs, as well as a fair bit of just trundling along the flatlands of everyday existence.  Every now and then, though, you get one of those days that justifies all that time spent in the garret (I do literally write in an attic, albeit a rather comfortable one with a bookshelves, broadband and, if I raise my head slightly, a view out over the Pennines).  My best day so far was shortly after The Shadow Walker was first published.  I'd spent an hour signing some copies in Waterstone's in Manchester, and, for reasons unconnected with my writing life, was then catching a train down to Birmingham.  On the way through Manchester Piccadilly station, I bought a copy of The Independent to read on the train.  Flicking idly through it, I found myself staring, quite possibly open-mouthed, at a very enthusiastic review by Jane Jakeman of The Shadow Walker, which had been selected as the newspaper's book of the day.  I've never had a chance to thank Jane Jakeman for that review - so if anyone out there knows her, please pass on my gratitude.

Yesterday quite didn't match that, but it was still a decent day.  I was again in Manchester for various reasons, and took the opportunity to visit the Waterstone's crime section, as I frequently do.  I was delighted to see that The Adversary paperback, which is officially released next week, was already stacked high on their display table as part of their '3 for 2' spring promotion. 

Then I arrived home to find a neat package waiting for me - copies of the uncorrected proof editions of the US edition of The Shadow Walker from Berkley Books, complete with Richard Tuschman's splendid cover.  Looks terrific - I'll be only too happy if people judge this book by its cover. 

So - not bad.  As Van Morrison once sang: ' Wouldn't it be great if it was like this all the time?'