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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

So what’s the deal with technology?

This is going to be a bit of a long one. We rely on our tech for everything… book reading among those things. A post by Grimlock recently, is the driver for this post now … http://allhailgrimlock.booklikes.com/post/1821010/brief-news

 

It’s also not going to tell you anything you don’t already know.

 

Basically, Grimlock was saying that Apple wouldn’t repair the computer, which was actually fixed by Dad tightening a screw.

 

Me? I work in technology. It’s been my career for decades. Keeping abreast of the technology market place is part of my job and also, my life. That’s part of the problem these days; our lives are so busy that we rarely have time to learn skills outside our careers… and electronics repair is one of those things that even I’m trying to learn.

 

So lets get down to the bottom of this. Companies exist to make money. Their shareholders are their number one concern… but as many of us invest in the stock market, or put money into pensions that also use the stock market to grow our retirement funds, you can quickly see that we can end up in a vicious cycle.

 

Customer lock-in has been a feature of the technology world for decades; even going back to the days of mainframes. Suppliers and manufacturers do their best to make sure that when you need parts, you have to go back to them… by locking out the competition.

 

In the book world, lock in appears in a variety of guises; the most obvious is that when you buy an e-book from Amazon, you can’t suddenly decide to read it on a Kobo, because the file is encrypted and locked to the Amazon platform. You break your Kindle… you’ve got to buy another one if you want to continue to read all those books you purchased.

 

So you know all this already. What’s new?

 

Well, in Grimlock’s case, she was bitten by Apple’s gouging. Third party repair shops are having their replacement parts seized at the border by Apple complaining to border force that they are counterfeit. Actually, they’re not. There’s a difference between counterfeit and refurbished … a point that Apple lost in Norway recently - https://www.macrumors.com/2018/04/13/apple-lawsuit-repair-shop-norway/

 

Basically, refurbished are legitimate parts which have been repaired; many reports I’ve read, state that the refurbishment has been taken out by the same factory that made the parts brand new. But Apple don’t want them to be available to third market repair shops. They want all repairs to go through them… and that’s when they’ve got you over the barrel.

 

To this end, they’ve done many, many things including the T2 chip which makes it impossible to get your data off your device if it fails. It also makes it impossible to replace some components… even with original parts… unless you’ve got special software which will, “OK,” the new part to the machine - https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/12/18077166/apple-macbook-air-mac-mini-t2-chip-security-repair-replacement-tool

 

There are other ways that customers get a nasty end of the stick… like using slower memory on cheaper phone models - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/20/cheapest_apple_iphone_7_memory_waaaaay_slower_than_pricier_model/

 

The problem here is that people are paying a premium price for what they believe is a premium product. Yes, there are people who use these phones as a status symbol for their wealth… but let’s put that one side for the minute.

 

The customer is paying the premium for a phone/laptop and service. Many still believe that Apple are virus proof. Back in the day, even Apple themselves advised on their web site, that people should run anti-virus software… and I saw that with my own eyes… but that advice vanished and the myth that Apple’s software is invulnerable, persisted. Heck, who is Apple to deny people’s beliefs? As long as it doesn’t perpetuate an untruth itself, then the situation isn’t Apple’s fault… right? Here’s an article on that - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/02/apple_mac_av_advice/

 

There’s been a number of bugs and other issues in their software that can cause all sorts of problems even in iPhones - https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/15/17015654/apple-iphone-crash-ios-11-bug-imessage

 

To top the cake off, just watch Louis Rossmann’s channel and you quickly understand that the premium product that you paid good money for… isn’t actually all that premium. Repairing Apple kit has been a solid source of Rossmann’s income and social media fame for some time - https://www.youtube.com/user/rossmanngroup

 

Now … you can say that Apple is right to restrict repairs… third party repair shops can be low quality and dangerous. Well, Rossmann tackles that in this video, where he shows just how bad Apple’s own repairs have been; (at about 2:30 in) and I’ve watched his other videos where supposedly new boards were actually re-worked; and re-worked badly so further failure was inevitable... which is how come they end up in Rossmann's hands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K669-vhKshU

 

For me, I’ve seen people put money into Apple products because it’s convenient. I understand this. The technology world moves so fast that I can’t keep up with it… and it’s my career!!! It’s easy to have a phone, desktop, laptop, that all talk to each other and just work. The plug and play nature of many things, including Time Machine’s peace of mind.

 

Another argument that can be put to one side, is the issue that Apple haven't been the actual inventors of many of these progressive technologies; they've succeeded because they've packaged them in a way that seamlessly worked. At least... to a degree, as you've now seen.

 

It’s been easy to highlight Apple in all this because they’re hitting the press all the time, but these business practices were actually around even before the days of I.T. and perhaps Microsoft are even worse, with their Surface systems getting consistently low scores by iFixit. https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/microsoft-surface-pro-ifixit-tear-down/

 

I’ve encountered Surface units which have been stored in chilled server rooms, that refuse to turn on until they’ve come up to room temperature. Yeah… Microsoft and their Surface battery problems… big sigh … https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-quietly-fixes-second-surface-pro-3-battery-problem/

 

So… what now?

 

Well, that decision is down to you. The key thing is that you’re aware of what you’re walking in to, when you’re buying these devices. If the trade off for the money is worth it for you, then sure. Continue to buy Apple.

 

But if it isn’t, then you can be stood there, wondering what else you’re going to do. That’s going to take research, and also making some rough choices. And yes, even waste some money on some bad choices… or even throw some money on new technology that hasn’t even made it to market yet.

 

And that takes research and digging.

 

Back in May 2013 I bought a mobile phone from a company called Jolla. It was running an operating system called Sailfish. Yeah. Who?! … to cut a long story short…. Nokia (you’ve heard of them, right) were working on their next operating system (Meego) when they were bought by Microsoft. Meego and the team were ditched, and the team started up a company (Jolla) and Meego became Sailfish.

 

So, that unknown company actually had pedigree, and some of the features of the first phone didn’t come to reality… but Sailfish is going strong and I now have three phones with that operating system on them. (My original Jolla One, which I had to repair at one point… a OnePlus X on which I loaded Sailfish, and my current daily driver, a Sony Xperia X, which I bought second hand and replaced the battery… and Sailfish is running on that.) … and it hasn’t all been plain sailing either. If you get involved in tech early, then expect some pain.

 

Sure, I had to learn how to obtain and side-load Android applications on it… and it can’t do a chunk of the things that an official Android phone can do… but I’m confident that the phone isn’t tracking me, or sending my personal data off to a greedy corporate… or tracking my location… and for me, that is the trade off. One of the side benefits is that the phone… is a phone. I’m not glued to it like some people are.

 

My next mobile? Probably a FairPhone 2, again running Sailfish. They’re at the point where you can buy phones pre-loaded with Sailfish now. The operating system has been commercially active for more than five years already. (In fact, by the time I need a new phone, they might be on the FairPhone 3.)

 

And many of my choices, for some years now, over what technology I use and where I shop… have been made with this trade off in mind. It all comes down to personal values.

 

When I buy e-books, I buy in an open format. My own e-books direct from my publisher, are unlocked and in multiple formats. That’s our ethics. Fortunately, I have a day job where I can afford those ethics. My data is in my control and I can move it wherever I please.

 

That’s a position that many people won’t ever appreciate until they are in the position of suddenly losing everything and having it locked away from themselves… let alone any thieves. Or even being unable to change their e-book reader without having to re-buy everything again.

 

I have bought a series of blu-rays and, while watching the specials, the “disk menu” and “chapter skip” buttons are actually locked out. I have to either stop the disk completely (and then endure all the forced trailer adverts again) or else speed up the presentation 6x until I get taken back to the menu again. And there’s the rub. The pirates don’t have to put up with this force-fed junk, or the removal of the ability to even do basic operations on media I’ve bought with my own money. Heck, me, the paying customer, is treated worse than the pirates. I really feel sorry for parents that buy their kids a DVD, and the first thing that happens, is that the kids are force-fed three adverts for other films, before the main menu pops up. That’s going to cost the parent a small fortune thanks to nagging power. More to buy.

 

When you tire of having your bank account, property and intelligence abused by corporates, then you’ll start to wonder about the alternatives. But that’s a choice that everyone will make in their own time. Life running too fast? Then slow it down. You’re actually in charge of that. I even make a conscious choice to leave my mobile phone in the home office, when I go to bed. You’re in charge of what book formats you buy; or whether you value paid books more than freebies.

 

You want to know why I’m on BookLikes? It’s because GoodReads was bought by Amazon. That was the primary reason. Ethics. But I know that there are times when I can’t afford my own ethics… and that bites.

Seen on Twitter...

Comicbook Of The Month - Grafity's Wall

 

Written by Ram V, Art by Anand Radhakrishnan, Lettered by Aditya Bidikar, Colours by Jason Wordie, Irma Knivila and Anand Radhakrishnan. Art assistance by Girish Malap.

 

Dear Reader,

The book you are holding came about in a rather different way to most others. It was funded directly by readers through a new website: Unbound. Unbound is the creation of three writers. We started the company because we believed there had to be a better deal for both writers and readers. On the Unbound website, authors share the ideas for the books they want to write directly with readers. If enough of you support the book by pledging for it in advance, we produce a beautifully bound special subscribers' edition and distribute a regular edition and ebook wherever books are sold, in shops and online.

That's interesting! I've done this form of creation purchasing before, and I'm certainly open to it. I was even one of the backers fro a documentary, "Conquering Northern China." However, for the moment I'm up to my limit in cash and time... but this is certainly on my list for future investigation. I've had enough of the mainstream.

 

Quick status report, I've finished the first read of the Firefly compilation, and I hope to do the second read this weekend. This book will go in the TBR queue, but the comic books are going to take preference over the usual written works, until I've caught up... which I'm hoping will happen in late December as it's my turn to take the extra holidays that fill in the gaps between the statutory holidays... so I'll get a decent break.

Review - Cicada

Cicada tell story.

Story good. Story simple.

Story even human can understand.

Tok Tok Tok!

This book has a moral to the story, plus a twist at the end. About thirty pages, most of the presentations are art on the right page, with a paragraph on the left.

 

The moral here is up to the minute, but it took some pondering for me to fully understand the journey... which I thought was going to be straightforward, but it contained a final message from Tan, to the reader, about life and self.

Human coworker no like cicada.

Say things. Do things.

Think cicada stupid.

Tok Tok Tok!

 

 

Obviously, my camera can't do justice to the art in this book. After seventeen years, the cicada retires from its low paid job working for a crummy, penny pinching company.

No work. No home. No money.

Cicada go to top of tall building.

Time to say goodbye.

Tok Tok Tok!

But I did say that there was a twist. And this is a children's book, if I understand the publisher correctly. Not knowing cicadas, I didn't see this coming. Or the particular cicada that this was referring to. A bit of DuckDuckGo and it all made sense. And then, after having all the pieces of the jigsaw, I was finally able to piece Tan's message together, and ponder over the deliberate colouring while letting the meaning swim around me.

 

Some might ponder paying £15 for a relatively short book, even if the art and production is of good standard. But I'm coming to terms with the realisation that these are not books, and not works of art like you would put on your wall. As such, it is difficult to review; as it has a few layers within the work. I can only compare it to a puzzle that is approached, and then the pleasure is in decoding it, and enjoying the process itself. If that makes sense.

 

It is the kind of work that should be discussed; it's meanings. It pricks the conscience on some levels, and lifts the heart in others. It serves as a reminder to the direction of life and the rat race.

So far... typical Firefly humour

Firefly - Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Chris Samnee, Will Conrad, Patton Oswalt, Zack Whedon

Love what they did on the back

Just took a look at the back of the Dr Who comic that arrived today, and I love what they did with Capaldi's T-shirt. I literally laughed out loud, as this is a real stick in the eye for the whole woman Dr haters.

 

Today's landings...

A couple of book orders arrived today.

 

First up was a collection of books from Page45, among which was comic of the month for last month, "Kingdom," by Jon McNaught. It also includes a gift for a friend, the Dr Who "The Road To The Thirteenth Doctor" and as I'm a Serenity fan, I decided to get the first Legacy Edition (second of the two books is on order) and I subscribed to the new series which has just begun. A, "Left Field," spur of the moment purchase was "Cicada" by Shaun Tan, but I've completely forgotten which section it was in, or why it got my attention. Expect reports in due course.

 

Another creation is, "The Firelight Isle," by Paul Duffield. He is one of the artists behind children's comic, "The Phoenix," which is worth looking up if you're in the UK, have a child and want to get something a little different for them. You can find them here - https://thephoenixcomic.co.uk/ - but in the case of The Firelight Isle, it's a web comic that you can read here - https://www.paulduffield.co.uk/firelightisle-tall - and it is presented in a vertical book fashion. If you want to back the future episodes, he has a Patreon here - https://www.patreon.com/paulduffield - but it got my attention because it is a venture into religion and society... which is a journey I've been on, personally, for thirty years. But even though I've personally concluded that I'm atheist, my mind isn't closed and I continue to ponder the issues involved... hence my interest in this work and where Paul will take it. The book itself will be reviewed in due course, event though I've already read the web comic.

 

I've joined Comicbook of the Month

A comic shop which I've bought from on a number of occasions, Page45, has a Comic Book Of The Month - https://www.page45.com/store/comic-book-of-the-month.html

 

They promise the following...

Don't worry, we won't weird you out every month with some obscure, Czechoslovakian, one-eyed widow's collection of woodcuts! We decide what would make the best Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month by simply picking the finest work on offer irrespective of its creator, publisher status or genre, or in some instances the work most deserving wider attention.


So yes, the creator may be as established as Alan Moore, or they may be someone up and coming. It may also be a comic rather than a graphic novel, but it won't be something in the middle of a run in either instance. To be perfectly frank the chances of it being a superhero comic aren't that good, as it's a rare superhero book that matches the quality and accessibility of the finest material outside that genre, and they get enough exposure anyway. And no, just in case you're wondering, we don't choose the book based on how much the creator has paid us!!
 
So... as well as an audio cassette once a month of music I've never heard before, I'll now be getting a comic book of some description, that I've never read before.
 
This will be interesting.

Sad news about Stan Lee

The world is alight with the passing of Stan Lee, aged 95. Heralded as the creator of the golden age of comics.

 

Thanks for the memories that go right the way back to my childhood, Stan. All speed in the next life... whatever form it takes.

The battle of commercialisation and art

Today, I came across an article written by Luke Epplin in August 2015. - https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/selling-newspaper-comic-strip/ - warning, it's a long one; and necessarily so.

 

One of the things with writing is the question of, "why write?" For the sake of the art of doing something? For riches? For fame? Why? And I have found myself asking the question that, if I'm not going to achieve riches or fame, then why am I going to the extent and expense of publication? Why am I making any effort at all to protect the works and get some scraps of money for them, instead of just giving them to the world and getting on with life?

 

In Epplin's article, he focuses on the contrast between Watterson's artistic, non-commercialisation approach of, "Calvin and Hobbes," and Shultz's controlled commercial attitude to, "Peanuts." Thrown in for good measure is Jim Davis' unabashed exploitation of, "Garfield."

 

But one of the larger problems for Watterson was that syndicates forced cartoonists to give up the copyright and ownership of their strips before they agreed to peddle them to newspapers. Undoubtedly this arrangement helped aspiring cartoonists find their footing in the business, but it came with a significant concession: reduced leverage in how their creations were represented in the marketplace.

 

It does seem to be a case of sacrificing everything in order to get power... enough power to be able to command a return of all that you've sacrificed in the first place. A fight which ultimately drained Watterson.

 

In 1991, after nearly six years of sparring, Universal reluctantly granted Watterson complete control of the strip and assurance that no unauthorized Calvin and Hobbes products would be made. Despite this triumph, Watterson was too drained to celebrate. His efforts to reclaim his characters had soured him on the industry. Looking back two decades later, he wrote: “In my disillusionment and disgust at being pushed to the wall, I lost the conviction that I wanted to spend my life cartooning.” Four years and two nine-month sabbaticals later, Watterson put down his pen.


Tied up in all this, is the primary reason for creating the art work in the first place. And that is a question which I believe plagues all artists, in all fields.

 

The larger ambitions that Watterson harbored for his strip were bound up with artistic expression, not monetary gain. Watterson viewed comics as an art form that, when printed properly and taken seriously, rivaled any of the so-called fine arts.

 

But when is artistic expression, an expression of self, and when does artistic expression actually become that life? And at what cost?

 

Schulz died in early 2000, the night before his final strip was published. Until then, he had completed one strip per day for nearly 50 years, taking only one five-week break during that span. Neither divorce nor open-heart surgery caused him to miss his daily deadline.

 

If you have the time, I really recommend reading that article. It was quite an insight into their worlds; the article itself opining, at the end, that it was perhaps a unique fight which can never be fought again, because the battle ground has changed.

 

Personally, I have to disagree with Epplin on that score. True, the internet has widened the pool of skilled artists, just like it has done with photographers, writers, musicians and every other field... but so has it widened the audience. The opportunities for commercial exploitation of brands still exists; maybe it is even stronger than before. However, the ability to get works out there, without needing the weight of the print industry is now beyond measure.

 

Battles of popularity are now waged on many fronts on the internet, and no one, "has," to commercialise any more in order to garner a fan base. As long as they have another means of putting food on the table.

 

But to return to the question I posed myself. Why publish? I suppose it is protection of my work. The pirates are going to pirate, no doubt about that. But if someone attempts to turn my work into a commercial success, then publishing is a way of ensuring that at least some of that money comes my way. There is a difference between actively hunting for something, and having opportunity knock at your door.

 

To be honest, I'm not sure how I'd react if fame stumbled upon me. I've seen enough of social media fame to know that it comes at a price. But I take solace in something that Norman Lovett said to me at a fair some years ago. "Don't worry. You'll probably be famous after your dead."

5,000 well formed words

"The Wrap," is starting to take shape. I've got the first four chapters forming nicely. Tripped over the 5,000 word mark and another 750 from sections further down the pipe line.

 

Currently writing an action scene. Difficult to write. I have to balance the action between describing what's going on in a complex scene, but keeping it believable and moving at a good pace.

 

This is, perhaps, the most difficult part of writing, for me. Fortunately, there are only two main characters involved in this, and an enemy swarm. Some readers like their action fast and don't care about the detail. Others like to be carried through it, as if in a time warp, detailing every twinging muscle so that they can rebuild the whole thing, blow for blow, in their minds eye.

 

It is impossible to please everybody, so I'm going to have to write this, and go through numerous re-reads until I'm happy with the balance between progression, believability and complexity.

 

Dylan could feel the thundering of his own pulse as he chased after Greda through the water. Their hastened strides causing copious splashing; the pipe work junctions nothing more than a blur as they followed the lights towards their target. There was no time to think now. It was do, or die.

Writing again

"The Wrap" started months ago. I posted a very rough draft of the first chapter here in July. It then sat on the back burner, but it was never far from my mind.

 

For some reason, a few things have popped into my mind. I hammered out five hundred words which form some of the critical elements of the early story. Things that knit stuff together and form the framework of how what happens, happens.

 

Tonight, I'll paste those words into the working draft, and then re-work some of the earlier sections in order to make things a little smoother.

 

I'm sort of glad that I left it alone and let it just bubble away in my head while I got on with life. But I think I'm now in a position to really get the first few chapters well formed in a believable fashion.

UK benefits undermining authors

In the UK, our social benefits system is changing.

 

A collection of various benefits, paid for various circumstances, is being lumped into one, "Universal Credit."

 

A number of now-famous authors, wrote their breakout novels while on benefits, and as the market continues to change, author earnings have been dropping at a significant rate.

 

The Guardian reports on an All Party inquiry into the effect that the change to Universal Credit will have on new authors, preventing those with time on their hands from putting themselves to work as the next generation of writers... further hurting diversity and new talent - https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/30/universal-credit-could-silence-working-class-writers-mps-told

Solomon said: “We have a benefits system that doesn’t understand how writers work and now the minimum income floor means that authors may be cut out of the benefits system entirely.”

On the TBR pile

Rune Service - J.B. Garner

Some authors I follow because of their ethics, attitude and past dealings I've had with them. After quite some time with no contact, I decided to poke my head into J.B.Garner's world and have a look at what he's been doing.

 

Garner wrote about this... "Rune Service has been doing fantastic and it was probably the most fun book for me to write so far." ...so I'm hoping for a good, fun read.

 

Obviously, things are a bit nuts around here for the next few months but I'm hoping to sit down with this over the Chrimbo holidays.

A letter was removed....

It was on a forum, discussing a complaint that the publisher had received on their English, that they included a link (while sort-of-berating the complainant) that they included a link to a glorious article from 2008, where Giles Coren berated The Times for removing the letter "a" from a piece.

 

I thought I'd share it.... https://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/jul/23/mediamonkey

 

A Bit Of A Podcast

I have a very small podcast, and I'm announcing that I'm shutting it down, because there's a lack of listeners... and explaining my reasons why.

 

In it, I decided to talk about how we find out new material, and I ventured onto books.

 

I thought I'd include that piece of the script here for you. Apologies for any triggers. "Show Note" links are at the end. Also, apologies for grammar markings, these are timed for speech recording. I didn't really envisage publishing in this form.

 

Social media is, to some extent, a mirror of the book industry. I haven’t talked about that yet… have I?

Money has distorted that sphere as well. To be honest, the publishing industry has been distorted for a long, long time. Arguably, ever since the printing press. Where the power of the words you read, were dictated by those who were the gateway to the machines themselves. I am, actually, concerned by the amount of bias that’s being inserted by journalists in the last few years; but that’s another story.

Just between the USA and the UK, one new book is published every minute. I will go to my grave only having ever heard of the existence of the tiniest proportion of books. What I would have read, would have been infinitesimally smaller again.

We are being censored every step of the way. From what the librarians saw and see fit to put on the shelves, to what the newspaper reviewers decide to highlight that week, to the adverts on the billboards and the best seller lists. You can say we can always ask for a book that isn’t there… but without seeing it, we don’t even know that it exists, in order to ask for it, in the first place.

We have also started to turn to book bloggers as a way out of the mainstream, but some of those are also biased; as it is possible to get an affiliate payment if someone makes a purchase on the basis of their reviews… And there isn’t any easy way to notice whether a blogger is doing this, unless you start analysing links.

At the moment, we’re starting to see large social media influencers get slapped on the wrists, if they fail to disclose that they are being paid for endorsements. I don’t see the same happening for affiliate links… so you’re never going to know whether a blogger is pushing a particular book … or rather… deliberately NOT pushing the books that they won’t get funding from.

I actually had hot words with some book review bloggers who had reviewed fifty shades, but wouldn’t review my books in the same genre, because they wouldn’t be of interest to their audience. So… hang on… fifty shades was a big tick, but not me. That should tell you all you need to know. So much is being driven by money and fame, that anything which isn’t pushed by someone, stands very little chance of selling a single copy.

The censorship and bias out there is unbelievable. Most of it in the name of money. And politics, of course. Links in the show notes, including one to a Politico report that the New York Times informed Harper Collins that it wouldn’t include Ted Cruz’s new biography on the bestsellers list, despite the considerable sales numbers it generated.

There are independent… or indie… markets out there. Not only indie books, but indie music, indie computer games, indie all sorts of stuff. The trick is that it takes time. Time to hunt them down. Time to get involved with the scenes… and the time… and money… to take a risk. Buy a book and read it, and risk not having enjoyed it.

In some societies, a few books are a necessary read simply to be able to join in the dinner table conversation. But that’s consuming the argument from the wrong end.

Julie Adenuga, a DJ on Apple’s Beats 1 station, stopped listening to the songs she was being sent because she was losing her – quote – natural connection to the music – unquote. It was because she missed having actual moments with music. Quote - "I want a friend to tell me about a song; I want to go out and hear it for the first time; I want to see an artist I've never seen before and go, 'This is amazing!'" - unquote

The music had become a commercial river. And she didn’t like that. She wanted to re-capture the natural discovery of music while living life. Link in the show notes to that article.

On a book forum, I’ve got 884 followers at the time of writing this. How the heck have I got that many people following me? I don’t know. The best conclusion I can come to, is that I’m reading the things that other people aren’t. A chunk of my reading, is outside the mainstream. That’s the only reason I can possibly think of.

I’m not daring, I’m not dashing, I’m not unnecessarily bitchy and I’m not entertaining. But I am reading things which are a bit off the beaten track.

And I’m doing the same with music as well. I’m actually signed up to an indie service. Once a month, a cassette tape turns up at work. I don’t know what’s on it. Certainly, a band I’ve never heard of. And I have an old Walkman that I’ve resurrected… so I can pop the tape in, and go out for a lunch time walk and listen to the music.

And I’m honest with myself. The majority of them are middle of the road. But now and then, I come across something really special. And that makes it all worth while.

Yes, that service is being curated as well, but fortunately the amount of music coming out by this mechanism is far, far slower than the number of books that are published. Could the book world do something similar? Probably not. The number of authors knocking down the doors of such a service, would be overwhelming.

I know of a number of reviewers who have tried to give honest reviews of new books. They’ve been utterly swamped. And haven’t received a penny for their troubles. Heck, everyone’s got to eat.

So here we are, stuck in a world where our time on this planet is limited, and we want to make the most of it. But if we really want to get off the popular roller coaster and have an adventure… then we’ve got to be prepared to work for it… and be ready to waste some time and be disappointed… if we really… one day… want to hold that undiscovered gem in our hands, like Indiana Jones and that rare, fabled diamond.

So, I’m not blaming anyone for not reading my books, or watching my videos, or listening to my pod casts. If I’m not sharing anything which makes people want to go, “wow!” then I can’t expect people to want to tell others about me. And I’m not going to disrespect either myself, or other people, by hyping myself up as something I’m not.

There’s an onus on me here, to produce something that’s worth talking about. But I’m not going to stoop to click bait and unnecessary drama in order to do it.

I will very likely have gone to my grave having never made it to 885 followers in the book forum… but so what. I’d rather live an honest, boring life… than a dishonest one where I’m always looking over my shoulder.

And don’t get me wrong. At one point I did want fame… but what changed was that others achieved it before me… and I saw what it did to them… and I thought… that’s not really for me.

https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/07/ny-times-keeps-cruz-off-bestseller-list-210254

https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/09/05/conservative-bookseller-ditched-new-york-times-bestsellers-list/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43989822