Saturday, 27 October 2007

We've moved! My new site is!

Dear Blog-readers - this, I'm afraid, is probably going to be my last posting on the blogger website.

Not that blogger hasn't been great for me, and at one stage I guess we did have a pretty special relationship. But you know over the last few weeks I've sort of felt that we've been drifting apart and then last night we had a bit of a chat and we just decided that we needed some time apart. I mean, not that it's irrevocable or anything like that, and we may well one day get back together again, but at the moment it just seems right for us to have a bit of a breather ... A cool-off period. A time to reflect on all the great blogs that we once carved out, and to weigh up - calmly, rationally - whether there's a future for us together.

Anyway! Enough of that piffle!

Jamie at Terinea has done me up a BRILLIANT new website, which is going to blow fusty old blogger out of the water! You can even buy the book there! That's how high-tech we are!

It's at: Just click on the title at the top and you should be there! Billx

Friday, 26 October 2007

Me and the monkey

There are some disadvantages to being as low-tech as me - in that I have not got the faintest clue how to get a video onto this posting. Gave it a shot and got fed up.
So instead of that, I will merely provide you with the link. Thus:

It's vomit-inducing stuff of the family at Eurodisney. Why do I put it on - well, it may not be much, but I tell you that pix of the kids are going to be a sight more appetising than pix of me.

To business: Now that we are on the very eve of the Clavier launch day, the phones have just been ringing - ringing! - off the hook as newspapers get wind of this EXTRAORDINARY story that is about to break.

Yesterday it was the turn of the Edinburgh Evening News, the local paper, and I had 30 minutes on the phone with affable Rosalind as I told her about my merry days at Eton and the Soaraway.

And, for the first time, I made a new connection. For I realised there is a genuine link between The Sun and Eton - in that, if you mention that you have served time at either place, there tends to be a collective raise of the hackles. People immediately start to get sniffy.

I also had the Evening News photographer over, along with a trainee, Lewis, who was learning the ropes.

Now one of the main things about being a monkey (journo technical term) is that you have to butter people up. You've got to get the people on side before you start taking their pictures.

Which means, obviously, that you've got to look the part. And above all dress inoffensively.

I didn't have the heart to tell Lewis that a two-inch bolt through the top of his ear would probably not go down well on Fleet Street.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Windsors - 200 words

Dear blog-readers - this is not part of the blog. This is in fact a piece of live copy. I leave it here for your delectation ... maybe you've never seen a piece of genuine hackery before. Basically the Express' e-mail system had gone down, and I'd had to file 200 more words on a tasty little piece about two of my favourite subjects: The Duchess of Windsor and Adolf Hitler. The only way to get it to them was to leave it on the blog.

Fergus - sorry that the story needed re-working. Here's 200 more words. Do call if there are any problems. Bill

The Windsors’ tour of Germany raised many eyebrows - not least in America, where the New York Times reported: “The Duke’s decision to see for himself the Third Reich’s industries and social institutions and his gestures and remarks during the last two weeks have demonstrated adequately that the abdication did indeed rob Germany of a firm friend, if not indeed a devoted admirer, on the British throne.”
But one of the more bizarre twists of the German tour was that Simpson, before she became the Duchess, had slept with Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, on 17 occasions.
This extraordinary detail, courtesy of a huge cache of files which were drawn up by concerned bureau chiefs at the FBI, tellingly reveals how Simpson would bed any man with power and influence. Her tally of bedroom conquests was probably at least up there with that of the Duke’s.
The affair began when von Ribbentrop - a former Champagne salesman - was sent to London as German ambassador in 1936 to try and broker a peace deal. In this he ultimately failed - though as a dubious second best, he did succeed in seducing the Prince of Wales’ paramour. ENDS

My first reviews ...

Just seen the first two reviews of the book - online reviews, which are not quite as heavyweight as newspaper reviews, but interesting nonetheless, as these were the first pukka evaluations of the Well-Tempered Clavier from people who were not in the Coles cheer-leader team.

You can imagine how I was rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of this Niagara - this orgasm - of genuine praise that was about to be showered on me.

First up: Kimbofo.

I didn't like the way things were going when Kimbo said that you had to "wade" through half the book before you got to the sex scenes. Wade? Wade??? What sort of word is that?

Then Kimbo moves on to "a lot of repetition", and Coles' "slightly grating narrative style", before coming up with this killer line at the end: "It won't shatter your world, although it will brighten up a rainy day or, as in my case, a long-haul flight."

Harr-bloody-rumph! I mean I know that I've dished it out quite a few times over the years - all right, many, many times - but boy was I smarting. Kimbo only gave it three measly stars as well.

Anyway, after I'd managed to put a lid on my seething rage - ("wade"??? "slightly grating"??) - I did see that Kimbo did actually make one very good point ... "There is a lot of repetition ... which could easily be sorted out with a little judicious editing."

Exactly! Judicious editing! As opposed to the highly injudicious editing of Tom, the bittersweet publisher. I blame him entirely.

Oh yes, but there was one other review: Altogether nicer, from a woman with quite palpable taste, class, style and general intellectual rigour.

She laid it on with a trowel (which, I tell you, is just how first-time authors like it). Some of her tastier lines: "I really enjoyed this book and ... I shall be keeping a close eye out in future for more from William Coles ..."

Yes indeed - my glistering literary future.

Though I'm afraid the "follow-up" books are more than likely to be a little less polished than the Clavier - but that's because I'm going to be resuscitating at least three of the unpublished turkeys that are still festering in my back cupboard.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Questions answered

A picture of wee Geordie ... but who could that be in the background?

Well he's a very well known Disney character; Geordie fell in love with him; and he's got a penchant for crocodiles ... but no more clues.

I spent two hours last night filling out Waterstones' author questionnaire - with about 20 probing questions which try to find out what it is that makes me tick.

A lot of these questions had never, ever occurred to me before. Took some time to mull over. "What book would you never have on your book-shelves?"

Very nasty question - had to think on it for some time. Before - obviously - ducking it altogether. As yet, I can't imagine a single book, not even Katie Price's puke-inducing "Crystal", which I would not have on my shelves.

Next interesting question: "Which fictional character would you most like to meet?" Spent ages on this one. Maybe Raffles; or Flashman; or Sherlock Holmes; or Rumpole (heroic boozer); or Hornblower (bit starchy though).

But in the end I plumped for the one of the biggest knaves of them all: Old Etonian, all-round cad and bounder, Captain James Hook.

One last thought-provoking question: "What book would you give to a friend?" Well it all depends on the friend, doesn't it?

I recently gave Maguire a book, "Countryman's Cooking" by W.Fowler - over 50 years old and utterly hilarious. You particularly want to check out his sublime recipe for cooking a cormorant.

But would I give Fowler's chirpy cook-book to my wife - or indeed to any woman? Inadvisable ... not to mention dangerous ...

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The problem with assumptions ...

Yes - since I had to go to Eurodisney, I thought I might as well treat you to a pic of my elder son with Minnie.
Why is it, by the way, that the Disney villains are always FAR more preferable to the heroes.
You can keep your Minnie and your Mickey and your mealy-mouthed Robin Hood. I'd take Captain Hook, the wicked stepmother and Prince John - any time.
Well it seems that the Clavier book is not even yet out, and ALREADY the errors are cropping up. By the next edition, it's going to need a wholesale re-write (by which stage, I will also have been able to rid myself of the worst excesses of Tom, the bittersweet publisher).
Latest cock-up - and I guess there are going to be a dozen of 'em - comes over my blithe assumption that Eton's masters drink tea when they all meet up at 11am. Nothing could be further from the truth. Apparently, it's all very starchy and there's not a drink to be had. Oooops!
That's what happens when you start assuming things. One of my old bosses on The Sun, Neil Wallis, would go stark, staring mad if you used the word "assumed".
Instead, cunning reptiles like me would say that we had "deduced", or even "inferred" the facts which had led to the latest libel writ.
But never assume.
As soon as Neil heard the word, he'd start jumping up and down like a (slightly smaller) version of Rumpelstiltskin. He made my ex-wife Anna sound like a virginal nun. All true, I promise you.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Havering on

Apologies for the lack of tasty gems these past four days - got waylaid by Eurodisney. Two days travelling there and back, and one day at the show itself.
You will be able to read my full match report in the Mail this week, probably Wednesday.
However, just between you and me, it's got to be a pretty special holiday if it's going to involve such a vast amount of travelling.
I'm now beginning to understand why my dad did not care to take his two boys on any journey that was over an hour long.

Havering: A very fine term. Scottish, you know, means to blither on witlessly with no purpose and no end in sight.
Now I met the good burghers of Havering on Wednesday night - and I can tell you I was pretty pumped. Energised. Like Frank Bruno going into the ring for the fight of his life.
Had spent all afternoon prepping up, writing up the script in full.
And then I arrived 30 minutes before the off. Had a half-pint to steady myself (but not too much to get ratted), and I was in. Binned my notes, and started telling them weird stories about my life.
I don't know but ... I think they liked it. (I had adopted Tom the publisher's mantra - pick out the two most glam women in the audience and fix your beady eyes on them. Thanks Tom - you Casanova, you)
Well I havered on, and delighted in landing Tom the Casanova in the mire over his wretched additions of that vomit-making word "bitter-sweet".
And then at the end. Any questions?
One woman pipes up and says, "You should be on Have I got News For You!"
Ahh me. Balm to my ears