the state of things



by Douglas Lindsay - 16:46 on 11 February 2011

Sadly, looks like spring already. In December it appeared there would be a long winter, but it fizzled sadly out not long after Christmas and has just been mostly mild and bleak and miserable since then. And now spring is here. I can tell spring is here, because the frogs in the pond in the back garden woke up today. They'd been asleep for four months and the first thing they did was have sex. On some level you have to admire that in a frog.

On Monday I'm due in One of Two's Design Technology class to talk about book cover design to a room full of marauding twelve and thirteen year-olds. Not, obviously, because I design book covers, but because I commission such work. Today I've been trawling through the internet digging up images of Barney Thomson covers for books that I no longer have copies of. Depressing work. Here I am, creaking desperately into middle age, still peddling the same old barber stuff, still mostly shifting that first book that I originally wrote in 1995. Sixteen years ago. I'll be able to hold it in front of the class and say, 'I wrote this long before any of you were born,' and they'll all say, 'Holy crap, One of Two, sure this isn't your grandad?'

For the moment Barney lives on, although I don't know if I'll ever get around to that elusive Barney no.8, which is currently entitled Zombie Island Dawn, but consists of nothing more than a title. So Barney's current existence is entirely through the daily Twitter novel, although he's currently having to share time with the serial killer who will become his arch nemesis, Durrant. Sometimes I make myself laugh - Wednesday for example with "Proving that the scrotum is tougher than you think, Durrant suspended his latest victim from the ceiling with a nail through the testicles." - but not too often. Barney's just there, as miserable as I am.

Looking through all the Long Midnight covers over the years, UK and foreign editions, I don't think there are any that absolutely grab one by the testicles. I like the cover currently showing on the Kindle site, but even that is not entirely representative. It's the cover of a gruesome crime novel, not the cover of a gruesome crime novel that's really stupid. Maybe the next time the cover will hit the mark, if there is a next time; and if I can ever work out what the mark actually is.

The weekend arrives, the grey gloom of late afternoon sweeping across the Somerset levels, the air full of the sound of concupiscent frogs...

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