Friday, January 25, 2008

Up to monkey business ...

I get the distinct impression tonight that the universe is playing one great big cosmic joke on me. Firstly I was 20 minutes late out from work tonight because our new and over enthusiastic salesman would not stop waffling to a customer whom he thought was about to buy - and then didn't. Much as I like this man and admire his attitude to life, namely that there is always something to smile about, it made me really quite angry that both he and the customer seemed to have so little respect for other peoples time and more to the point, any sort of understanding that we are not paid for our time after 5.30pm.

Then when I finally did get home what did I find waiting for me on my keyboard - a letter from the Landmark Trust thanking me for my forthcoming visit to Lundy and inviting me to book a table for Valentines Day at the Montagu Room Restaurant (i.e. the back room) of the islands one and only pub - the Marisco Tavern! I am sure it would be very nice for couples, but it had obviously not occurred to them that there is only one bed in the property I have booked!

This will be the first Valentines Day that Coran and I have spent apart, so it will be somewhat strange in some ways. I have tried to get him to visit Lundy with me on numerous occasions, but he is just not interested. Part of me likes it that way I admit, as I do relish the time alone as does he, but it would also be nice just occasionally to be able to share it with him. I have told him that come what may he will be coming with me for December 2012 - after all, if the world does go tits up, then I can't think of anywhere else I would end it all!

I really thought I had seen and read it all when it comes to the publishing world, but really nothing prepared me for the story I have just read on The Bookseller website. A chimpanzee by the name of Cheeta has been signed up by Fourth Estate to write his memoirs! Yes you did read that right - a chimpanzee has been signed up to write his memoirs!

This is no ordinary chimp, but no less than the world famous Cheeta from the Tarzan films. The article states that Cheeta, a.k.a. Jiggs who celebrated his 75th birthday last April, lives in a Palm Springs retirement home, where he paints and plays the piano.

Fourth Estate publishing director Nicholas Pearson states that "Here we've got the real monkey—­a great actor who is one of the few still alive from what was the golden age of Hollywood. He saw it all. He had to act to save his life, literally. Others who fell by the wayside often ended up in the lab with the dogs, mice and rabbits."

The "funny, moving and searingly honest" book will cover Cheeta's struggle with drink and addiction to cigars, his breakthrough with radical new form of abstract painting "apeism", his relationship with his nightclub-performing grandson Jeeta, and his battle with diabetes.

This would be almost funny were it not so damned serious. I mean what in the hell is the world coming to when a chimp who cannot even speak English let alone write it, is signed up to write his memoirs? How on earth are sensible human beings who do supposed to compete with such hallowed celebrity status and what does it say about the publishing industry and American society in general when a publisher seriously thinks for even one minute that people will buy this sort of stuff. It is totally and utterly beyond me, and for once in my life, I am at a loss for words.

Meanwhile back in the real world, my own book sales continue to go well. There is still no news from Gardners as to when or if those books are being sent back. I continue to check their site on a daily basis, and tonight the number of copies in stock has fallen yet again to 122. I will go to the Waterstones website again then in a minute to see which stores may have been added to that list of stockists and make sure that those who promised me earlier in the week that they would order copies have indeed done so - if not, then they can expect another phone call on Wednesday!

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