Tuesday, 25 May 2010

My Book - The Hairy Plug Monster is "ace", (if you agree please leave a comment on this blog, because there are a lot of people out there who still dont know about it.)

June 3rd   Radcliffe Lending Library
June 5th    Big Story Weekend   Waterstones Bury
June 24th  Cheadle Primary School

Apparently I am not being brash enough with my posts and have been advised to be

 "a bit more up front about the fact that I have one of the best children's stories written in ages, but nobody knows about it because I am too busy waffling on about "world cup songs, recipes, events and other stories I have written  etc. and not doing what the blog was originally intended to do

telling people to BUY MY BOOK"

 So this is me telling you - the reader, to buy my book because if you haven't bought it yet and you have young children... you are missing out on a real experience.  There are so many children's books out there which, for want of a better word .... are utter rubbish..I despair sometimes when I go into a bookstore and see the same old tosh again and again.

The Hairy Plug Monster is a book which you will never read only once to your kids....since its publication, I have had hundreds of parents tell me how much they like the book and how often they have had to read it to their kids.

So if you have a copy of the book, please take a moment to leave a comment underneath this post to let everybody else know, because the best way of spreading the news is by word of mouth.

If you haven't got a copy, then you can order one through Waterstones (if they don't already stock it) and any other respectable bookseller throughout the World ( you may have to wait for a few days mind).  If you want a personalised signed copy then order through the website http://www.hairyplugmonster.com/

You might be wondering why I have changed the writing style of my blog to a more direct approach?.  Well the answer is quite simple, we have another 3 books to publish including the much awaited Spooky Stories, which may never happen until we sell more copies of The Hairy Plug Monster. 
5000 books is about 76 cardboard boxes and if we bring out the next three books, we just won't have anywhere to put another 15,000 the combined weight alone is about 4 tons, which would severely test the floor of the office where we currently store them.


The Hairy Plug Monster is .....Still doing it

I went on the radio (again) to promote my World Cup Song   Do it Again (in 2010) last Thursday, and apart from being pulled up on the fact that 'Lions' doesn't really rhyme with 'Crying',  It seemed to go o.k.  

(I think though that XFM may have got wise to the fact that occasionally I will send a text in for a song or just to make comment on the radio and sign it The Hairy Plug Monster, which gives the children's book another free mention).  They seemed very reluctant to ask me what I did for a living - as if they already knew the answer.  However not all the DJ's are that savvy,  I did manage to get Clint Boon, formerly of the Inspiral Carpets and now the afternoon DJ on XFM Radio to mention The Hairy Plug Monster about three times in the same show using my marketing guerrilla tactics.

The song itself has made it though to the next stage and is available to listen to by clicking on the link and leaving a comment underneath  www.xfm.co.uk/onair/shows/manchester/xfms-england-house-band-mondays-selection   

The more comments we get then the more of a chance we will have of getting through to the final.  As I see it, it is between Me and two others;  Shine on England and the Accumulator.  If I had to choose between the two of them I would probably give the edge to Shine on England....so now its a waiting game until they announce the finalists towards the end of May.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Magic Sponge qualifies for the group stages


I know I should write more, but there always seems very little to say.  Most of this week has been spent pushing "Do it Again (in 2010) out over the internet and we have had some fantastic response.  In a fit of delusion, I even sent a copy to Max Clifford (yes the) who represents Simon Cowell (yes the) in the hope that they would jump at the chance to make a quick buck.  However I got a rather polite letter back from his PA explaining that they are already involved with another World Cup Song and couldn't take on the project.  So they have had their chance, I suppose I am  going to have to do it on my own. 

All week I have been eagerly awaiting the XFM breakfast show to listen to what the competition have to offer, and unfortunately the standard is pretty high - so it is not going to be the cakewalk that I anticipated.. 

Today I got the call from Jim Salveson who is the producer for the morning show asking me if I wanted to be interviewed for tomorrows show .....er......hell yeh.  So it looks like the song has at least qualified for the group stages.  Paul didn't seem as enthusiastic when I told him that we might even win, which would mean writing another set to perform for the duration that England are in the World Cup.

Speaking of sets, there is a strong chance that I may be doing a gig with "Bez" from the Happy Mondays on July 23rd at Jabez Clegg's in Manchester.  Although as the people organising the gig have yet to come through with anything tangible for me I choose to remain ambivalent for the time being.  My own Static Island set is almost ready with the music complete and just the need to sit down and focus on writing some lyrics.

The HPM sales remain slow but I had an enquiry this week to conduct a workshop for pupils at Cheadle Primary School, which would be a bit different from just hosting a reading, as there would be a need to produce something there and then for and with the children.  Unlike a lot of writers I sometimes find it hard to spontaneously produce anything of any merit, which is why I am behind on my goal of one story a month.

 Finally, Barclays Bank are holding a competition to find the best regional start up business, which we entered yesterday.  We basically needed to have a business plan in place with targets and aims.... which we have - together with products all ready to bring to market. What we don't have is the finance to make this happen, but with a 50k first prize being up for grabs.........keeeer - ching!!!!

As part of our entry we needed to make a two minute video for the judges, which in turn meant that I needed to create an original soundtrack to go with it.   Imagine my surprise when I "nailed " in 2 hours, sometimes everything just falls into place.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYRkhgqVOFI

Friday, 7 May 2010

The World Cup Song. Do it Again (in 2010) by The Magic Sponge

Local Radio Station XFM Manchester, are holding a competition at the moment to find a band which can come up with an iconic World Cup Song to be sang in the bars and pubs throughout the land.  Not being one to pass up on a challenge, I got together with a former "jamming"buddy Paul Vallance and came up with a fair attempt at a "football song".  Admittedly it's not in the same league as E is for England or 3 Lions for that matter, but it would give Fat Les a run for his money. 

Its full of the necessary ingredients that a football song should have...simple rhythms, anthemic chants and lots of samples of John Motson et al singing the praises of England legends throughout the past decade or so.

Should we win, we get to perform live before Englands games on the 12th, 18th and 23rd. in Manchester....which will give me a huge opportunity to mention "The Book"...so there is a method to my madness. 

Life is too short to take yourself too seriously and if I did that then I probably wouldn't have written The HPM at all.....anyway have a listen and make your own minds up, I would love to know what you think.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Bookings...for the festival season www.hairyplugmonster.com

Dates for your diary

5th June                           Bury Waterstones     
10th July                         Oxfam Bookfest  Cheadle branch
22nd August                    Just So Festival  Stafford.

Its the festival season again, with an official invite from the "Just So" organisers coming in the mail this week.  They did ask me to specify any requirements that I may have....I was almost tempted to play "
 Prima Donna" and ask for Evian on the table ... with fresh cut flowers blah blah blah,  but as it will be the middle of summer - outside in a field, its probably wiser to ask for an umbrella more than anything else.

The Just So Festival looks like it is going to be well worth a visit www.justsofestival.org.uk - from what I can gather the weekend camping tickets sold out almost immediately which is not surprising given the wealth of talent that's on display.

 People who are not interested in me this year are the Edinburgh Book Festival..and surprisingly Lymm ( I thought I was in there), who passed me over for the highly talented Craig Bradley. 

So there are a few stars to aim for in the coming months.

The "Spooky Stories Collection" is coming on strong with "Miss Carr's Pies" getting the thumbs up from the gang on Facebook, and a couple of private readings over the phone gave me more encouragement.  Given the age group for the stories, I have decided to double up the content to eight tales as opposed to four - ( the main reason being that you cant fob an 8 year old off with as many pictures.)  This in itself has given me a bit of a dilemma because I need story matter for at least three of them.

I am toying with a friendlier style for the fifth called " Its Hard Being Brave When Your Only Eight", all about an evening walk in the park and all the "Monsters" that hide in the shadows.

Oxfam are holding their 2nd annual book festival in July 10th and have invited me to be the "guest author" as their store in Cheadle Village on the outskirts of Stockport.  From what they were saying it gets really "rammed" in the morning so they have booked me for 10 - 12.
Finally Bury Waterstones are holding a "Big Kid's Day"  which has been billed as their biggest children's event EVER!!!! 

I am sharing the billing with Joseph Delaney who will be signing his book " Spooks" and the emphasis for the event is on "dark tales" so it seems like the perfect place to give " Spooky Stories " a test drive before it goes to print.