Comedian

Taking a break from a two-page cartoon spread I’ve decided to finish (I hope to post it tomorrow), I found myself in a strange tidying mood…

It’s probably because I’ve had an Amazon account almost as long as I’ve had email that my Amazon account is linked to my very first email account. For that reason, all Amazon emails head that way. It’s not usually something that bothers me. I’ve hardly used that account for years and rarely check it. However, given my obsession at the moment with ebooks and whether I’m selling any, I’ve been logging into the account multiple times a day. That’s how I came to feel a bit ashamed at the mess it’s in.

I’ve barely used the account in about ten years but every day it was getting regular mail – mostly newsletters from companies I once used and things I’d subscribed to. The inbox has a generous 25 gb limit but I’d used up a quarter. More damning: the inbox said it contained 999+ unread emails. That doesn’t sit well with me psychologically. I hate any inbox that shows unread emails. I had to fix it, which really meant cleaning it up.

I’m not sure how many emails “Cheryl from Cloggs” sent me over the years (I bought one pair of Doc Martens slip-on boots from them years ago) but they ran into the many hundreds. As for eBay: years ago I’d told them to keep me informed if anything from Ralph Steadman should be listed. The same went for a few other keywords. It meant about 12 emails a day, every day, for about 12 years… That meant about 38,000 emails from eBay alone…

Then there was stuff from Laptops Direct (never used them), INKredible (not used them in years) and Evans Cycles (I’d probably bought an inner tube once)… It took me a couple of hours to delete everything, getting the mailbox down to a more reasonable 200 megabytes, most of which is taken up with emails about the Stan book: drafts sent to and from the publisher, emails about publicity… All the stuff I dream about getting these days. I have such mixed emotions seeing all those emails, remembering the time when I was moderately optimistic about my chances. I still can’t bring myself to delete any of those emails. I even found something I wrote for The Big Issue, back when I was publicising the book. I remember going out to find Big Issue sellers for weeks, trying to get a copy of this, only to discover that the edition published in Liverpool and Manchester is very different to the issue published in London. I thought it deserved publishing here. Hardly the best thing I ever wrote but it is what it is. Perhaps the only time I’ve ever been called a comedian…

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Why Dunciad.com?

It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?

Really?

Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.