My Photo of Robert Vaughan

I was writing up the “My Books” page for this blog when I found myself searching through old folders of files. It shocked me to discover that it’s nearly ten years since I wrote to Robert Vaughan, four years in November since he left us.

This wasn’t one of the replies that I’d put top of the heap. I never considered photos a great result. It’s the funny notes I received that made the whole project so much fun and I probably wouldn’t republish since, deep down, I still think it would make a great book. This, however, is an exception for the simple addition of the moustache, which is explained by my letter.

If I was writing now, I might edit it a little for length (most of the letters in the first book were pruned to fix on a page), but there are some decent lines towards the end. The greatest fun I had in the project was creating these tiny realities that were designed around the target of the letter. I should also add that none of it was spoof. I was criticised by a few reviewers (the type who get the book free via Amazon Vine and weren’t its intended audience) who clearly didn’t get the joke, complaining that I’d produced “yet another book of spoof letters”. I never intended to spoof anybody. The idea of the letters was to draw out the person’s good humour. The people who got the joke responded in kind. It made me value them more than I did already. Certainly, that was true of Vaughan. I can’t watch him doing his evil stuff in Columbo without laughing once or twice.

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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.