Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2013

They aren’t in June 2014!

Book of the Year

This one was tough… A Thousand Splendid Suns, We Need to Talk About Kevin, my John’s Gospel commentary by AM Hunter…

No really, you should compare Hunter to some of the others. Little tip, scholars: when it comes to sentences, less is almost always more. That aside, I think Uncle Rick gets the prize. House of Hades is brilliant and perfect and yes aimed at twelve-year-olds but let’s face it, people, children’s books are usually better than adult ones. Harry Potter, Mog the Forgetful Cat, etc. Oh Uncle Rick, teach me your secrets.

Album of the Year

How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, by Mindless Self Indulgence. I paid for the album, I listen to the album. It is a piece of genius. That is all.

New Favourite Website of the Year

Hmm. I’ve discovered Vice, a news magazine (although someone online pointed out that its narrative voice is disturbingly similar to that of the Daily Mail, which I must say has put me off a bit), Effing Dykes, a queer blog (and so genuinely not safe for work that I’ve not quite had the courage to devote an entire post to it yet) and Tumblr. Okay so I already knew Tumblr, but I joined because it made it easy to follow nice art. That and a deep desire to infiltrate the world’s bitchiest blogging network from within.

New Favourite Artist of the Year

Viria. Her art is beautiful. Ahhh. Her work is set as my phone and iPad background. The whole Tumblr thing was also induced by Burdge, Andy and Minuiko.

Old Favourite Artist of the Year

Ruby. She made this into an illustrated story for my birthday. The individual pictures are amongst others here (I’m hoarding the finished product but don’t worry we’ve decided if all else fails we’ll write children’s books so you’ll be able to get both our work in one book. Cool, huh?).

Most Family Member-Like Famous Person on Twitter

I actually can’t decide between Uncle Rick the Troll Queen or Uncle Gerard the MCRmy’s Therapist. Genuinely, the jury’s out. Let me know your thoughts (the best Twitter moment was when someone Tweeted Gerard the Russian Mark of Athena cover, on which Percy bears a striking resemblance to G. Aha).

Most Depressing Internet-Based Phenomena

The title’s probably a misnomer because it doesn’t involve idiots talking shit behind the safety of a computer screen (that comes later!). Anyway: those of you into the whole Percy Jackson thing might remember this:

'Putting the Fun Back In Funeral'

I know, it’s incredibly clever. I do others like it. It was inspired by one of Viria’s pieces – the one set as my phone background; I had the idea going up the stairs which was interesting. I originally put text on her drawing. Quite a while after I published the poster, I posted the bootlegged one on Tumblr:

Bootlegging Viria
Drawing by Viria

I wonder which has had the better reception.

Hm.

Indeed.

It’s a good thing I chose an artist I really love or I might have become bitter.

Live Show of the Year

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar, MSI, a ‘revue’ at school in which my friend Sarah was splendid as a 1920s hockey player, my year’s pantomime-which-I-sort-of-helped-write, an actual pantomime, an interview between two of the best children’s authors around today and a poetry reading by the bloke off Homeland and Narcissa Malfoy.. But I think my favourite live band (discounting MCR because it’s MCR) is an ever-changing group of part-time musicians who play in a restaurant I like in Greece. I understand 10% of the lyrics, make eye contact 0.001% of the times I walk past and have been known to sing along to songs that are the Mediterranean’s version of Mindless. But it’s nice, and even if I found a YouTube clip (creepy as I’m there a lot) it wouldn’t quite convey the atmosphere, if you know what I mean.

Insult of the Year

“You’re a doody head.” Enough said.

Happy Moment of the Year

When I remember it’s not June and Donnie’s still here. I like Don and Fred better than I like most things, no offense, and they are my friends. It’s like having human friends but the dynamics are different – humans tend to be more forward about nicking your food. Get a pet, seriously. Unless you are incapable of looking after one due to a) lack of money, space or permission (volunteer somewhere instead), b) lack of time or motivation or c) aversion to pets. You know who you are. Yes, I’m including those of you who get pets because you think it’ll be fun or make you look good. At times, e.g. in a field in December, it will do neither. But then they look up at you, covered in slime, and you think “I love you little dog. Now let’s go home and hope we never have to leave the house again.”

Indifferent Ignorance Commenter of the Year

Jacki, whose wise words you will find if you scroll down a few posts. Getting people to comment on work is like pulling teeth (remind me that I have a piece of work about that to show you), yet is the best way of differentiating readers from spam-bots and ‘glancers’ – people who have a click and a scroll then go somewhere else. But it’s like being the first person to take food from a buffet: no one wants to be that person, though once someone has taken the leap they’re comfortable joining the queue. Weird. Anyway, Jacki comments a lot and for that I am grateful. Please accept this garbled post as a token of my appreciation. Ta.

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award

Maria suggested this category and I love it. Who to choose? Tony Abbot the Australian Prime Minister, who revoked equal marriage rights after people had got married? The guy whose work I heartily abused when Tom Daley came out? The parents of a child I saw a few years ago who had dressed their eight-year-old in a t-shirt with an arrow saying “I think he’s gay!”? People who stopped reading – or stopped their children reading – Heroes of Olympus when they found out about Nico?

Can’t choose, man.

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award

Matt Forney of I-only-screw-insecure-women-wait-that’s-all-of-them fame infamy arseholery.

Arseholery. Is that a thing? It should be.

His site used to have a thing where sites that had discussed the post were lined underneath and the one I did was there. I guess too many people were discussing the arseholery though because the layout’s changed…

Okay I think that’s everything I said I’d put in. If I’ve forgotten something or someone please let me know.

That’s called asking for a comment, ladies and gents.

I hope 2013 was as happy and safe as everyone wished it to be; if it wasn’t then I wish you happiness and safety for 2014. Even you with the pet you shouldn’t have bought, reading Forney and nodding in agreement.

Maybe not but I’ve been on a lot of cold medicine and perhaps the Christmas spirit of forgiveness is shining through.

Ha ha.

Happy 2014 snowflakes!

The Hay Festival!

How has your half term been? That’s nice.

Right, pleasantries over, let’s talk about mine. We’ll leave out Monday and today, because I mostly stayed at home and with Fred and Donnie, and I do that a lot.

Let’s chat about the Hay Festival. I was only at the festival and in the town, Hay-on-Wye, for one full day and two part-days (Tuesday afternoon to yesterday afternoon) but I’ve already decided that I a) want to go for the whole ten days as soon as school finishes and b) it’s seriously worth considering calling myself a ‘consulting writer’ or something equally as distinctive/pretentious so I’ll get asked to go there and talk about books in a marquee. It was great.

I mean, we were in a cloud…

Hay-on-Wye

… and a bloke who turned out to be Johnny Vegas woke us up when he fell out of a nearby pub Tuesday night…

… and I had to listen to poetry

But it was read by the bloke in Homeland and Narcissa Malfoy, and they are both excellent actors, so my faith in the art form has been restored quite a bit.

Via TheTelegraph.co.uk

You hear that, AQA? My faith in poetry. Restored. After an hour of sitting still in a dimly lit tent in Wales, in a cloud. Listening to it read. No essays, no highlighters, no “comment on the view that…” Just poetry. Keats, Shelley and Byron, for that matter. My God, it’s not hard. It might be expensive, getting Damien Lewis and Helen McCrory to read the spec to every English class from GCSE upwards, but it’ll be worth it.

I also watched – and part of me still can’t quite believe it – Michael Morpurgo interview Judith Kerr. As in, he of War Horse fame and she of Mog the Forgetful Cat, who formed a large part of my formative years and is probably to blame for my deep love of all cute animals.

From VintageChildrensBooksMyKidLoves.com

I learnt a lot of inspiring things, including the fact that Michael Morpurgo failed his eleven plus and Judith Kerr failed her illustration diploma (does this mean I one-upped Michael at the age of eleven?)… Judith was also a German refugee whose family fled to Switzerland shortly before Hitler was elected because her dad was both an anti-Hitler writer and Jewish. Oh, and she turns ninety around about now. She read Mog the Forgetful Cat, which felt a bit like I was experiencing my life from an outsider’s perspective, and a bit from Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which might go on my holiday reading list. She and Michael also read The Tiger Who Came to Tea between them, which was fun, especially when she had to tell him “that was my bit.” I met her at a signing afterwards and she was lovely. Writers are people too! Oh, and apparently Prince Phillip reads.

I also learnt, from a retired Canadian economist with whom we had breakfast, that the UK’s distribution of wealth is currently at the worst its been since the Victorian era (I foresee a Sherlock episode), and that Rowan Williams’ greatest disappointment in terms of his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury is that woman bishops didn’t get legalised (he knows the people who run the B&B we stayed at, and comes to the festival a lot).

I could have stayed there for the entire ten days, clouds and all, and spent another ten days exploring the town’s bookshops. There were old books and new books and books too heavy to hold and signs asking people to please respect Hay’s source of income by not using a Kindle.

Heaven.