Sunday, December 14, 2008

December is Truly Upon Us.

Christmas Decorations Went Up Today

Yes, it's that time of year when long shadows are cast over the walls of our houses. The Christmas decorations went up today. It's actually set to be just about the least fussy Christmas in a long time.  No binge in Woolworths in Lewisham on cheap decorations, instead Jonathan and I spent an hour or so this afternoon making stars out of tinsel pipe cleaners and hanging them from some Rowan yarn that's too fine to knit but looks great as a slightly silvery, slightly wispy thread to hang decorations from.

Yesterday was the Brockley Christmas Fair, where Robin and I took Badger along to meet with the lovely people of Brockley and almost as much mulled wine as there was rain.  There was a lot of rain, too.  Still, we had a busy day, sharing a table with some really cool local articraft people.  We took turns to run over to watch the local ukulele band do their fantastic bluegrass cover of Gold-digger (with kazoo bleeping out the swear words) and by the end of the day we were just spending our time making silly jokes about pterodactyl porn.  If you've not googled that yet, get to it, you fool.

I was too busy pushing rain off the canopy to notice that we actually sold a lot of books yesterday and with the ones that have sold online since the latest bit of publicity on Forbidden Planet International and I'm really pleased to say I've almost sold out of copies!  Luckily, there's more on their way (the ones with the spiffy ISBN and everything!) but I really do need to get started on the next book.

Only... you know how Access to Work agreed to organise support for me to get back into work now I've got long-lasting damage to my arms?  Well, the latest in that exciting story is that not only do I have to pay a part of the cost of the equipment they've recommended myself, but I also need to pay for it all up front and then claim it back from them.  Not only does this mean some faff on accounting for all this and having to spend the time out from working to get the equipment sorted out but that it's assumed I have the money spare.  I've just started self-employed work after the best part of a year on incapacity benefit, you'd think it wouldn't take a genius to work out that I'm not going to have money spare at the moment.  Everything I get goes back into making more books, as is surely only proper with just starting out in business.

So, the choice I have is to stop buying more stock and close the small press while I pile all my money into getting equipment that I need and then wait a month for the money to come through and then carry on working or carry on working and fuck my hands up.  It's not much of a choice, really.

Still, I'm not going to let that kind of nonsense overshadow the fact I'm actually really rather chuffed with what I've achieved this year - I'm so happy to have a book that's actually doing ok on the small press circuit and to be working for the National Maritime Museum and spending my days talking to astronomers about organic material in space and what Io smells like and I'm really happy that I've got a lot more confidence in public speaking now with the talks I've given at the National Gallery and the Hayward Gallery.

More than that, I've met some wonderful people and times of adversity are always when you realise what a wealth you have in the people around you when you spend more time laughing than worrying as your health falls apart.

Rah, it's all not too bad, you know?


Deptford Dame said...

Where is your exhibition in the Picturehouse? I looked for it yesterday but couldn't find it!

The Pirate King said...

It's in the basement screen - so if you went when they had a film showing in that space they might have kicked you out - it's the bar space that's sort of joined onto the downstairs screen.

barakta said...


I believe AtW can be pushed to pay for stuff up front if you push them Very Hard by going on at length about how you don't have the cashflow to do it yourself and that they would be contributing to discrimination against you by not doing so.

I believe it was you who told me about a court case where a deaf person was found to have been discriminated against because they had to organise their own AtW and or access needs which took extra time away from their jobs... That might also be another handle.

I'm just playing the AtW game again myself, AtW are being helpful as is the PA organising all the kit but I'm still having to chase stuff, waste time/days emailing several people and finding half the deaf-kit recommended no longer exists ;(

I must say AtW have got better than they were by a truckload, I'd just like to see them actually buy equipment up front, especially when they've agreed to 100% of funding for an item in question. I wonder who I should write to, to suggest that as a default. It'd save weeks of faffing