I've gone and done it again. I couldn't help myself. I've published another collection of 'best of' posts from years passim of this marginal, silly little blog. At the time I did the first volume as a test file for a self-publishing workshop, I joked that if I sold more than ten copies I'd do a second volume. And the first volume has, amazingly, sold significantly more than ten copies. It might even run into the twenties.
The cover image of Fake Plastic Souks - The Fear Returns is taken, as the blog's header and the cover shot of the first volume are, in the Aleppo souk. If you ever doubted Jarvis Cocker's wisdom - everybody hates a tourist - you can see it reflected in the faces of these gentlemen, interrupted in their centuries-old ritual of making fatayer by me and my trusty EOS. I wondered, working on the cover file, what had happened to them and whether they had survived the destruction of that glorious old souk. If you want to get a taste of the timeless alleyways of the C14th Ottoman labyrinth, you have to go no further than buying a copy of that most excellent Middle Eastern spy thriller, Shemlan: A Deadly Tragedy.
The book starts off well, with the story of an Irish building worker whose mobile falls into the hands of police. Trouble was, he'd forgotten taking some spoof shots of him and his mates hooning around with a replica AK47. So plod had him followed around Europe for two weeks as they waged war on terror and our hero just went on an adventurous and boozy holiday. It's a true story, too!
2009-2011 sees us finally realising there's a crisis and the British press ganging up to sling mud at Dubai while it's good and down. Shiny posts crop up as everyone starts to realise the difference between usufruct and freehold, while various inane pronunciations are made then inevitably clarified. I share more of my love for banks and call centres, including a most amusing spoof of 'ten tips for call centres' which the bloke I was parodying was kind enough to not only acknowledge but link to! There's quite a lot of Gulf News slappery, more than I remembered doling out, including the results of deploying my rather fetching Dhs19 weighing scales bought from Lals when I realised GN was looking decidedly Kate Moss these days.
All in all I found it a great deal more amusing than I can remember it being at the time - certainly funnier than the rot I'm posting these days. If you fancy a trip down memory lane and the odd laugh, you can part with £0.77 at this handy link here and have it on your Kindle or your Kindle for iPad app within seconds. If you're in the US and would rather spend $0.99, it's linked here.
If you're in love with paperbacks, that's coming but it takes a few days to populate the Amazon paperback story. Similarly B&N, Kobo and iBooks.
And, yes, if this does over ten copies (making me a princely £3.50) I'll do volume three...