Saturday 4 January 2020

Happy New Year And All That

We took an A380. It's quicker...

So, here we are back 'in station' from 'leave in UK'. The coming week will involve the usual getting used to be being back home in this place which is home but not really home. As I pointed out on Twitter,  I'm back where I came from but not where I started.

Over the years, that has felt increasingly odd and, a bit like a tetanus jab, it gets worse every time.

I have things to focus on, of course - work's going to be mad, I know. And then we have Project Children of the Seven Sands, which launches in under a month...

The book's currently with the UAE's National Media Council, who have to decide whether it will break the world or whether it is not so painful as to be beyond their ability to ignore its more dramatic twists and turns. There's a lot in there they could potentially object strongly to - so we're hoping they are feeling brave, generous and generally able to take a deep breath, perhaps even hold their noses, and let the whole thing go with, if not their blessing, certainly their veto withheld.

Why should they?

Well, for a start it's all true. The truth may not always prevail in the world of Middle Eastern politics and culture, but the Emirates is in a funny place right now and probably more capable of facing up to the comforting and uncomfortable facts of its history than it ever before has been. This is the story, the full and unexpurgated story, of this land and its origins. Now, more than ever before, an environment prevails where that story can be told without fear of censorship or, indeed, censure.

Secondly, it's all rather wonderful. This history is rarely less than amazing, delightful and utterly counter-intuitive. I can only hope I have told it in a way that at least communicates a touch of the splendour, madness, hope and fear that is woven through a past that is magical, deadly, innocent and majestic in turns. Why would you possibly repress a past that is so colourful and magical, that gives meaning to your present and lets your people start to explore who they totally, really are? Is that a big claim for a book? Sure it is, and I'm happy to make it and stand by it.

And thirdly - and I make no apology for this - it's told by a friend. Now, we might be talking about a friend who's a bit loud and embarrassing and who drinks all the fruit juice before the important guest gets a look in, but you're better off with this story in the hands of a bumptious friend than an enemy - and you're certainly better off with a sympathetic interpretation of the archives than you are with a literal parroting of the British view as they recorded it - for instance.

I'm not saying by any means that I've papered over cracks or omitted inconvenient truths because I most certainly haven't - but I've given context where that is relevant and explained actions where they seem otherwise inexplicable. I've told the whole story only after I understood the entire thing myself, so that each action and event is given (I hope) the right weight in the overall scheme of things. I may not be a safe pair of hands, but I'm the best you're likely to get around here for a while yet.

Once we're through that, it's final covers, a quick review of the layout/page proofs and off to print in time for 02/02/2020 when we should be launching the thing.

In the meantime, there may be some promotional activity. You have been warned...

From The Dungeons

Book Marketing And McNabb's Theory Of Multitouch

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