I published my first book back in 2009. You might remember it. Monkey Round The World: Travel Writing 1993-2009 was intended to be the first of a series of books using the facilities of lulu.com to rehash my favourite bits of this website in hard copy form. Since then - more accurately, in the twelve months following then - I brought out three volumes of LFF reviews and two collections of Edinburgh Festival reviews, meaning that I currently have six books in print. That's quite an achievement, isn't it?
Except that now she's published Living For The Weekend: 2019 Diary, The Belated Birthday Girl now has two more books in print than I do. I may have to do something about that over the next couple of years. But for now, let's put that to one side and get on with the annual post announcing that you can buy her new diary for £3.99 plus postage and packing from the usual source.
Thinking back to twelve months ago, you may remember that the 2018 diary had a Project which required you to attend twelve live music gigs during the year, a project inspired by the realisation that we'd been to very few concerts in 2017. I don't know how you got on, but we managed to get in the full twelve shows in 2018 with a couple extra to spare. Many of these have been reviewed elsewhere in these pages, but to summarise, here are the gigs we went to this year:
- January 29th - Johnny Dowd, St Pancras Old Church, London.
- March 29th - Boothill Billy, Juttutupa, Helsinki.
- April 1st - Noep x Uenso, Kulturrikatel, Tallinn.
- April 21st - Miyavi, ULU, London.
- May 15th - Tiger Lillies, Wilton's Music Hall, London.
- May 27th - The Wedding Present, Liquid Room, Edinburgh.
- July 27th - John Zorn + Thurston Moore + friends, Gulbenkian Amphitheatre, Lisbon.
- July 29th - Adilan Ferreira, Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon.
- August 31st - Youssou N'Dour, Royal Albert Hall, London.
- September 11th - Janelle Monae, Roundhouse, London.
- September 14th - Youngblood Brass Band, Electric Brixton, London.
- October 3rd - They Might Be Giants, Barbican, London.
- October 27th - Saul Williams and David Murray, MOTH Club, London.
- November 20th - Kojey Radical, Koko, London.
(A few thoughts from The BBG on these: it was a nicely diverse collection of shows, and we managed to do them all without visiting any venue twice. Her favourites include Noep x Uenso, for the coolness of the Kultuurikatel venue: Miyavi, for the sheer pleasure of audience-watching, not to mention how perfectly at home the man himself was in front of a foreign audience: The Wedding Present, just for the fun of it: Janelle Monae, for the delight of catching her just before her move into arenas: and Saul Williams/David Murray for the combination of great music and an enjoyable new small venue.)
The plan for the 2019 Project came to her while we were drunk. I realise I could have phrased that better. We were having our annual pre-Christmas meetup with Alastair, in a wine bar somewhere in central London. He'd got the impression that we were all about the beer these days - no, we haven't a clue where he'd got that idea from - and in the ensuing discussion we realised that there aren't as many old-fashioned wine bars around as there used to be. How many are there these days, really? Twelve, maybe? So, that's the plan: in 2019 we'll try to get to twelve proper wine bars, not just bistros with a pretentiously over-extended wine list, or pubs with a few interesting bottles written on a chalkboard. And if you buy the diary, you can play along too, and we can all come back here this time next year and see how we've got on.
To conclude: The Belated Birthday Girl's eighth book - Living For The Weekend: 2019 Diary - is available now from Lulu for £3.99 plus postage and packing. But by this time next year, I should have enough material for my seventh to ninth books (one more Edinburgh and two more LFF), and then we'll see who's winning, shan't we?