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Alan Harris

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About Alan Harris

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  • Birthday 17/09/1969


  • Biography
    Run own business. Author (budding)
  • Location
  • Interests
    Triathlon (at the competitive/obsessive end of the market)
  • How did you hear about this site?
    Referral from existing member
  1. Claire - apologies for the lengthy delay...and thank you for your feedback. I would like to see how SPE does before considering whether to have another go. I am pleased that you have found something of interest in another genre. You are far more adventurous than most of the rest of us! Perhaps that is one of the many benefits of a forum such as this one. Incidentally, the opening 'snippets' to which you refer were in fact quotes from e-mail traffic passing between B and myself prior to us setting off on our literal and metaphorical journey to some place else.
  2. ChrisG, Donnae, Elfstar, Granny Weatherwax (great name!), thank you all for taking the time to read SPE and for providing your feedback. Being new to this, I have to say that getting published is a really strange experience and I am trying to think of a suitable analogy??? (The gestation period of an elephant springs to mind). After six months travelling and then a year writing the book and then another couple of years struggling to land a publishing contract and then month after month desperately pushing all of the time to get the book 'out there', the end result is a little strange. All then goes suddenly and dramatically silent and you have very little idea as to whether anyone is actually buying it, reading it, liking it, disliking it etc...So, I really appreciate your comments. The reactions have been really interesting. Either people made a connection and really enjoyed it or they didn't make the connection and have come back with very specific observations like, "I didn't like the joke about the English lollipop ladies"!!! GW - I guess that the section on China is short because we were there for such a short time and we barely had the chance to scratch the surface. You are no doubt correct though that many parts of China are perfectly hygienic and I meant no offence, it is just that our budget and itinerary meant that we didn't have the good fortune to see many of them! By the way, for those who did enjoy SPE, please feel free to recommend it to your friends and family etc. It is hard work raising the profile of any book, especially one by an unknown author.
  3. Thanks for your feedback Chris, I'm glad that you got through it ok.
  4. Thanks for your comments MFJ. (All is very well!!!) And thanks for trying out a travelogue when it isn't your normal reading matter. I struggle to be that brave myself, especially when time is always at a premium. I guess that is one of the great things about a forum like this though, it makes you try something different.
  5. My Friend Jack - no apologies needed and how good for you to have a few days away from the joys of public transport! I hope that you come back to SPE fully refreshed. BrumB - and now I know what you readers are really interested in...ok, the band was called The Ludicrous Lollipops (or The Lollies for short). I shall say no more. Anyone with any knowledge or recollection of or interest in the band should think very carefully before they reply. Like all of the 'I used to be in a band' type people out there (and there are a lot of us), I am prone to going on about it quite a bit given half the chance. You have been warned.
  6. The first point must be to apologise for any errors in spelling/grammar etc. I share your frustrations and I must accept that I am at least partly to blame. The very last thing that I would want is for the reader to be distracted and to lose faith because of this. As the author, I suspect that on my part this is more a failure to see the wood for the trees, rather than a failure to understand the English language. When you have been through a text so many times and a text which you have written, it is difficult to assess it objectively. As for the publishers and their proof-reader, I cannot speak. I suspect that this is a reflection on them being a smaller publisher and of having a more limited budget. It may simply be a lack of attention to detail or of professionalism. Either way, I am sorry. Really. (Incidentally, the person who is credited at the front of the book is a family member who was at least prepared to put his head above the parapet and to have a go at double-checking the text for me. He is not a trained proof-reader and I was grateful to him in any event). BrumB - I can see your point with regard to the introduction. The reason it is there is because I didn't want the book to be a straightforward 'what we did on our holidays' type travelogue. I hoped that it would find a connection with many people who find themselves in a similar situation, i.e. desperate to get away from it all, but not really knowing what to do. I wanted to convey that feeling of restlessness, of feeling like I should be some place else. I accept that the references to divorce, death, B, etc are oblique, which may not have worked for some readers. However, this was a deliberate decision on my part to try and avoid explicit references to having an affair, leaving my ex-wife and running away. Also, the name of the B's grandfather who died would be known to you and to everyone else on this website. I did not feel that it was my place to discuss the private grief of another's family in anything other than a passing reference. Given that I am an unkown first time author, I took the view that no-one would be in the slightest bit interested in the lowly details of 'my life' and I was very conscious of keeping away from being 'autobiographical'. Apart from anything else, there are always two sides to every story and it was only one of us who was choosing to write it down and to try and get it published!!! I felt it fairer therefore to wash my dirty laundry in private. However, as a 30-something, professional person, who was in a bit of a mess with his life, who had not travelled the world before and who had finally secured the one woman he had always wanted to be with, it seemed to me that there might at least be some common themes with which readers might find a connection, however tenuous. Failing all of that, I just wanted to avoid beginning with the line 'first of all we went to Jakarta, which was really quite muggy and then we went to....' etc etc. Thank you for perservering though, despite the annoyances of the text.
  7. I have no particular axe to grind (honest) but I do believe that 'On the trail of the Assassins' by Jim Garrison should be on the National Curriculuum. As one of a couple texts behind the Oliver Stone movie 'JFK', it tells the factual account of how one very single-minded and determined DA brought the only prosecution arising out of the John Kennedy assassination. And, if you look very closely, Jim Garrison is actually in the film...but which part did he play? (Are there any other fans out there???) I still marvel at the rubbish which Sky/Cable regularly chucks out in defence of The Warren Commission Report. Anyone possessing just the merest, slightest smidge of skepticism of modern day so-called American 'democracy' MUST read this book. Also, 'All the President's Men' by Woodward and Bernstein. A little self-serving, yes, and not such a well written book, but another must read, all the same.
  8. Having been in a fair few bands myself over the years with bizarre names, I loved the ridiculous band names and the off-the-wall song titles, such as the wonderfully titled - 'Milk Teeth (Are Good Until You Lose Them)'. I really enjoyed his dry humour. At one point he is facing an operation to remove his spleen due to the onset of cancer. His comment? "The doctor said that I would be able to play the trumpet afterwards. Which was good news, because I wasn't able to before". A great read.
  9. I too read this a couple of years back and I agree on the 'distasteful' tag. He did come across as being somewhat seedy and he didn't hold back on his descriptions of his post-event preying upon anything in a dress/skirt/trousers etc. However, I did feel for him when West Brom managed to avoid relegation from The Premiership the other weekend. For a self-confessed reformed-alcoholic, who is consistently battling against his inner demons, it must have pushed him to the very limits of his considerable resistance to say 'no' to a quick one for the road. One has to admire him for that at least. A far better trash/celebrity/tv/film autobiography must surely be 'With Nails' by Richard E Grant, which is a joyous romp through his paranoid, self-deprecating rise to celluloid acclaim. It is a shame though that his venture into fiction ('By Design'), missed the mark by a country mile. Why dress the truth up as fiction when you can tell it like it is? He was much better at name-dropping (Madonna, Bruce Willis, Steve Martin et al) than he was at trying to cover-up who he was actually alluding to.
  10. I was not a member, but I am now, having been referred by an existing member.
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