By Daniel Ross
The darkly comic story of a retired Las Vegas stage magician and big cat enthusiast, dragged back into the spotlight by the consequences of one huge mistake.
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
This is an update especially for you, cherished supporters. A brief glimpse behind the stage drapes, if you like.
So, we’re a week into pledging and, thanks to some unbelievably generous donations, we’re at a very healthy 21%. I think I read somewhere in the oodles of blurb that Unbound sent me that if a project gets to 30% within its first month, then chances are it’ll roll along to hit its pledging target inside the all-important 90-day window. Perhaps it’s obvious, but this brilliant start has only happened because of YOU. Sincerely, thank you. And you look radiant today.
It’s been a hectic experience, truth be told. Absolute joy when someone pledges, followed by a wave of worry when I realise again that there is a very, very long way to go until 100%. Overwhelmingly, though, it’s been positive. People I’ve never met have said extremely nice things about the book, people I haven’t spoken to in years have expressed surprise and been uncommonly supportive, and people I see all the time have totally come through in supremely generous ways.
On that: one particular area I’ve been unable to crack so far is book clubs. I’ve sent unsolicited messages to several in South East London and, perhaps understandably, they’re not super-interested in the work of an unpublished author, even if that author is local and will bring wine and snacks. I had one positive response from a club in Brixton, which was lovely, but then again I also had a message from another that literally suggested I try again ‘once you’ve won the Booker prize’. So y’know.
Are you in a book club? Do you know someone who’s in a book club? Have you ever broken into a house while a book club was in session and tried to ingratiate yourself? If so, I’d be most grateful if you mentioned BDIRR to yourself/someone you know/the person whose home you invaded. I know the ‘what are we going to read next?’ conversation is often a heated one in these groups so, if you happen to be involved, then go into it with the knowledge that I am with you, sitting on your shoulder, willing you to believe the words as they come out: ‘We… we could try… something… different?’ And then, slightly louder: 'A book about... a magician... and his white tiger?'
There are two pledging options for book clubs - one will give you five copies of the book, another gives you the books AND a visit from me, plus wine and nibbles, so y’know, that’s the one to plump for. That one is supposed to be London-based, but stuff it, I’ll travel (within reason). Just don’t expect the homemade hummus to be chilled when I arrive.
Aside from that, someone reminded me this week of a documentary that Emily (my wife) and I got obsessed with. It’s called Cat Dancers, and it perfectly illustrates one of the main threads of BDIRR: people who love animals more than they love their fellow humans, and the lengths they’ll go to (or won’t go to) in expressing that love. There’s also all that stuff about showbiz rotting your brain and social life, but never mind about that for a minute. I've attached the trailer, but I'd advise seeking out the full documentary if you've got time. The trailer is at the top there.