Wednesday, 16 November 2022
I got my hands on a copy of The Hush-Kit Book of Warplanes and it is flipping gorgeous
Yesterday, I braved the rain and headed to Basildon for a day that will live forever in Hush-Kit history. It wasn't even Basildon really, but Laindon (the birthplace of Carry On actor Joan Sims). No disrespect to Laindon, but it's not the kind of place you go to unless you have a good reason, and I certainly did, as this was the first time I would touch a copy of The Hush-Kit Book of Warplanes. Full of nerves (would I love or hate the book?) and excitement I headed to the remote warehouse for a day of book signing. I met Unbound's Lena (Head of Fulfillment I believe, which is a brilliant job title) on the train platform at Barking. I had brought massive wheeled bags with the rather mad intention of carrying some hugely heavy books 162 miles by public transport back to Bristol (for the book launch next week on the 24th at the Crying Wolf bar).
Security was tight at the warehouse (two passes were required to even use the loo) and after gaining entry we waited in a meeting room. I braced myself. As the extremely nice Lena opened a box a huge smile spread across my face. The book is beautiful. It's heavy, smells good, and looks even better than I had expected. My first thought was that this was a book that I wanted to own. I felt quite emotional as years of work had gone into this. The work on the book started years before the fundraising effort for this project in 2020, and dates back at least to the launch of the Hush-Kit blog a decade ago. It really dates back many more years to when I become besotted with my grandad's copy of 'A Source Book of aircraft' by one M Allward. My grandad died a long time ago, but I managed to track down one of his friends the other day. Donald had worked on the design of the Victor bomber among many other fabulous air and space projects. We chatted for a good couple of hours - during which he informed me he had met my grandfather Kaikhoshro (spelling varies) Saklatvala in the aircraft section of Foyle's bookshop on Charing Cross Road in the 1940s or '50s. I think my grandfather would be happy to know that his love of aeroplanes, forged by a rather spotty - and brief - wartime career with the ATA, would live on.
My first job in the Laindon warehouse was to sketch planes for those who had selected the signed and sketched pledge level. Doodling a series of delta-winged monsters and WW2-style fighters was fun, my years of drawing on my school book covers were now paying off. Hours later the signings were done. I headed back to Victoria coach station with two massively heavy bags full of books and missed my coach. My advice is to NEVER move large amounts of books in this way, I think my arms are two feet longer than they were before. I eventually got home late last night extremely happy.
Thanks again to all of you who have made this possible, the book should be with you soon*. Another huge thank you to all the contributors, illustrators and interview subjects who gave their time to this project. I hope you enjoy it, if you do enjoy it please leave a review on Amazon or somewhere online - these things really help. I feel we have succeeded in making a new kind of aircraft book and hope to make many more.
I better get back to work on volume 2!
Yours in love & aeroplanes,
*A reminder not to contact me directly regarding the schedule or deliveries, I'm only the author, and will respond with grumpy ignorance, contact the publisher here: https://unbound.com/about#contact-us