I am not big on plugging other people’s books, but I’m happy to make an exception for ‘My Dog, My Friend’, a new compilation put together by Jacki Gordon and published by Hubble and Hattie, a dog-dedicated imprint that’s part of Veloce Press.
It’s a couple of years since Jacki approached me and asked if I would contribute a doggie story to her collection, the clincher being that all author royalties would be going to the Samaritans.
I don’t have a dog, but what the hell, I’m creative, so I did a small piece dedicated to the boy Canelo, the younger of my step-son’s Labradors, in Spain. He and I have a special relationship. You’ll find my story on P 102 of the finished work. Canelo’s in good company, since my felllow contributors include Fred Macaulay, Esther Rantzen, Simon Callow, Charlie Dimmock, Richard Holloway and William McIlvanney, and many others.
You’ll also find this very nice photo of my subject being walked by his Granny.
‘My Dog, My Friend’ can be found on Amazon and, as they say these days with a twist of acid, in all good book shops.
Strongly recommended, and poignant, given the charity that will benefit, that it should be published in the week of Robin Williams’ suicide.
I watched the first seven rounds of the Chris Eubank/ Nick Blackwell fight last night, but switched off for two reasons: one, an early departure, two, I didn’t want to see the brave lad Blackwell being hurt any worse than he was.
Today, he’s in a coma, and I’m not surprised. It must have been obvious to everyone except the referee andthe lad’s corner that there was a tragedy in the making, but it took the doctor to stop it.
I’ve watched boxing all my life, but I’ve never had the foreboding that I had last night.
Here I go off on one. I have just discovered that Oxfam are selling second-hand books, and God knows what else, on line. Well, f*ck you, Oxfam and co.; try widening your social conscience.
Once upon a time, North Berwick had a nice book shop called Readmore. Then the charity shops arrived, more than you could shake a stick at, and Readmore went out of business. The same story was told all across the land.
Not long after that I was at a dinner hosted by a Scottish Government minister. As the evening drew to a close, he asked each of us to name something we would like him to do.
I stepped up and said, ‘Yes, please regulate charity shops. Bring them under control, license them, and stop them fucking up the retail environment of every community they descend upon.’
I thought that would make me very unpopular with my fellow guests, but it didn’t. In fact heads nodded all around the table.