3. Go over the allotted time, so much so that you are mistaken for the “featured” reader, who has travelled three hours on an interstate to promote her most recent book, and has advertised the event on her personal website, Facebook author page, sent announcements college alumni listserv (undergraduate and graduate), as well as posted to Twitter and Snapchat accounts.
I wrote an essay. In this essay, I write about cheese, but also, in no particular order, fondue, city-dwelling, dinner parties, and a fear of cunnilingus.
“I never heard of Joan Armatrading,” the full-page ad from New York magazine reads, “but she knew me.” In the ad, a woman sits on an oriental rug, headphones off to the side. She sips tea and stares into the eyes of the Joan Armatrading pictured on her third self-titled LP from 1976, the one with her breakthrough songs “Down to Zero” and“Love and Affection.” “I discovered Joan Armatrading,” the ad continues. “An incredible artist who happens to be a woman. She’s been in the places I’ve been, felt the feelings I’ve felt.”
In 1984, there wasn’t that much difference between myself and the woman in the ad with the short Sandy Duncan haircut. I bought Track Record after a series of girls had turned down my offer of being their date to the junior prom. I now know that I first heard Joan Armatrading under ideal laboratory conditions: a rain-filled day, alone in a house, wearing headphones, drinking tea.
Just up on the Best American Poetry blog: Inside the First Cover of Bohemian Rhapsody: An Interview with Tony Rivers.
The very first “Bohemian Rhapsody” was recorded for a Top of The Pops compilation and released in December 1975, three months after the song was released to the airways. Not to be confused with the television show by the same name, Top of The Pops were budget-priced compilations that featured studio musicians and singers recreating soundalikes of chart-toppers. We’re talking everyone from the Supremes to the Sex Pistols. Found on Top of The Pops #49, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, next to Wembley Stadium–where, it might be noted, Queen recorded early demos for tracks like “Keep Yourself Alive.”
Recently I tracked down Tony Rivers, one of the four Top of The Pops singers who sang the first “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover. He was also the vocal arranger on the sessions, a thankless task for which he was well-prepared: Rivers’ long and varied career includes tracks from early 60s vocal groups Harmony Grass and the Castaways, recordings with Pink Floyd and INXS, and backup singing for Cliff Richard and Elton John, all of which he’s written about in a new book, I’m Nearly Famous: The Tales of a Likely Lad.
Rivers was kind enough to let me pick his brain over email about the very “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover.
This was a pleasant surprise in the email today: the mighty Small Press Distribution lists Shader in its SPD Recommends list!
You’ve got the wonderful blurb from Paul Lisicky, the ISBN number, exact page count–it’s really happening, sexy people! Shader is coming out sooner than you may think or even want!
If you’re an indie-type person–and who isn’t these days, really–SPD is how you would order your copy of Shader online, or how you would assign the book in your class, or how, if you’re a lovely and talented bookseller, you would order copies to stock in your store. Do all three and it’s a win-win-win. Point being: when you work with the Berkeley-based juggernaut distributor of indie presses, you directly help people like 99: The Press, the publisher of Shader, as well as hundreds of other indie publishers and micropublishers who otherwise would have no distribution channels to get their works out into the world.
Shader’s release date is now less than a month away: November 15!
Other ordering information at the Shader page.