A bit of a special one for you today, folks. Steve Stack, (otherwise known as Scott Pack – publisher extraordinaire at The Friday Project) the author of the brilliant ‘It Is Just You, Everything’s Not Shit’ has a new book out. It’s called ‘21st Century Dodos: A Collection of Endangered Objects (and Other Stuff)’ (click here for the eBook version) and, from what I’ve read so far (I only received it yesterday and have been eagerly dipping ever since) it’s another belter.
And he’s here today, the first stop on his blog tour, to talk about it. But not just to talk about it. No, no. There’s unicycling too. More on that shortly.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you the one, the only, Scott Pack…
Hello Scott! And welcome to the blog. I trust you’ve brought your own cake.
I always have cake, Nik, no worries there.
A man after my own heart! So, your new book, ‘21st Century Dodos: A Collection of Endangered Objects (and Other Stuff)’ – tell us about it! Who’s it for and what’s it about?
It is for anyone with a toilet library, anyone of a certain age who has ever felt nostalgic for days gone by, anyone who can remember when television used to close down in the afternoon and anyone with £9.99 to spare on a mildly amusing book this Christmas.
It is essentially a collection of endangered objects. I look at over 100 ‘things’ that are on the verge of extinction, or may have already vanished from this earth, and try to give them a decent send off with a couple of pages of irreverent banter.
Why did you write it?
For the fame and the money, why else does anyone write anything?
Of course, I couldn’t agree more. I thought your first book, ‘It Is Just You, Everything’s Not Shit’ was wonderful – funny and touching and a celebration of the good things a grumpy sod like me can easily forget. Can fans of that expect something similar from this one? Or have you taken things in a different direction?
I always had you down as a perceptive man with fine taste in books, young master Nik.
I think this book would appeal to people who enjoyed the last one but it is quite different. In IIJYENS, as acronym fans like to call it, I was on the lookout for the often small things in life that make it worth living, so it was rather a positive and upbeat book. Dodos is a tad more wistful, it has a small tear in its eye, but is still attempting to be funny.
Is there an object you’ve mentioned in the book that you miss the most?
Yes, I am very upset about the demise of the Maverick bar. It was my favourite chocolate confection but now it is gone.
If you could bring one object back from extinction, which would it be? And why?
Well, you might expect me to say the Maverick bar but, as you will see in the book, I do (sort of) manage to bring it back for one last lunchtime snack. So, instead, I shall nominate interludes. These were short movies shown between television programmes – a potter’s wheel, a tropical beach scene, a windmill and so on – and I think we’d have a much more relaxed society if these were back on the box.
And is there one which has benefited from not being in existence any more, do you think?
There are quite a few entries which we are probably all quite pleased aren’t around any more – dial-up modems, manual car chokes, toothpaste tubes made of metal – but I think the fact the demise of passing back to the goalie is the one that no one misses at all. But reading your question again, that may not be what you meant. Oh, well, it’s the answer I am giving anyway.
Is there anything that surprised you while you were writing it?
Discovering the reason we don’t see white dog poo any more. That was surprising and fascinating. And you’ll just have to read the book to find out the answer.
And – the Main Event! You’ve been kind enough to agree to let me pop a video (not Betamax) of your son reading an extract from the book. Would you like to introduce it?
Coming at you, direct from laserdisc, is a clip of my son Ethan reading two very short extracts from the book while unicycling down our street. They concern the change in pronunciation of two words from our youth, both of which are changes for the worse, if you ask me.
Anything you’d like to add?
Just to say thanks for having me and to point out to everyone not to try the unicycling at home unless properly trained. We don’t want anyone extincting themselves, do we?
Thank you, Scott! It’s been a pleaure. (Great choice of cake too, by the way.)
If you’d like to order a copy of 21st Century Dodos, you can do so by clicking here for the beautiful hardback (or by visiting any book retailer worth their salt), or by clicking here for the eBook.
Tomorrow sees Scott popping over to the lovely Caroline Smailes’ blog where, I believe, you might be treated to some swearing. It will be brilliant. Do have a look.