Opening the Jamboree Bag

26 Feb

Those familiar with this blog will know that I’m not terribly keen on self-promotion, but I hope that I shall be forgiven on this occasion. In the summer, I put together a sampler of my writing in a range of forms across the better part of thirty years. For reasons outlined below, I chose to call it Jamboree Bag. The idea was to provide something that publishers or agents could look at – ha ha – and anyone else who might be interested, to demonstrate the range of my writing.

I’ve finally decided to let it loose on an unsuspecting and almost certainly uninterested world. Perhaps it was reading The Salmon of Doubt, a compendium of posthumously published pieces by Douglas Adams (RIP, big man) that prompted me to do so. After all, you’re a long time dead, as they say. It’s available now on Lulu – just follow the link. My facility with e-books is almost nil, so for the moment it’s only available in paperback format. You get 147 pages featuring excerpts from the novels and novellas that I’ve written to date, a couple of short stories, extracts from my two works-in-progress, memoir and journalism, all for an entrance fee of just a fiver. There are 24 pieces in all. It’s illustrated with photos and with the occasional drawing too. To quote my writing friends, “each of these pieces is a clean, tight example of excellent writing” (Lauren Sapala), “every piece was beautifully written, interesting and engaging” (Mari Biella). And they couldn’t possibly be biased, could they?

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Anyway, here’s what I have to say about it in the introduction.

A long time ago in England, there existed something called a Jamboree Bag. Cheap to buy, it contained a variety of sweets and toys all wrapped up in a package featuring jokes and puzzles.

I’ve been writing forever. You could probably still buy a Jamboree Bag when I made up my first story. Friends at Sixth Form will remember my first efforts, absurdist plays that never got beyond act one, scene three.  Then there were the lyrics that I wrote for bands in which I played, always the wordiest of songs.  In my late teens, I made my first unsuccessful forays into novel writing, gloomy and self-pitying attempts that invariably faltered after a single chapter. After completing and then discarding three novels in the 1990s, I’d written my obligatory half million words of rubbish.  I was ready to start writing for real. 

I’ve worked as a freelance music journalist and in 2009, Helter Skelter published Music in Dreamland, my biography of the leftfield musician, Bill Nelson.  I’m a writer in mid-career.  It just so happens that my fiction has yet to be published. Over the years, I’ve amassed something of a backlog.  There are my two novellas, The Great English Novel (2002) and Norwegian Rock (2006), my war novel, “Mayflies” (2012) and a clutch of short stories written over the past decade.  At present, I’m working on two further novels. 

All in all, then, it seems like a good time for a retrospective.  And so here’s a jamboree bag, crammed full with writing from across the years in a range of forms – extracts from novels and novellas, short stories, biography, memoir, music journalism, blog posts, song lyrics, even poems…  

All text and images © PSR 2014

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2 Responses to “Opening the Jamboree Bag”

  1. Mari Biella February 27, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    I think you can be forgiven a little self-promotion on occasion, Paul! And if you’d still like to be interviewed about JB on my blog, my list of questions are almost ready and will be winging their way to you soon…

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves February 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for your comments. It would be an honour to be interviewed!

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