Tag Archives: England

Confirmed: ‘An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity’ Amazon bestseller in UK, Oz & Canada


AEGTI best seller
Here’s the coveted yellow ‘Best Seller’ sticker, now adorning the Amazon catalogue entry in the UK, Canada and Australia! Thank you to all who contributed to this success.

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‘An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity’ hits Amazon bestseller ranks in UK, Oz and Canada

canada sales 19:8:16A huge thank-you to my  readers and reviewers for helping to catapult An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity up the Amazon UK, Australia and Canada charts. I couldn’t have done it without you!

I hope I can reward your enthusiasm with my next novel Cairo Mon Amour, which will be released on 31 August. There’s a swish website here where you can read about it and even pre-order a copy for the promotional price of 99c.UK sales 19:8:16

My challenge: Explain my novel ‘An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity’ in 80 seconds

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.25.07 PMMy challenge this week was to make an 80-second video promotion for my novel An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity. I’ve used a DSLR camera previously for this kind of thing, but I just got an iPhone 6s, and it did the job just as well. I used iMovie to compile and edit the film, and Graphic to make the opening title. The only problem was getting the video file from the iPhone to my laptop because it was too big to email. In the end, I managed to do it with iCloud.

I wrote a script, but on the first few takes I kept peeping it at and my eyes were darting all over the place. I solved the problem by taking off my glasses so that I couldn’t see the script, and had to memorise it instead.

You can find my video here.

Let me know what you think!

 

 

Being British in Australia: No joking matter

Arthur or Martha? © Sara Campbell 2015
Arthur or Martha?
© Sara Campbell 2015

What happens when a planeload of Poms lands at Sydney airport? What I’ve always found intriguing about this Australian joke is that it only seems to have one punch line: When the engines stop, you can still hear the whining. It’s a model joke: Concise, based on a neat double meaning, and it delivers an ethnic slur with devastatingly effective understatement. Even better, it isn’t offensive. You can quickly test this proposition at your next dinner party: Replace ‘Pom’ with ‘ Chinese’ and watch the eyebrows shoot up in alarm and confusion.

I was prompted to think about this by a Guardian article[1] that proposes that British jokes about Australians are more to do with the Poms’ attitudes towards their own class system than about Australia itself. But back to my airport joke: The reason that this potentially productive joke stem only has one ending may be that British Australians (as opposed to British visitors) occupy an indistinct zone in the Australian ethnic spectrum, and putting aside the standard stereotypes about whinging and personal hygiene, aren’t particularly joke worthy.

I felt a twinge of doubt when I threw in the term ‘ethnic slur’ just now. I’ve lived permanently in Australia since 1977, or for more than half of my life, and I’ve never been described as belonging to an ethnic group in the way that Armenians, Thais and Somalis might be categorised. So, what kind of insult is it that the Poms are supposed to suffer if the airport joke isn’t an ethnic one? I’ll come back to that in a moment, but I’ll firstly make some remarks on the nature of being a British Australian … or is it an Australian Brit?

The essence of being British in Britain is the negotiation of social diversity along class and geographical lines. Like exotic beetles, the Brits develop – metaphorically speaking – huge antennae, which they wave around when they meet a new acquaintance, sniffing for clues about where this person was born, where they are in the pecking order, and what they are worth. To complicate things, the class signalling system has been subverted over the decades, so that the British are happy to accept the irony of concert pianists who sound like scrap metal dealers. Britain revels in all of this, egged on by a comedy industry that is supercharged by the exploitation of class differences.

Fresh Poms arrive in Australia with antennae flapping, but can’t tune into the signals. The huge things are as much use as an extra pair of nipples, and they soon shrivel. Adrift, the recent arrivals resort to crude judgments linked to their memories of Britain; when I arrived in 1977 I soon decided that Australians were very much like people from British council estates – just about the most damning class slur available to someone whose childhood was spent in such places. Homesick and disoriented, I immersed myself in the novels of Thomas Hardy for a few months, bathing my violated sensibilities in the bucolic balm of an invented rural England. I was saved by Australian literature; authors like David Ireland, Hal Porter and Patrick White helped me draw the social blueprint of my new home. At the same time I was writing the grammar of an Aboriginal language for a Masters thesis at the Australian National University, getting the first real clues about another way of seeing Australia. Like my fellow migrants I was gradually absorbed into the land of Arthur and Martha that is Australian Britishness.

So back to that joke. It’s obvious that a British ethnicity in Australia is difficult to pin down: A common language softens the definitional edges; millions of Australians have British forebears just a  generation or two away; the UK is still on the pilgrimage route for Australian travellers; and the ABC often seems to function as a southern branch office of the UK TV drama industry. There isn’t really a clear ethnic target at all, so there’s no incentive to make jokes.

I’m inclined to think that the airport joke survives simply because it’s very well-constructed and therefore worth retelling. I spent some time trying to create some alternative punch lines such as ‘The soap factory goes onto overtime’ and  ‘Australia’s average IQ goes down ten points’.

You’re right – they are lame, and you might also agree that they look much more like ethnic slurs than the original, because of course they could be applied to any ethnic group. There’s a fondness about the whining joke, a self-deprecating acceptance of British cultural roots, an irony in the joke’s lack of sting.

Now I wonder what colour socks go with these sandals?

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/08/what-british-jokes-australians-mean . Downloaded 29 May 2014.

A villainous brew

I ordered a cappuccino for my Mum on a recent visit to England, and she was presented with this baby’s potty of suds. It wasn’t unlike the coffee that Francis ordered in the following extract from An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity. The narrator is Thea.

megachhino

I pointed to a coffee shop and we went in. He ordered what looked to be a litre of coffee foam, a supermegaccino I think it was called. I had Earl Grey. I waited for him to speak.

“I never forgot you Thea.”

“Why did you pick on me all those years ago? You did target me, didn’t you? It wasn’t just random?”

“I did. I picked on you on purpose. I wanted what Jack had. What they owed me.”

“You wanted me as part of his chattels?”

“No, it wasn’t like that. First of all I just wanted a life like his, wife, children, some kind of future. But when I saw you I …” He faltered. “I fancied you.”

“Fancied me? What, fancied me like a greyhound? Fancied me like a set of golf clubs? Anyway, there was no money in those days. Jack’s parents were still alive. You couldn’t have had his life or his future. You couldn’t just bundle his life up and put it in a van.”

“There wasn’t any money, sure, but there was you, but you’re not getting my meaning. I really fancied you.”

“I see,” I said. “I think we might be talking about lurv, like in the pop songs … you wanted me to be your lurv. You lurv me. I fall in lurv with you. It’s all lurvely. Stop messing me around.”

Francis sucked on the huge coffee cup. He wiped a foam moustache away with a napkin and looked at me balefully. “Don’t take the piss. I mean it. It’s you I wanted all the time. I do love you.”

 

Buy Stuart Campbell’s books in paperback and ebook on Amazon by clicking on these title links:

An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity

The Play’s the Thing

A half of bitter and a bit of solace

half of bitterThis delicious half of bitter that I enjoyed at a pub in Kings Langley put me in mind of the verger in An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity:

I wandered through cobbled yards and across muddy playgrounds, replaying the ghastly scenes, and rehearsing what I should tell Thea. After an hour I found myself back near the shop and on the doorstep of the Bear and Fox. I slipped in, ordered a double Scotch, and found a seat half hidden behind a timber beam. My meditation was broken by the verger, who had his half of bitter at the bar each evening before going home.

“Not poorly are we?” he asked in social workerish tones.

“Just a little overwrought.”

” I say. Don’t think I’m being pushy, but you know that even if you aren’t a friend of Jesus, the cathedral is a splendid place to just sit and reflect …”

I could have kissed the verger. The certainty of his faith shone from his little currant bun face, and I saw at once that I had to go home and tell Thea everything. Well, almost everything. I swigged off the Scotch, thanked him and went home.

 

Buy Stuart Campbell’s books in paperback and ebook on Amazon by clicking on these title links:

An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity

The Play’s the Thing