Thursday, 6 April 2017

Book Giveaway


This week I had two exciting deliveries through the post.  One was a box of very gorgeous American editions of 'Sophie Someone' (see the lovely binding below) and the other was a package containing some proof copies of my brand new novel 'The Nearest Faraway Place'.  The latter is not released in its proper shiny format until July so these draft copies are publishing-industry early-birds for reviewers and the like.  If anyone wants to pre-order this book from Waterstones or Amazon or their lovely local bookseller, they should be advised that all pre-orders come with a free virtual hug from me.

Having said that - because you are reading my blog and I'm not entirely convinced that anyone else does - I am giving YOU the opportunity to read my next novel WELL EARLY.  Also I have got too many books on the floor of my house.  To be in with a chance of winning a very pretty copy of 'Sophie Someone' AND a proof copy of 'The Nearest Faraway Place', all you have to do is send me an email at hayleylong@hayleylong.org before the end of April which says:  Hi Hayley, I don't mind taking those books off your hands.

UK, USA and EU* entrants only, please

One random person will then be selected at random to randomly receive these two items.  I will also sign them for you or some other random person of your choosing if you so wish.

The random winner will be notified in early May.

*Because I am a European  

Friday, 10 March 2017

De La Soul and The Joy of Getting Old

It’s been a while since I wrote on this blog so I thought I’d write a post about the joy of getting old.  Yeah, that’s right.  I said the joy of getting old.  I didn’t realise that this was an actual thing until a couple of nights ago.  I mean, who could possibly feel chuffed about a situation as depressingly inevitable as that?  Me, that’s who.  And my friend McG.  And several hundred other greying ‘teenagers’ who were in the UEA’s Lower Common Room last Wednesday night. And it was the legendary hip hop trio De La Soul who enlightened us all to the pure joy of it.
De La Soul.  That’s them in the picture above.  Please excuse the awful image quality.  There is a good reason for this:
1.      1. The camera on my phone is worse than the Kodak 110 I had in 1989.
2.      2. Spoken like a true Generation X’er, Plug 1 – or was it Plug 2 – was most insistent that we ‘put the ******* phones away.  You wanna party with us or watch a ******* movie?  Come on, you guys; I want you to enjoy yourselves now not later on when you watch the whole ******* thing at home.’  It was a fair point and one I respect.  So I took my dirty snap in a guilty hurry.
Speaking of Generation X, I am very definitely am part of it.  I was a sixth-former when ‘Me, Myself and I’ was on the radio.  Just... um... let me do the maths... 28 years ago. 
But that song and the album it came from - ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ - still sounds as fresh as the D.A.I.S.Y age* it came from.  So fast-forward 28 years and there I was at the UEA with my friend McG and with a venue full of very happy people.  The De La Soul men were up on the stage illustrating how three is the magic number, everyone else’s hands were up in the air and the bass was so loud it was making my jeans vibrate.  Then the bass calmed down a bit.  And then it stopped altogether.  Time for some interaction with the audience.
Plug 1 – or was it Plug 2 – said, ‘OK, let’s see who’s in the house.  Let me hear some noise if you’re aged 18 to 25.’
There was a big happy cheer from loads of people who didn’t exist when I was doing my A levels.  I smiled at the joyful sound of their youth.  
The men on stage were impressed.  Then one of them – the same bloke as before who I think was calling himself Plug 1 but who is actually called Kelvin – said, ‘OK, so who in here is aged 26 to 35?’
Another big cheer.  But I didn’t smile this time.  I was starting to feel the early beginnings of anxiety.  Where was this all leading?    
‘Let me hear it from all the 36 to 40 year olds.’
Oh God.  The age bands were getting narrower.  I looked at my friend McG and she looked back at me with an expression of panic that must have mirrored my own.  But whatever concerns she was having, mine were worse.  I’d been on the planet two whole years longer than her.  As far as De La Soul were concerned, we might not even be in the same demographic.
Plug 1 – aka Kelvin - said, ‘And now we come to my FAVOURITE people.  The 41s and over.  I totally LOVE you guys.  And WELL DONE on STILL BEING HERE and STILL PARTYING.  LET ME HEAR YOU MAKE SOME NOOOOOOOIIIIIIISE!
The roof of the LCR nearly lifted off.  It was the loudest, happiest and most beautiful roar I have ever heard.  It reduced the previous cheers to half-arsed pitiful squeaks.  I think I was actually crying with laughter and relief.  When I looked at McG, I think she was too.  I haven't laughed so hard in ages.  God, I love De La Soul.  That night of hip-hop in ‘Hull - **** sorry - I mean Nor-wich,’ was one of the most fun nights ever.  And those three blokes from the Bronx were better than any anti-ageing cream I have ever wasted money on.  Better even than Boots Time Delay.  Never been so chuffed and proud and delighted to be forty-five in my life. 

*Da Inner Sound Y’all.