Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Last Step...

“It had long been a theory of his that a climber should
know how to fall without hurting himself. In pursuit of
this pessimistic ideal he had been dropping from a
height every day for months.”

The book has gone to the printers. Nothing else to be done now. You will see the finished article at the launch party on the 26th. Tickets available at Heffers. So many people seem interested in this; it was originally just a small hobby project and it seems to be gaining a lot of momentum. It's a little daunting. Especially when you realise the mistake will be huge - like I've mis-spelt Cambridge on the cover or something...

The Night Climbers of Cambridge are back - hopefully with a vengeance. Here's to Whipplesnaith! Here's the blurb from the cover flap:

The Night Climbers of Cambridge was first published in October 1937 with a second edition rapidly following in November of the same year. Reprinted in 1952, the book has since been unavailable and has built up a cult following with copies of either edition becoming increasingly rare. Authored under the pseudonym Whipplesnaith it recounts the courageous, or foolhardy, nocturnal exploits of a group of students climbing the ancient university and town buildings of Cambridge. These daring stegophilic feats, including such heights as the Fitzwilliam Museum and the venerable King's College Chapel, were recorded with prehistoric photographic paraphernalia carried aloft over battlements, up chimneys and down drain-pipes. The climbers all this while trying, with mixed results, to avoid detection by the 'minions of authority': university proctors, Bulldogs and, of course, the local 'Roberts'... The result is a fascinating, humorous and, at times, adrenalin-inducing adventure providing a rare glimpse into a side of Cambridge that has always been enshrouded by darkness. The tradition, known now as urban climbing, buildering, structuring or stegophily and followed all over the world, started long before publication of the first edition and is sure to continue for generations after the arrival of this one.
This edition celebrates the 70th anniversary of the original and features the complete text and over seventy digitally re-mastered images, half of which have been reproduced from the original negatives.

Take care guys, and see you soon.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Onwards and Upwards...

'The more naughty members of the party
may feel the urge to cry "boo", but they
be restrained. Crying "boo" at people
is not
consistent with good climbing.'

...hopefully. One month exactly 'til the launch and it has been sent to the printers. It is finished. We now wait. Seventy years between these pictures; spot the recent one. (Two weeks of this? I could get annoying...)

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Made it Ma! Top of the World!

'Cambridge brings back a jumble of pipes and chimneys
and pinnacles, leading up from security to adventure. We
think of those nights spent with one or more friends, nights
when we merged with the shadows and could see the
world with eyes that were not our own.'

Well, tomorrow I send it to the printers. Early yet. We could check it even more but by now we're just seeing what we want to see. It is time.

Bookshops are calling up and reveiwers are ready. We've started selling the first copies through the site - which is great. Can't wait for you to see the pictures - they've come up superbly. Btw - the images here are the originals, untouched - we didn't want to spoil the surprise. I'd best go check the dots and crosses once more... I'll be in touch soon - hopefully to tell you it's on its way to you.

Friday, 14 September 2007

If you're not dancing on the ceiling...

"As you pass round each pillar, the whole of your body except your hands and feet are over black emptiness. Your feet are on slabs of stone sloping downwards and outwards at an angle of about thirty-five degrees to the horizontal, your fingers and elbows making the most of a friction-hold against a vertical pillar, and the ground is precisely one hundred feet directly below you.

If you slip, you will still have three seconds to live."

Tempting fate it may be but - we're on schedule. The dustcover has been finalised - we love the picture on the back but you'll just have to wait and see which one it is. Today's quote is a pretty major clue. The printer time has been booked. The paper's been chosen. The font has been selected (Baskerville). The text is being polished as we type and the pictures have been laboured over with love, sweat and some tears, and are finally resting in their allotted positions. They've been - how do they say it on the house make-over shows - 'sympathetically improved'? Whilst keeping their authenticity we've managed to improve clarity, impact and, especially, atmosphere. Can't wait for you to see them.

I've got more retailers on board and there'll definitely be a flurry from the media when it flies. I'm basically just forcing them to listen and then threatening to call them even more frequently unless they buy/promote this fantastic tome. I hope we sell enough to cover my bail...

Anyway, once the proofing's completed - not long now - it'll be with some trepidation that I send it off to the printer. If we've made a hash - sorry, if I've made a hash of it, I'll have to face a lot of people eagerly looking forward to this book gracing the light of day. Not the least of whom, of course, is Whipplesnaith's son. It's to be a nerve-wracking juncture. I will of course, like any self-respecting scapegoat, just go on holiday...

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Cover Uncovered

“...offers an illicit method of entry into his college. Furthermore, a genteel way which he can use without soiling his knees and elbows, should he be in evening dress.”

I am very proud to unveil the new cover. Using the same picture as on the original (in fact, using the same negative!) we've kept it simple and slightly 'modern-moody' to make a distinctive and visually arresting front for maximum shelf-appeal. Oh, and it's uber-cool too. The chap shown climbing St. John's College main gate is the original author, the pseudonymous Whipplesnaith, and I'm delighted to report that by artful happenstance his new public exposure has been designed by his great-nephew who, serendipitously, lives and works just around the corner.

The countdown ticks by, quietly gathering momentum; there's only a couple of months left and with a lot of internet interest, the first pre-orders already in, a couple of early take-ups by bookshops and at least one guaranteed broadsheet review, I'm feeling mildly optimistic that ol' Whipplesnaith may find his re-emergence into public life a well-received one. To help him scale the heights once again go here to get publication updates and visit here to be sure of being one of the first to receive a copy of the 70th Anniversary Edition (at a discount no less!)