The idea behind this round-up of the best of our own writing from 2017 is, as much as anything, to remind ourselves of what we’ve pulled off.
We forgot we’d written some of this stuff at all, while other bits we had in mind were were from last year, or maybe the year before.
It’s been a hectic time what with moving from Penzance to Bristol and the publication of a second book but, despite all that, we kept up a fairly steady flow of posts — about 240 in all. Of course that includes plenty of throwaways, weekly links round-ups, and our Month That Was summaries. Still, we reckon it amount to about 160,000 words of original writing — enough for another two books.
This is probably a good point to say that if you appreciate our output and want to encourage us to keep doing it, ad-free, and mostly outside any kind of paywall, please do consider subscribing to our Patreon. It’s dead easy, and for as little as $2 per month you can help pay for all this, and also get some bonus stuff there. (We’ve unlocked a few posts over the course of the year so you can see for yourself.) That people have signed up has been a major source of encouragement but, you know, there’s always room for a bit more.
Now, down to business. We’ve decided to limit ourselves to ten that we especially like but have also included by way of a footnote a second list of the stuff that actually got all the traffic, which is not always the stuff that’s most fun or interesting to write. First up, its…
Right, let’s not beat about the bush: you’ve got assorted awkward family members to buy gifts for and we’ve got (a) a loaded pen; (b) a stack of books. Let’s do business.
If you want a signed copy of our latest, 20th Century Pub, or of Brew Britannia, email us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org telling us:
who you want it dedicated to;
any special message you’d like (otherwise, we’ll exercise our wits); and
where you’d like it posted.
In return, we’ll let you know where to transfer money. The prices have settled, after a bit of trial and error as follows:
20th Century Pub — £15 including UK postage and packing.
Brew Britannia (2017 corrected edition, smaller format, no appendices) — £10 inc. UK P&P.
Set of three badges — £3 inc. UK P&P, or £2 when purchased with either book.
We only have a limited supply of each and parcels need to be in the post before 20 December if they’re to arrive in time for Christmas Day, so don’t put it off. (Which is to say, we’d like to get all this out of the way before the Post Office turns into something off Dawn of the Dead.)
Right, so it’s finally real — we have hard copies of the new book, as handed over in a Bristol pub last night in a vaguely cloak-and-dagger exchange.
The idea behind the book is that it tells the story of how pubs changed and developed between 1900 and the present via inter-war improved pubs, post-war estate pubs, theme pubs, Irish pubs, gastropubs, micropubs, and so on. The tone is similar to Brew Britannia with perhaps a little more flair in the prose — we’ve had three years extra practice, after all.
You can pre-order from Amazon UK now as well as various other places (list below). The official publication date is 15 September but it’s likely to go out earlier than that.
And (fingers crossed) it should also be available at the Great British Beer Festival bookshop next week. Assuming all goes to plan, we’ll be there signing copies on Tuesday afternoon (trade day) at around 1:30, and will be hanging about until about 7pm in case anyone misses that organised signing session. Come and say hello!
It’s a very pretty book, if we do say so ourselves — bright, tactile, with lots of crisp black-and-white photos, both from the archives and taken by us on our travels during 2015-2017. We’re delighted to say that some of the illustrations we most wanted to include made the cut after much detective work and bargaining by Joanna Copestick at Homewood Press.
We’ve just launched a Patreon page so that you can support this blog in its second decade, if you want to.
Patreon is a service that makes it easy for those who enjoy art and media to encourage and financially contribute to those who make it.
The idea is that you make a recurring monthly payment of any amount you fancy. There are increasing rewards for different levels of support, e.g. a special ebook for those who sign up for $5 or more a month. There are also goals we commit to with each fund milestone.
You can read more about all that on the Patreon page itself along with responses to some frequently asked questions and feedback we’ve already received.
The main point is that it’s not compulsory and that the blog will continue as it is either way, except hopefully better. You can also cancel your support at any time — it’s not a huge commitment.
Thanks to those who have pledged already after hearing about this in our email newsletter — we really appreciate it.
* * *
If you don’t fancy Patreon you can also contribute by buying our books: Brew Britannia is just going into a second edition (slightly smaller and cheaper, with corrections) and our new book, about pubs, should be available to pre-order soon.
If you buy our short ebook, Gambrinus Waltz, from Amazon we earn 70% of the £2.00 cover price and you get to read a book Martyn Cornell has called ‘excellent’. You don’t need a Kindle either — Amazon offers free apps for phones, tablets and desktop PCs. This is as close as you can get to buying us a half down the pub unless, er, you bump into us in a pub.
* * *
And if even that’s a bit rich for your pocket there’s always the smallest unit of payment: shares and endorsements on social media. It’s costs nothing but is a big boost for our morale and helps us find new readers. We’re not asking you to spam anyone — just tell people about us if you think they’ll find the blog genuinely interesting. We’re easy to find as ‘boakandbailey’ on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram if you want to point people our way.
* * *
If you’re a regular follower we hope you’ll trust us not to bloody go on about this — we’ll mention it every now and then in passing probably but otherwise this is it.
Specialists Beer Inn Print is offering it along with a huge selection of other beer- and pub-related books — well worth a browse.
If you want a signed copy then we have a few at hand which we’re selling at £12.99 including postage within the mainland UK — drop us an email via email@example.com to discuss dedications and details.
We know that there are also a few copies out and about in small independent book and beer shops — check your local before you order online.
Remember to tell the lucky recipient about the errata (or, as we call it, the List of Burning Shame) and the (also award-winning) follow-up supplement ‘The Good, the Bad and the Murky’.