Shaking the sheets and drinking with Jeeves

In case you missed it, the great Ted Leo opened a Kickstarter today to complete and produce his new album. And, 12 hours later, it was fully funded. I've always thought that he had unusually avid fans who were eager to support him and I couldn't be happier to be proven right. Leo's not just a great musicians; he's a great guy in the old school punk tradition.

In the post major label world, artists my not have the same breadth of support, but I suspect there's more depth than there was before. In the past, the only way to "make it" in the industry to was to have a gazillion fans and sell a ton of records. Now, it seems that getting as many fans is tougher, but an artist can connect with their with their dedicated fans on a deeper level than was possible before.

Anyway, while the Kickstarter is fully funded, the incentives make it worth your while to continue to support, and there are going to be more goodies as more money comes in. I for one am going to be getting not one but two signed post cards to me and to one of my aliases. In case you hadn't guessed, I'm a fan.

After mentioning I'd been reading Wodehouse, my friend Jim recommend I read Jonathan Ames' Wake Up, Sir!  So, that's what I did. Ames is the creator of the TV show Bored To Death, which was weird and funny and ended way before its time, and his brings a very similar sense of humor to Wake Up, Sir! There's obviously a good deal of Wodehouse pastiche going on and its executed well, but that'll only carry a novel for so long. Fortunately, the protagonist is a nightmare. He's not Bertie Wooster, he's two generations removed and he's exactly the sort of person that makes you think that old people who shake their fists and complain about "kids today" might be on to something. 

Comedy novels seldom work make me laugh (Terry Pratchett being the obvious exception), and while I didn't laugh much, I smiled a lot. This is a funny novel and I'm a little embarrassed that I'd never even heard of it. There are even frequent references to to Raymond Chandler for goodness' sake! I blame it on Wake Up, Sir! being published during my "not reading" years. 

Next up is Tom McHale's Principato, which was suggested to me by my brother in law. I'd never heard of McHale, but I'm hardly alone in this. I couldn't find a copy at any of the book stores, used or new, in town. In fact, even Amazon didn't stock it so I wound up ordering a copy from a shop in England.  McHale's Wikipedia page is a pretty grim read. He was a critically successful novelist in his 20's, got a gig as writer-in-residence, wrote several more well-received novels, took a gig teaching at a university, then ended his own life right before he started.  He was compared to Heller, Vonnegut, Updike, and Roth, and now he's all but forgotten.

That's a cautionary tale or three here, isn't it?