Saturday 8 August

Having produced a Batson’s Guide to Manchester some (ahem) months back – to a high personal standard yet in the company of friends who exceeded expectations (Tattetta’s beautiful pen-and-inks of contemporary tankard, footerball and monographed water closet; Jill and Conrad’s expert use of ‘daguerreotype shoppe’ to aid presentation), it is of great relief to be preparing it for the world today, albeit in leafy Didsbury – a barely lukewarm hotbed of radical pamphleteering. If the language within the Guide is occasionally fruity it is as nothing compared to the five-a-day that tumble from Licky’s raspberry-prone lips as we sit at opposite ends of her dining table – she folding the things together, me thinking of a line or two to make each one unique. The cause of her unrest? 100% jealousy (with added juicy bits). As the creative within the couple, it is up (or down) to me to sit at the typewriter, smoking, thinking, as I ape the portraitbook status bar in creating a label for every last guide, i.e. ‘Batson is…a troubled genius.’ Some of Licky’s suggestions, tossed like whizz-bombs in my direction, suggest that she may have a future in print – albeit in a future world of filth and insult in which I will play no part (‘Baston is….a twook’, ‘a wazpants’, ‘a misguided old fool’, ‘cruising for a bruising’, ‘single’, ‘probably the worst writer in the world’, ‘sic’, ‘hairy chicken thighs cod breath’, ‘baboon off-day face’, ‘conclusively unpublished’ etc). Roll on the Hatbox launch on Wednesday, at which Spike, Dylan and I will have VINDICATION written all over our faces (unless we can think of a better idea).

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