I must apologise for not updating this blog for the past few weeks but as some readers may be aware, my pie eating mission was drawn to the attention of the national press during British Pie Week.
What should have been a nice relaxing birthday for me last weekend saw me shuffling in and out of the Post Office at Wigan Asda carrying boxes of books to be shipped out to all points north, south, east and west.
The feedback I received has been tremendous and just goes to show that we are a nation of pie lovers. Not sure about some of those comments below the Daily Mail article mind you but there’s nobody so angry as the sort of person who leaves comments below newspaper articles.
Angry, angry people who like to leave messages in capitals which simply say “HOW IS THIS NEWS!?!?!??” even though they a) have not actually paid to read it and b) chosen to waste their own free time to click on a link which presumably interested themselves enough to do so.
I digress. I was initially highly reticent to put my mugshot in front of the nation and have resisted several attempts to do so when the book came out last year. Ultimately though, I still have books to sell to recover my costs so it felt that British Pie Week was the time to bite the bullet.
So it was that at 7am on a frosty Wednesday morning, I rolled up at the Crusty Cob in Ancoats, Manchester (who make fantastic pies) to meet a photographer to take some pictures and tell me story.
I think it’s safe to say I’ve never spent so long smiling with a pie in my hand without actually eating one before.
The bakery had been open since 4am so the staff were brilliant with me, so welcoming and friendly to let me into their kitchen to see where the magic happens, whilst we’re making numerous pie pyramids to augment the photo shoot.
It really wasn’t something that I was enjoying doing, just a simple bout of nerves really. Whoever it was that calculated that a frown exercises more muscles than a smile obviously hasn’t perfected the art of being a miserable get for forty years.
I can write easily, it is a passion that I have had for nearly thirty years, mainly writing about football but once that written word turns into an audible form, let alone visual I get a little bit less confident and more nervous.
Thankfully Tom the photographer was very reassuring and actually appears to have done a brilliant job of making me look something slightly close to photogenic as opposed to my usual gurning, cross eyed form. (NB As mentioned above, there’s a comment box at the end for your heartless insults!)
My story first broke on the Daily Mail with full photos and (eek!) video footage and also appeared in the Mirror, Sun and Star the next day and pretty soon I started to get a trickle of emails on my phone telling me orders have been placed. From a box a week to a box of day and the realisation that I’d best be up early on Saturday morning to fulfil all the orders and work my charm on the Post Office counter when they see me coming and mutter under their breath, “Oh bloody hell, he’s brought another box!”
Needless to say, I was the target of merciless stick from many of my mates, particularly given the choice of newspaper (I’m still waiting for the Guardian to return my calls) and my work colleagues also took it very well, buying my a mug with my face on it and bringing me in some pies.
And there was of course some debate and outright denial of my credentials and choices as to what makes the perfect pie. It’s worth pointing out that with this being for the press and a restricted wordcount and a need to put a slightly different story in each one, that anything reproduced was only ever going to be an extract and adaptation of the book’s content and only by buying the book in full can you appreciate the whole story behind it.
However, sales in Barrow have gone through the roof, Radio Sheffield had me on their breakfast show to talk about “Percy’s growlers” and I was also on Radio Manchester last Friday discussing with comedian Justin Moorhouse where the hole in the top of the pie comes from. (They just stick their fingers in it don’t they?)
A few publishers and agents have been in touch wanting to develop the book further, which may or may not come to nothing. However I still have stock left in my shed so if anyone wants to buy a first edition copy, then please click here to buy www.lifeofpies.co.uk/buy and I will be eternally grateful.
Over the next few weeks, I will be continuing to promote the book and update the site to try and shift the remaining copies, after which it will go on Amazon Createspace (with black and white photos not colour I’m afraid!)
I’m also updating my “100 days of pie” feature and will be starting from tomorrow from one again, posting out links. The difference this time is that I WILL get to a hundred. Uh oh, where have we heard that before?
Thanking you as ever for your support