------ Stephen Clarke
I grew up in Bournemouth (the Bondi Beach of England), where I played bass in some of the worst rock bands in musical history before leaving town to study French and German at Oxford.
After university, I got a series of high-powered jobs in the wine industry (grape picking), tertiary sector (washing up in a German hotel), and in international diplomacy (teaching English to bored French businessmen).
Meanwhile I started writing novels, all of which remained unpublished due to a vast – and never before revealed – conspiracy in the global publishing industry.
I then moved to Glasgow, where I was hired to put rude words into French dictionaries - check out my work on "motherf*cker" in the Collins Robert dictionary. As soon as I heard about the possibility of a French 35-hour week, I moved to Paris and got a job as a journalist on an English-language magazine.
I kept writing fiction, and, despite fierce opposition from my bank manager, finally decided to self-publish Beam Me Up, Who Killed Beano? and A Year in the Merde via my own (fictional) company, redgaragebooks.com.
I began trying to sell A Year ... first, as I was living in Paris, and after three months of humping copies around the streets in a shopping trolley, I sold the book. Not only to bookshops, but also to a major publisher who promised me that they had their own delivery service so I would not have to do any more heavy lifting. Well, in fact it was my newly-found agent, Susanna Lea, who landed the major publisher. And since she was looking to the future while I was still focussing on my lower back, she also secured a deal to write more Paul West adventures.
I have since written the sequel, Merde Actually, the sequel to the sequel, Merde Happens, the sequel to the etc etc, a spoof thriller called Dial M for Merde, as well as Talk to the Snail, my little book that tries to describe French society according to ten “commandments” like “thou shalt not love thy neighbour”, “thou shalt be wrong” and “thou shalt not get served” . My latest offering, a non-fiction tome called 1000 Years of Annoying the French, will be out in March 2010. Oh, and I still play bass if there are any really bad rock bands out there.
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Languedoc & Provence Sun N°52 (July-August-September 2014)
You may have noticed that this issue covers the months of July, August and September. After much debate, discussions and sleepless nights, we have decided that the best way forward for Languedoc & Provence SUN would be to become a quarterly publication. In practice, this means that the magazine will now be published four times a year instead of six, each issue covering 3 months.
The main objective of the magazine has always been to provide quality articles and content about our region and its many attributes. Going quarterly will give us more time to research potential articles, interview interesting people, meet new contributors and gather topical and useful information for you our readers.
This new version will have more pages than the previous one, allowing us to increase the content of each issue, giving you more reading material in one piece.
You may have become familiar with our regular contributors, who do a fantastic job. I take this opportunity to thank them warmly for their valuable input and great imagination, whatever the topic. If you have a little bit of spare time occasionally and share our love of writing, I’m always on the lookout for good quality articles about our area: it could just be your own story, or the portrait of someone you know, a beautiful place, an interesting festival. Whatever the idea, let
me know about it, our next contributor could be you!
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can always email me. In the meantime, I hope you keep on reading the magazine; the kind comments we receive always make all the hard work worthwhile. Have a nice holiday!
Carole Rommene, Editor