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This is my first e-book and I plan many, many more. Short stories and two novels are already underway or in the pipeline. Watch this space for my first novel, TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Lackey, which I hope will be out in the summer. My only other contribution SO FAR to the indie e-book world is here on Smashwords, as co-editor of the LSD fanzine. This fantabulous bi-monthly is not to be missed! It is a joint project with the brilliant and superbly witty Australian writer Mikey Lee Ray, whose has penned two epic novels, Confessions of a Gaming Attendant and Pandora’s Market. The former, along with several other titles, is available here on Smashwords.
I am also a musician and the front man for the longstanding English rock n roll indie group Ricky Spontane. The group have released three studio albums; Spontane Time, Hit the Town and Spontane 3, and there has also been a solo album, Richard I. Look out for our stuff on Youtube and Soundcloud.
on May 25, 2015 :
Batchelor's novella length debut is a hugely entertaining and enlightening read. Strutting his stuff largely in Liverpool, England, but also in less salubrious surroundings such as Runcorn and Warrington, the protagonist lurches from one dubious temp job to another, each one neatly described from the outsider's perspective. You do have the impression that the author would be an outsider in most jobs going, whatever colour the collar. Also that he's perhaps not quite wordly-wise enough (as well as being quite a large bumbler) and can only cope with these harsh doses of real life with his episodes of escapism and are what save him and make the book. It's less the jobs themselves than the asides and diversions that really entertain as the author's surroundings send him to other places, such as Greek legends, how to deal with awful music in the workplace and the dilemma of how to feel about someone who is clearly a bigot but is nice to you. I didn't find there was a job that was over or under dealt with. At least I can't think of one.
The structure is interesting in that it isn't chronological and is peppered with interludes such as a dream sequence involving two psychopathic co-workers, a night meeting which somehow comes together despite some double buffoonery of the highest order, and a poem in which the author is blissfully lost in reverie, the highest state of mind possible in a dull job, according to him. Batchelor has clearly put the order of the chapters together with the kind of care needed to make the difference between a good and a very good album; it's a similar process.
I have a distinct feeling that most of what takes place is true testimony - I would guess about 75/80%. It's quite fun guessing what is and isn't fiction or half-truth.
There are plenty of rich characters with delicious monikers; the lovable Pink and Silver Vampire, the basically decent but irascible jobsworth Baldwoof and the misleadingly named, sympathetic de Burghalan spring to mind. Highlights are plentiful, but if I must name three they would be a football match (involving the writer's beloved Aston Villa) concocted from ladies' tights order forms, the disturbing shenanigans of the aforementioned pair of psychotics, in which they transform the author's working day from one of peace, friendship and tranquility (albeit the job being as dull as ditchwater) into one of fear, and last but not least his brief sojourn in a meat factory, the horrors of which would make anyone with an iota of sensitivity consider a vegetarian lifestyle.
This book's a snip at three dollars. If you have a sense of humour that encompasses the absurd and a view from the wrong side of the road, you'd be foolish not to buy it.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 21, 2015 :
Poignant, funny, bizarre.
Loved it. When's the next one due?
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 10, 2013 :
I would never have thought a diatribe on the perils of temping could be such an entertaining trip. The horrors, absurdity, fears and occasional pleasures coalesce in this right riveting read which had me laughing out loud and aghast in equal measure. The author skilfully treats us to a deluge of scenarios that you wouldn't wish on anybody, and conjures the spirit of Morrissey, Monty Python and Buster Keaton as the protagonist stumbles and bumbles from one crap job to the next, occasionally finding salvation in a well earned coffee break. Very funny and highly recommended.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 01, 2013 :
The written word can take you to the edge of the Universe, and throughout history as far as the imagination takes the author. This author takes you as far as the warehouses and factories of the North West and Midlands through the eyes of a very urban spaceman.
From a seemingly privileged position of a bohemian musician with exotic French live-in girlfriend and indestructible Nissan Micra, lack of financial success and the British welfare system throw this artistic gent into the harsh reality of the humble temp worker...that essential cog in the economic system that appears to have progressed little since Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times.
As the story progresses it meanders in a Fellini-esque manner with short anecdotal stories ,and occasional philosophical observations, from a man seeking to swim against the tide in the midst of a sea of boredom and repetition, meeting a mixture of sociopaths and psychopaths, while making brief friendships with wise and gentle colleagues who would not appear out of place in an epic story by Homer.
As a resident of the UK, I found the story a pleasant and enjoyable read. Certain chapters were sharp,well written and full of humour as horror,the Murder in Sefton Park being a prime example, and signs of promise for future fictional works. Some areas did lack adequate exposition by the author. One example being the story of the two 'bumblers' in Gravelly Hill. Are they selfish sociopaths or Laurel and Hardy? Difficult to tell. The author writes about them with affection but the cavalier way one of them smashes their parent's car window would indicate a darker more selfish attitude in the character at odds with his sympathetic portrayal in the story. Perhaps I missed something?
This unfortunately cost the story its fifth star for this review. But despite these few flaws the story was an enjoyable read and thoroughly recommended. I look forward to future works with anticipation.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
Mikey Lee Ray
on March 03, 2013 :
For those of you who wish to bitch
About your nine to five job please spare a thought for Rich.
His humorous, painful tale's one of comedy and woe.
Drawing from Greek legends which some of you may know.
With biting satire, sarcasm and wit
One can only assume The Temp Pest will be a hit. (I do my bit). - Mikey
P.S. the football match had me in hysterics.
(reviewed the day of purchase)