Tested to Destruction by Cally Phillips

Me at the SR Crockett memorial on  100th anniversary.
It probably won’t have escaped the notice of everyone that I’ve been a bit obsessed with S.R.Crockett over the last six months (that’s all you know, it’s been a good 2 years and on and off for 20) but all things come to fruition and thus it was that for a week in April the newly founded Galloway Raiders took a trip to Galloway to do what Raiders do best.

note the dogs, marketing their hearts out in Galloway
Raiders caps! 
It was a pretty full on week, with media coverage and wall to wall events which was even harder to achieve than the ‘virtual’ ebook events I have been annually undertaking in virtual Edinburgh over the last couple of summers. Because while I can do the latter from home, I had to get out of the office to promote Crockett and we covered about 1500 miles during the trip. 

The Galloway Raiders tour bus. 

As these things always do, it had its ups and downs and probably ‘you had to be there’ to find any of it interesting.

But one of the things that came out of the week was a first hand opportunity to test the relative merits of ebooks over the paper versions. That's why you've got a picture of my car... I am 'seeding' here, in good writerly suspense mode.

The Wigtown Book Launch event
Now, The Galloway Collection is 32 books. This weighs in at something like 15kg and is not the easiest thing to cart around (though I’m happy to say that we took 2 full sets down and sold them both before the actual ‘launch’ event –  I did remember to keep hold of my ‘display’ set until after the event and deliver it at a discounted price having been ‘thumbed’ by attendees at the Wigtown Launch)  The books were filmed in a series of locations including Crockett’s birthplace, Little Duchrae (known locally as ‘wee Duchrae’ – sounded as Doocrae if you aren’t local and duh cree  if you are local and have the 'ch' sound in your armoury).

But I was trying to promote the idea that people could get out into the landscape that Crockett so lovingly wrote about and so I took my trusty old Kobo (and a pair of cargo trousers with a pocket large enough to accommodate it) for the outdoor events.

Filming at 'wee Duchrae' Crockett's birthplace
The best laid plans! We filmed on the Monday for broadcast on the Wednesday (the actual anniversary day) and while I was busy being helpful carrying some sound equipment back to the reporter’s car (because reporters these days have to be their own sound man, camera man and director) I inadvertently put down the ebook and 1 copy of paperback which I’d been using for filming purposes.  But where? Where did I put them?  It was in the car park at Clatteringshaws, a place less likely for sneak thieves could not be imagined but we searched high and low. My stupidity. But we had more filming to do and had to move on, so I took it calmly on the chin – after all I had an ipad ‘back up’ (infinitely inferior as it’s useless outdoors and doesn’t fit in any pocket).

Note the 'authentic' mud bottom right.
We pulled up 10 miles further on for the next ‘location.’  As I came round the back of the car I noticed the paperback sitting on the roof. Ah. Lightbulb moment.  But the Kobo – oh, come on, you don’t think it was still there do you?  I had to keep filming so George was despatched to retrace our route to Clatteringshaws to find where it had fallen off. We reckoned it would be the first acceleration.

He returned some 20 minutes later WITH Kobo.  Here it is from all angles.  George is pretty sure he passed the truck that ran it over.  Remarkable little visible damage but no, of course it doesn’t work any more. 

This is what the inside of a dead Kobo looks like - where are
the bookshelves? 
And thus we tested the relative merits of paper over digital technology!  How long before I replace it I’m not sure.  I’m currently rather more in love with paper books than ebooks.  For me, ereaders are a tool, a technology, a gateway that allows me to read things I might otherwise not be able to read, and save on space and money which you need for paper books. I’m about to re-embark on reading after nearly 6 months of almost exclusively proof reading and I have plenty of paper books and books from the library which I can sit outside in the sun and read.  The ipad is reserved for dull days inside where its 10inch screen is better for my eyes than a 6 inch ereader. 

Always time for writers to picnic - Mary Smith, me and
Catherine Czerkawska at the Black Water of Dee.

But there’s still so much ‘catch up’ to do post the Galloway Raiders events that I’m still having to ration reading.  And don’t even talk to me about writing… I’ve got to sort the vegetable garden out first. Food for the belly is coming very far ahead of food for the soul at the moment.  And then of course there's all the pictures to sort out... and I have to go explain myself to the accountant in May. Should I take a slideshow instead of a spreadsheet? 

Find out more about The Galloway Raiders and S.R.Crockett by joining. It's free and you get discounts on the ebooks.  www.gallowayraiders.co.uk 


Chris Longmuir said…
Great post Cally. Glad it went well except for the demise of the Kobo. If it had been a Kindle, Amazon would have replaced it irrespective of how the damage was done. I don't suppose Kobo do that, do they? You could give it a try quoting Amazon's replacement policy.
Great post and I love the picture of the three of us trying hard not to look cold. (Fortunately the sun did shine for much of the week!)I also love the way your dogs are so very disdainful of small yappy dogs that attempt to assault them. They look down their long noses and move out of the way as much as to say 'such dreadful behaviour!'
Jan Needle said…
wonderful stuff, cally. but are you sure george didn't drive over it out of solidarity with real books?!
CallyPhillips said…
Chris - I wouldn't dare ask Kobo to replace something nearly 3 years old which due to my neglect had been trashed. Jan - no, once again, cannot blame anyone but self for this and that's pretty rare. Have to confess only my own stupidity (or maybe it is me who is actually trying to express latent solidarity of the world of real books.) Catherine - yes, how come it was so warm for most of the week but not when the pictures were taken? And I will pass your comments onto the dogs. Thanks.
julia jones said…
Congratulations Cally - when you first began to mention this project it seemed huge and almost unattainable but you've done it. I'm at least as impressed by the getting out and about the battle bus as I am by the hours and hours of editing. Two quite different talents and you have them both. Crockett is a lucky man!
glitter noir said…
Nicely done, Cally!
Kathleen Jones said…
Actually met someone who knew about SR Crockett at a Norman Nicholson event (some neglected authors solidarity here!). Apparently there's a lecturer up at Glasgow who makes Crockett his speciality. Stupidly, in the hectic melee I forgot to write down his name (sure I'd remember it) and I can't! But there are obviously lots of Crockett fans out there - he'd even seen you on TV!
Sorry about the Kobo. Neil is always hoping that something terrible will happen tohis so that he has an excuse to buy a Kindle Fire!
CallyPhillips said…
Kathleen - 'if only'. Was the name Andrew Nash? If so he's at Reading now and while he's one who actually does give Crockett some credence, certainly it's not his 'speciality.' But he works 'in that area.' Most academics simply dismiss Crockett because he doesn't fit into the created 'Scottish Renaissance' paradigm!
Julia - I just gotta do what I gotta do. Far prefer being at home reading!!
Lydia Bennet said…
you certainly show total commitment to your passions and enthusiasms, Cally - glad this project is doing so well and getting some well-deserved recognition.
madwippitt said…
That's a fine looking marketing team! Hope you have the antler hats lined up for the pre-Xmas sales ... :-)

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