How to be Dead [Funny]

HowToBeDeadI finally got around to reading How to be Dead, a novella by Dave Turner. Frankly, I don’t know why I waited so long, and now I want to read it again. But before I do, I would like to tell you a little about it. I don’t often write reviews and I’m not sure that is really what this is, I just felt the need to share this experience with you. And when I say ‘experience’, I don’t mean the act of reading the book. For me, the road to this novella has been long, but by no means arduous, quite the opposite in fact.

I first stumbled upon the humorous writing of Dave Turner on Twitter a few years ago, back when he used the name @ArmyOfDave. He also wrote a blog under the same, Army of Dave, title… Hang on, now I recall that maybe I discovered the blog first, then followed him on Twitter. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Dave’s tweets and blog posts were an endless source of amusement and one of the reasons I found Twitter so compelling during my early (late to the party) usage. It was when Dave created a secondary Twitter account that things got even more interesting. His new account carried the username, @Its_Death. Through this account, Dave tweeted jokes and observations of the human race from the point of view of the Grim Reaper. Some of those tweets have been written in to the book, reworked to give insight into Death’s unexpected personality and mood.

After a while, twitter’s 140 character limit just wasn’t enough to fulfil the potential of the comic persona that Dave Turner had created for a being usually feared rather than used as light hearted entertainment. At this point Dave took @Its_Death, with its 20,000+ followers, as his personal twitter account (changed to @MrDaveTurner) and began writing How to be Dead in its very own blog space.

The success of How to be Dead was clear to see, although I must admit I didn’t actually read it all at the time. I’m now pleased that I didn’t find enough time to keep up to date with it online, it made the book much more exciting to receive.

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When Dave Turner announced on Twitter that he was starting a Kickstarter campaign in order to self publish How to be Dead, I don’t think he realised just how popular it would be. Within a truly staggering 58 minutes, it had exceeded the £400 required, and possibly even more amazing was the final total… £4043!

Shortly after we (the Kickstarter backers) had received our copy(s) of How to be Dead, it was then released on Amazon’s ‘Kindle’. Many reviews began to appear on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.  I noticed people claiming Dave Turner’s writing style and humour was similar to that of Douglas Adams, the acclaimed author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Surely, I thought, these people are just being overly kind because they have been involved in financing the project.

So, I finally got around to reading it…

Once I had picked this book up (well, my Kindle) I honestly could not put it down. Luckily, How to be Dead is relatively short (as novellas are) so reading it in one sitting will not cause you to miss work. It might cause you to miss your train station/bus stop, so be careful. I almost never say this, but this book actually did make me laugh out loud in places, but perhaps more important, it kept a smile on my face from start to finish. I swear, my cheeks ached when I got to the end!

But really, does it feel like you are reading the work of Douglas Adams?.. Yes, yes it does. For me, Dave Turner’s style is also reminiscent of Rob Grant, not so much in the Red Dwarf novels, but if you enjoyed ‘Incompetence’ and ‘Colony’, you will love How to be Dead.

You can buy ‘How to be Dead’ for your Kindle HERE.

Visit Dave Turner’s ‘Aim for the Head’ site HERE.

Follow Dave Turner on Twitter and Facebook.

Worn by ‘Last Exit to Nowhere’ Heroes

A few months ago, I was followed on Twitter by a new t-shirt company. This is not surprising. Those of you who follow me, or actually know me in the real world, will be aware of my love of movie based t-shirts and the fact that I tweet a picture every time I buy a new one. It is due to such tweets that I (along with many others) was targeted as a potential customer when Worn By Heroes began their marketing campaign. Initially, I was very interested in the arrival of a new movie t-shirt designer, after all, you can’t have too much of a good thing. I reciprocated their Twitter follow, in order to keep up to date regarding the progress of Worn By Heroes and in anticipation of the fantastic designs they were promising.

As the weeks past, Worn By Heroes tweeted about their plans, answered questions and at one point, asked me to ‘Like’ their Facebook page. I politely stated that, until they produced a product, I could not choose whether I ‘liked’ it or not. They seemed to understand this. No problem. I may have missed a tweet or two, but I didn’t realise they intended to use Kickstarter to fund the launch of their company. I have nothing against Kickstarter, I have happily funded people’s projects via this method, I was just surprised, and also startled at the £15,000 target amount that Worn By Heroes were requesting. Another thing that shocked me was an article which included the following quotes from Worn By Heroes:

We love movies. We love TV shows. And we love showing off our intimate knowledge of a film or show with an awesome t-shirt which only our fellow hardcore fans will recognise. There’s nothing like that moment of recognition on a strangers face as they clock the reference on your t-shirt.

Sounds good so far. However, I don’t feel that putting down everyone else’s products is the best way to promote your business, but that’s what they do with the next quote:

We’ve got a huge collection of movie t-shirts from loads of different stores. Whilst the designs themselves can range from bad to awesome, we’ve found the actual product itself is always lacking in quality. The t-shirt is tough, scratchy and ill-fitting. The prints themselves are heavy slabs of plasticy inks that weight the shirt down and start to crack after a while.

I’m not sure how established t-shirt designers like Dark Bunny Tees and Last Exit to Nowhere will feel about that description.

Now, although unimpressed by their designs, I am not in a position to pass judgement on the quality of Worn By Heroes products, having not bought any. What I would like to do, is offer an element of balance. I buy a lot of movie t-shirts, never ones that simply have the film title across the front. Mostly, I buy shirts from Last Exit to Nowhere. Like Worn By Heroes, Last Exit designs are influenced by the products and companies that feature within the movie, so only fans of the film will make the connection. Unlike Worn By Heroes, Last Exit produce designs of beauty and style, they are immensely clever and the depth of detail is unrivalled. As for quality, I have never known better than Last Exit to Nowhere, some of my Last Exit shirts are several years old and still in great shape. To be honest, I don’t follow the usual guidelines for t-shirt care, I even tumble dry them (not recommended), but so far none have succumbed to a premature demise.

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A few favourites from my Last Exit to Nowhere collection.

At the time of writing this post, Worn By Heroes’ Kickstarter campaign is exactly half way through its funding period and has reached just over half of its target. Hmm, cutting it fine.

Although this post may come across as a bit of a dig at Worn By Heroes, I do wish them every success. I just think they should spend more time and effort promoting their own product and less time slating everyone else’s. I’ve never met an unhappy Last Exit to Nowhere or Dark Bunny Tees customer, they even have an impressive collection of celebrity fans, including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Chris Martin and Ed Byrne, among many others.

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FROM LEFT: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Matthias Kaufmann, Chris Martin (Coldplay) and Ed Byrne.

Happy shopping everyone!

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My most recent purchases.