Archive for April, 2012

23
Apr
12

I Know You Are, But What Am I? By The Littlest Bitch


The Littlest Bitch, The First Not For Children Children’s Book™ Copyright David Quinn, Michael Davis and Devon Devereaux – from Sellers Publishing

Shoot to the bottom of this post to learn how you can meet The Littlest Bitch in person. Till then, this week features an excerpt from:

I Know You Are, But What Am I? The Littlest Bitch’s Five Excellent Tips for Excellent Leadership

People ask me how I, Isabel, demonstrate excellent leadership totally excellently.

Well, at least Mummy asks. She doesn’t shut up about it. I tell her George Clooney’s on the porch, then when she runs out there, I deadbolt the door. Peace and quiet at last.

Anyway, here are my five top tips, for those of you who aspire to the Executive Suite:

1. Walk the Walk.

Inspire your workforce by what you do, not simply what you say.

Lip service to employee development and hollow promises like “pay for performance” just don’t cut it anymore. No, no, no, no – instead, institute a “confidential” employee survey – require a social security or other unique identifier on each poll to heighten that flair of “big sister” paranoia.

You’ll truly make the little people feel little.

And, you can make all sorts of amusing changes to compensation and benefits afterwards, claiming your new scorched earth policies are “in response to employee survey results.”

You’re welcome!

2. Never Stop Learning.

You’re the boss. But your real job is to never stop learning.

I learned something today. Did you know you can serve on as many directorial boards as you want to? And do next to nothing? And be compensated for each position?

Yes, “You can take home stupid money,” as my Uncle Richard used to say as he bounced me on his lap.

Accountability. It’s for everyone. Except the board.

You’re welcome!

3. Today is Your Last Day in This Role – and You Can Have That Heart Attack Outside, Pal.

Some managers like saying, “Win-win.”

Other leaders like saying, “Team player.”

Some bosses go for, “Leverage our synergies.”

What really warms my heart and spreads my pate are those 17 little words, “Today is your last day in this role – and you can have that heart attack outside, pal!”

You’re welcome! 

4. When the Employee May Have a Weapon, Sit Near the Door and Let Your Human Resources Pawn Do All the Talking.

Quite ‘nuff said, True Believers.

You’re welcome!

5. I Don’t Care What I Asked For, I Want What I Want! 

No, no, no, no! COME ON, people, FOCUS!

Mummy! The lock is stuck! Wait, what’s that – is George taking off his shirt?

You’re welcome! 

Who is The Littlest Bitch? Little Isabel is a deliciously funny cross between the mischievous Eloise and The Bad Seed – and she’s tapped into her inner CEO to become the 5-year-old tyrant readers will love to hate. Like all good children’s stories for adults, this one has a moral – if you dream of swimming with the sharks, you just might get eaten alive! Become a fan at The Littlest B on Facebook.

New Yorkers: Meet The Littlest Bitch in person – with her lowly assistant David Quinn at MoCCA Fest, Exhibitor A11, April 28-29

MoCCA Fest Poster art by P. Craig Russell

16
Apr
12

99 Songs I Wanna Hear At My Wake: Instant Karma!

These are the songs you hear as your life flashes before your eyes the instant you die. The carpe diem dance – live with all your head, hand and heart, ONE MORE TIME. 

“Instant Karma’s gonna get you

Gonna knock you right on the head

You better get yourself together

Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead”

Rogue Beatle John Lennon’s “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” challenged, but ultimately was bested by his parent corporation’sLet it Be on pop charts in the grey early days of 1970 – just as the group made public their official divorce.

Listen here

Both seminal Abbey Road recordings. Both built to be played loud. (Lennon even had “PLAY LOUD” inscribed on the first pressing of his rebellious “out of school” single. Do that on your MP3.)

And both songs can save your soul. But they couldn’t be more different.

I imagine the Paul McCartney-driven anthem of anthems (#1 on those charts) took longer to develop, produce and commercialize as some operas. Not that it ever lost its spontaneous, celebratory feel…  don’t get me wrong. It’s a clean production, lushly overdubbed, serenity achieved, if your serenity screams in electric guitar epiphanies and Paul’s Little Richard whoops.

The stripped-down Plastic Ono Band stomper we’re replaying today (#3), on the other hand, was quick and dirty – immediate. Written and recorded in a day. Released still wet less than 2 weeks later.

Lennon quipped it was written for breakfast, recorded for lunch and put out for dinner.

Let it Be is the song you sing along with in Electric Church, but Instant Karma! is pirate radio, under the radar, over the emergency broadcast network… and a wake up call for the soul.

“What in the world you thinking of

Laughing in the face of love

What on earth you tryin’ to do

It’s up to you, yeah you”

Producer Phil Spector erected his fabulous Wall Of Sound around Klaus Voorman’s chthonic bass. Three descending chords, booming with maximum sustain and volume, like something out of the 1950s, where the Beatle sound was born copying American R&B in a basement in Germany – but now. Hear echoes of Elvis and his generation of crooners, especially in Lennon’s voice, but don’t be fooled – the black and white world of “Love Me Tender” has crashed and burned, gone forever.

“Well we all shine on

Like the moon and the stars and the sun” 

Pounding drums and piano chords chime in to pummel “Seize the day” into every verse. Motown hand claps shuffle swing slightly behind the beat. And ultimately, the military tattoo chorus propels us to… a new place, in spite of the nostalgia.

“Instant Karma’s gonna get you

Gonna look you right in the face

You better get yourself together darling

Join the human race”

The recording is stripped down, deliciously full of negative space, no musical wanking; the closest thing to a solo is a careening, near wipe out of a drum fill. It’s urgent.

I use this song as a wake up call for body and soul, “This is your life – don’t waste it!” Lennon would summon up many other primal scream songs in the coming years, trying to wake up the world – and himself. I love them, though I know people who find them self-indulgent.

No time for self-indulgence here. Just three minutes and twenty-one seconds of instant coffee to blow away the cobwebs.

Committing this song to vinyl DIY style was Lennon’s attempt to escape Beatles celebrity and get on with his life. Defiant in creating a new place for himself, he was also willing to give himself over to fate, embracing, with some effort, responsibility for his actions. Like Gandhi, the singer got it – we have to be the change we want to see in our world.

“How in the world you gonna see

Laughing at fools like me

Who on earth d’you think you are?

A superstar? Well right you are”

Of course, with hindsight, we know it took John Lennon a long time to get over himself and grow up. He would eventually make his marriage work. His second marriage. He would eventually be a devoted father. The second time around. And life was taken from him too soon.

But nothing diminishes his transformational songs. And in the best of them, like Instant Karma!, he’s willing to stand naked. I try to have that same courage, the first to acknowledge “fools like me” may not get it right, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. John might say, “You don’t want a guru, it’s up to you, yeah you.”

“Why in the world are we here?

Surely not to live in pain and fear

-Instant Karma! (We All Shine On) – John Lennon

99 SONGS I WANNA HEAR AT MY WAKE will continue. You’re all invited. Shine on.

11
Apr
12

Made this week’s deadlines (all but a few contract reviews and administrative bits, sorry) minutes before my parents arrived for a long weekend – just time left to let you know that I am signing at Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre next week.

Come say hey if you are at the show. MeetThe Littlest Bitch, the first Not For Children Children’s Book created with Michael Davis and Devon Devereaux. Learn a little about a special Faust publishing event kicking off this year with another long-time collaborator, Tim Vigil. (yes, this ones been percolating for 16 years…) And bring me all your Quinn comics and stories to sign – no limit!

Haven’t signed in Canada in years, so I was eager to set aside the time to travel when Stephen Shamus asked me to come. (Thanks!)

Toronto fans are real readers, responsive and always interesting to talk to. And on the personal side, I’ll sign near my good friend, horror novelist, journalist and my editor onQueer Fear, Queer Fear 2 and Brothers of the NightMichael Rowe.

Wizard’s comic shows have re-energized themselves by looking beyond television guests and generic big two corporate comics. (I know, that was a bit of a surprise to me, too, but a pleasant one.) If you haven’t been to one in a while, check it out! You’ll remember when comic shows were about books and the people who build them. Seeya there!

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