The words and wisdom of Joe Craig, garnered from the comfort of his living room.
To date I have had three interviews with Joe Craig. Two of these have been face to face, and only this latest one was live streamed to you charming lot. I feel that this was the interview where Joe Craig really shined, despite not buying me an amazing sandwich before hand.
Returning to his (new) front room with a bag literally full of technology, I dutifully set up the computer, the microphones, dictaphones, twitter streams and everything else while Joe made a pot of tea. This is quintessential Joe. Very calm, very relaxed, and tea obsessed. The last statement may seem extreme, but I actually filmed him counting all the tea he owned last time I was round. It was impressive.
Once settled, tea and fancy biscuits in hand, and having complimented my pop-up studio arrangement, we began. I want to get this out here now: I love talking to Joe.
I really do enjoy the insanely long and unstructured conversations we have. In a really subtle way Joe engrosses you in his obviously vast intellect, effortlessly throwing off fast wit analogy, almost showing off with his wealth of quotes and well read references. I’m not slow, but at times I felt completely uneducated, yet still enjoy the intellectual stimuli provided.
Don’t get me wrong though, it isn’t all pipe smoking, port drinking and hypothesising about some far fetched social theory. There is also an incredibly surreal layer to these interviews, with tangents leading us down some pretty bizzare and conceptually challenging places. Steel workers shafting musicians with unfair contractual obligations is one particular conversation cul-de-sac that springs to mind, but there were plenty more.
Less odd conversations included the general process of getting a book published, for both the existing and new authors. The former generally has to sign an agreement to say their existing publisher gets first refusal on any new book proposals. The latter usually has to have a finished book before they get any offers.
I learnt that an ‘advance’ is actually termed an ‘advance against royalties’, which means the publishers give you an upfront payment (which is yours to keep regardless of whether the book sells or not), and then all money earned from sales is retained by the publisher until the advance is payed back, and then the author gets a small royalty check every so often, for the remainder of the time the book earns money.
Also fleetingly pontificated was the future of E-books, and how the technology is nowhere near what it could potentially be. While outlining the current shortcomings of existing hardware and software, Joe was unkeen to expand into a potential solution, no doubt for fear of it being stolen!
It would be unfair to write down some of the topics in the interview without mentioning that Joe has a new book out 6th June. Blackout sees the return of Jimmy Coates, a series, which has been on hiatus since 2009, and Joe assures the reader that you are actually able to jump straight in with this book, and enjoy the books in any order. So mark the date in your diary and rush to the stores!
As always, the audio is available online and on iTunes, and both can be accessed via the links below