Sally Bavage writes:
Just as many groups in the digital age produce and distribute their own ‘indie’ music, resisting the control of the large conglomerations, so too an increasing number of writers are taking the self-publication ‘punk’ route to having their voices heard.
Mick McCann described for us the joys and pitfalls of ‘punk’ publishing and envisaged a future not too far off when you can call in to a coffee house, order up your book and have it printed on demand whilst you sip your latte. He designs his own covers and organises his own help with proofreading and typesetting. Costs are favours called in and about £50 for support from an online company with details of copyrighting and so on. His books – Coming Out as a Bowie Fan in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, Nailed - Digital Stalking and How Leeds Changed the World are all available on Amazon and all with 5* reader ratings. We could have heard more about self-publication but the session timed out because of other LitFest commitments.
His session was also a play upon words as he described his adoption of the punk subculture in the late 70s in Leeds. All teenagers try to be different, but full-on make-up, spiked hair and his sister’s dresses were, well, a bit out there! Physically very fit from his years on an early morning milk round – a two hour extreme workout every day hefting crates and running fast to keep up with the float which did not bring Benny Hill’s Ernie, the fastest milkman in the west to mind! – Mick had no fear of getting any bother from skins or other subculture groups. He was right! He spent his teenage years as a committed Bowie fan, still able to quote every song lyric from any album, though the dresses and make-up have gone.
Mick has always needed to write down his ideas, though he shrinks from calling himself ‘a writer’ - like nearly all wordsmiths he has a day job. He has a lively perspective on working class life, often the least likely to get a publisher’s sweetheart deal, and which should be heard. There will be many young people today who have a view of life not widely represented by our media and ‘punk’ publishing offers us hope that alternative voices can enter our lexicon. ‘Never Get Old’, David Bowie said – or if you do, publish the story!