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Bone dry wit from London's Idle Eye blog, beautifully illustrated by 20 contemporary artists & washed down with a few glasses of Pinot.
Bone dry wit from London's Idle Eye blog, beautifully illustrated by 20 contemporary artists & washed down with a few glasses of Pinot.
Bone dry wit from London's Idle Eye blog, beautifully illustrated by 20 contemporary artists & washed down with a few glasses of Pinot.
83 backers pledged £5,022 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Idle Eye - Amateur of Life and Death

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Book Campaign Postcard
Book Campaign Postcard

Idle Eye is a London-based blog I created in September 2011. The posts are weekly, mostly witty, half-confessional, self-depricating and somewhat acerbic. Think Jonathan Ames crossed with Ed Reardon and you're getting close. In January of this year I had the idea of making a book, in which twenty artists each illustrate two blog posts in their own inimitable style. So I set about hunting them down. Most I knew already, but some were introduced to me and got excited about the project and some I blatantly stalked. I specifically wanted drawings (as opposed to photographs), as each interpretation of the stories I gave them would be unique, personal, funny and wildly different (the proposed book cover, drawn by Daniel Laidler, succinctly captures everything you need to know about me). Ironically, the idea was conceived on the exact same day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which also happened to be my birthday. Make of that what you will.

To date, I have half (20) of the drawings in and they are all spectacular. Every one. So now I need to raise funds to delegate the last 20 posts, have the book beautifully printed and get it out there. In order to keep down costs I asked every artist to make their illustrations monochrome (in keeping with the look and feel of the website) and they are so much better for it. I've had some great pledge rewards made already but I'm happy to swallow the cost of these; all I care about is raising the print money. If we go beyond the target, I'll go hardback and/or print more copies. Maybe even get some more teeshirts made, they're pretty good. But every penny will go towards making Amateur of Life and Death as wonderful and unique as I know it will be.

So why should you care? What makes my story any different? Well, I like to think I write well, but in these cut and thrust days of hashtags, social media and all manner of canny techniques people use to get themselves from the laptop and into your homes, I just felt that speaking from the heart and allowing potential backers to make up their own minds was the right approach. It's a great idea, I'll not be coy. And I have spent the last five months working pretty hard at it, to the point of little else. I can only offer up what I have done this far in and ask you to judge for yourselves. 

Amateur of Life and Death is the book part of a project that is beginning to develop wings. We have recorded accompanying audio to go with the allocated posts and filmed the sessions as we go (see below Vimeo clip).

And have a look at the site:

theidleeye.wordpress.com

I now feel it's got to a point where I can release my efforts onto an unsuspecting world and see what happens. It matters more to me than I can put into words (not usually an issue). And although we're branching out, it has to start from somewhere, and I felt that a book was the perfect vehicle. Like most good things in life, it's all about the writing. There'll be no eBook either. This will be something unique which you can hold in your hands and say you were part of. Everyone who pledges, no matter how much, will be listed in the acknowledgements, and any future print runs will be a little bit different. So get in there early & help make this happen.

The very talented Ursula McLaughlin (also a contributing artist) has created the look and feel, some examples of which are below:

The Carb Uncle - Daniel Laidler
The Carb Uncle - Daniel Laidler
The Carb Uncle - Text Spread
The Carb Uncle - Text Spread
The Lunar Twits - Ursula McLaughlin
The Lunar Twits - Ursula McLaughlin
The Lunar Twits - Text Spread
The Lunar Twits - Text Spread
The Talented Mr Reynard - Claire Fletcher
The Talented Mr Reynard - Claire Fletcher
The Talented Mr Reynard - Text Spread
The Talented Mr Reynard - Text Spread
The Tyranny of Sex - The DNA Factory
The Tyranny of Sex - The DNA Factory
The Tyranny of Sex - Text Spread
The Tyranny of Sex - Text Spread
The Windows to the Soul - Matt Jeffs
The Windows to the Soul - Matt Jeffs
The Windows to the Soul - Text Spread
The Windows to the Soul - Text Spread
The Vox Humana - Sascha Gravenstein
The Vox Humana - Sascha Gravenstein
The Vox Humana - Text Spread
The Vox Humana - Text Spread

Credits:

Directed/Edited/Artists Camera by...er...me

Original Music/Main Camera:  Donald Ross Skinner

Book Design:  Ursula McLaughlin

Audio Narrator:  Rupert Ingham

Photography:  Sarah Johnson/Alison Czajkowskyj

Risks and challenges

Risk 1 - That I'll be admitted into a SE London hospital with PTSD before the end of the campaign and not give a toss anymore. It's quite possible, actually. If you come to my ward, I'll give your money back and you can stroke me. God is in the detail.

Risk 2 - That the artists take longer than I hope to deliver the second drawing. But that's what artists do. It's why they're artists. So we'll all have to be patient, I guess. It'll be worth it.

Risk 3 - That's the point. Nothing significant will ever happen to you unless you take one.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    Thank you! I will drink a 125cl glass of New Zealand Marlborough Pinot Noir to your very good health and think of you fondly. You're helping make this ship sail. Will also email an e-signed blog post of your choice to your inbox.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $16

    Thank you! I will drink a 250cl glass of New Zealand Marlborough Pinot Noir to your very good health If I can still lift it. Will also email two e-signed blog posts of your choice to your inbox.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $31

    An actual copy of 'Amateur of Life and Death', sent to the address of your choice. I know it's a bit steep but it's an art book with 40 illustrations and funny stuff so I won't be cutting corners. I won't be drinking anything either. That's for the cheap seats. And I'll throw in a badger. No, not that. A badge.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $39

    Same as above, but this time I'll sign it. Apparently this will give it value and you can show it to your grandchildren after I'm dead.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $62

    Signed copy of 'Amateur of Life and Death' AND a beautiful screenprinted teeshirt on organic fairtrade cotton with Dan Laidler's cover drawing on the front. And a badger. I could have skimped on these but decided against it. Worth it even if you have to take the book to a charity shop. Choose from S/M/L ('cos that's all I've got).

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $78

    Two signed books, one teeshirt and a badger. And the first two in also get one of only two of the original linocut teeshirts made by Crystal Palace local artist Ella Wright. Because you're worth it.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £70 or more About $109

    Two signed books, two teeshirts and two badgers.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $156

    You'll like this. Two signed books, two teeshirts and some badgers, but I'll also write three of you into one of the book posts. Not quite sure what's going to happen yet, but you'll be in there. In print. In a book. Think about that for a minute and then hit the pledge button.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $234

    It just gets better. Two signed books, two teeshirts and some badgers, but you'll also be in an accompanying illustration, to be drawn by Godlike genius artist Mark Weighton (look him up). Just send me a photo & I'll make him draw you for food.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £175 or more About $273

    Now we're motoring! For a mere £175 you get four copies of the book, two teeshirts, some badgers and you'll be invited to sunny Herne Hill in South East London, where you will be recorded as a character voice for one of the weekly podcasts with the audio team. It's a hoot normally, and we'll throw in some food and drink as well. We're good like that.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £175 or more About $273

    If you missed out on the audio pledge, you get two extra shirts for the same cash. For a mere £175 you get four copies of the book, four teeshirts & some badgers.

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    Pledge £200 or more About $312

    This is a serious reward. Seriously. Four signed copies of the book, four teeshirts, some badgers and...wait for it...a signed original artwork from either:

    A) MARK WEIGHTON
    B) URSULA MCLAUGHLIN
    C) MAGDA ARCHER
    D) SASCHA GRAVENSTEIN

    These will appear in the book (and I'll show you in the updates as the project progresses) but you get the originals. Can you get your heads around that? Staggering! I might have a pop at it myself.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $390

    If you're the kind of person who is prepared to help me to the tune of £250 for my little project, the very least I can do is:

    A) GIVE YOU FOUR SIGNED BOOKS
    B) GIVE YOU FOUR TEESHIRTS AND A FEW BADGERS
    C) TAKE YOU OUT TO DINNER WITH THE AUDIO TEAM
    D) TAKE YOU FOR A DRIVE THROUGH THE SUNNIER SPOTS OF SE LONDON IN MY TRIUMPH HERALD

    Yes, the one in the film. It's blue, convertible & very sweet. Probably best before the dinner though. Just in case...

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,560

    I'm chancing my arm here, but it is remotely possible that altruism of old still exists. If it does and you are that person, we obviously need to talk. Any combination of rewards and/or involvement are not only possible, but I'll be your dog for life as well. This is a project-enabling amount, and the prize will obviously reflect that. You'll see.

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Funding period

- (30 days)