Like a gaggle of children excitedly bouncing back to school (hurrah!) the clouds skate and tumble across the morning sky, a solitary needle-like vapour trail, piercing the blue, trying in vain to stitch the white back together – the phrase herding cats springs to mind. The skylight perfectly framing the constantly changing shapes – as the images slowly morph from one to another, the sense of calm they instill is immediate – no wonder there is a Cloud Appreciation Society – with gentle beauty like this unfolding beyond the window pane, we should all be members.
The musician Alex Paterson is an artist whose path may not be familiar to a wider world, but his recognisable track ‘Fluffy Little Clouds’ with The Orb from the early 1990s is perfect ambient music from that period – mixing sound with the images of the mind’s eye, a different kind of journey ensues. Alex’s biography, written by journalist Kris Needs, will be barking-mad, a life and a memoir like few others, and it will be a riot of a read – signed by Alex, ‘Babble On An’ Ting’ will be available in the Spring and pre-orders are now been taken – lie back, look up at the sky and let the clouds carry you far and wide.
Our other Coles Signed Editions this week include more life stories – Bessie Smith was a pioneer at a time when pioneering got you into trouble – her remarkable story is told by Jackie Kay; the TV auctioneer Philip Serrell’s memoir couldn’t be more different, but a remarkably entertaining tale is told in ‘What Am I Bid’; our novelists this week include Santa Montefiore, C.K. McDonnell, Adrian Tchaikovsky and George Orwell with a newly illustrated version by Chris Mould of the classic ‘Animal Farm’ (Orwell is always relevant, to know how the world works, all you need to do is read Orwell); best selling author Andre Aciman turns to the essay as his writing form in ‘Homo Irrealis’; the prize for the most beautiful book cover this week goes to ‘The Lamplighters’ by Emma Stonex, a tale of mystery and love and suspense. And finally, if running has been your thing during the lockdown, then perhaps a marathon might be a suitable next step – sports and morning Virgin Radio presenter Vassos Alexander is the best coach possible in ‘How to Run a Marathon’.