Book Jacket

 

rank 5921
word count 18259
date submitted 17.10.2009
date updated 19.10.2009
genres: Fiction, Popular Culture
classification: universal
incomplete

The Devil Smokes Dunhill

Nick van der Leek

The media is mad.

 

The mainstream media from the inside, is a cesspool of insecure misfits, and courtyard keepers. Everyone suffers from chronic attention deficit disorder. Everyone is addicted to something. Words are their weapons of choice, life an after-thought, terminal diseases - especially cancers, tumors and anal brown-nosing - a certainty. Nick van der Leek, in this brilliant satire, uncovers the real story behind who and what makes the media, and suggests we stop caring. The folks who work tirelessly behind the scenes, splattering bullshit on the front pages of newspapers - the sub-editors, journalists [suckers], the cubicle slaves and other subhuman characters - do they know what they're doing? In a word: Hell no.
We live in a world where the news today is indistinguishable from spam, and spam [according to Wikipedia]'provides very little in terms of vitamins and minerals...it has been listed as a food that is a poor choice for weight loss and optimum health and as a food that "is high in saturated fat and sodium".' The news, the people responsible for writing it, editing it and stupid enough to read it get skewered in this devilish yarn.

 
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Vituperative Attacks

Venom and Vigour

 

Horton: This entire jungle is a house of death! – from Horton Hears a Who!

 

11:12AM

Hi Trudy

 

I recently had a chat with the feature editor of The Express (Agneta Accasia) and Bobbie McBourbon (who edits the movie pages) in terms of content related to Nu Tube.  What alarmed me about our discussion was their admission that they, in favour of editorial independence, are not required to promote TREACLE (as was the case with Morton), even when offered content - unbiased and genuinely expressed - that does effectively endorse and support a good product.  I feel they ought to be required/or at least make the effort to support our group products wherever possible. I don't believe we can afford not to do this.

 

What was of concern to me recently was the failure to actually support a Nu Tube product, despite my efforts to communicate about the Geoff Woolf interview etc.  As you know the movie was screened in the building, BullshitBroadcasting were present, and in the end McBourbon, who had not even watched the film, selected this disparaging review from the New Dork Chimes and published it in The Express:

 

What distinguishes “Morton Hears a Humbug is that it is not one of the worst movies ever made. That’s faint praise, I know, and I’m even willing to go a bit further. Any human being who goes to watch this infantile garbage deserves to have their head examined.  Sure, the colors are nice, the plot intelligent, but this is animation.  It’s not real.  Current Film Fashion is REALITY, and animation is just too FUN FUN FUN!  Animators ought to be herded and shot – now that would make a great flick. 

 

This cynism is in the face of the fact that morton topped the US and SA box office:

 

Personally I am appalled at the lack of involvement from our own brands and the flagrant disregard for one of our own products (one that is currently being promoted via Blue Sea Studios/Fox on our online competition pages), and that McBourbon did not even bother himself either to meet with Geoff, or to watch the movie himself.  

 

While this oversight on its own may appear insignificant, one needs to note that this is actually a BIG movie.  Number 1 in SA and the USA..  Isn't this an incredibly self-defeating counter-productive psychology for our company?  Are we trying to shoot ourselves in the foot?

 

In line with the new initiative to develop separate and unique brand identity (for Black Sweater and The Express) I would also advocate that where possible, we prefer to use local written reviews over international high-brow reviewers in cases that do not really represent the conventional wisdom, as is apparent in this case, and where possible find an intelligent review that tends to be supportive of our product offering rather than material that is unnecessarily and cynically critical.  I personally feel the relevance of the Morton movie (consideration for Others) to all that is happening in the SA context cannot be overemphasised.  Hence my frustration with the editorial license applied here, and the lack of support given to this particular product.

 

I also wonder why the Black Sweater and The Express movie pages are so under-developed?  I have made recommendations, but thus far, for the Black Sweater especially, there is no dedicated section for movies.  The Devil also expressed her reservations about publishing reviews (she cited bad experiences in the past).  This ought, in my opinion, to be revisited.

 

My suggestion is that this be escalated to a high level in order for management to insure that these sensible recommendations be implemented as a consistent editorial approach.

 

Please keep me in the loop with whatever developments occur as a result of this communications, as I would like to follow-up if this gets snagged at any point.

 

Best wishes

Nick

 

That done, I stretch my legs.  Time to visit the Men’s Room.

“Ummm…Nick.  I need to talk to you.”

“In a moment, I need to…er…go somewhere urgently.”

“It can wait.”

I feel a stabbing pain in my bladder.

“It definitely can’t wait.”

 

I am standing at the urinal, about to take a deep breath when Bobbie enters.  He is as thin as a reed, and the gust from the door closing appears to blow him to the urinal right beside mine.  I feel a rush of anger, and I can feel my ears throb.  The only problem is my scrotum clenches, and the tap just won’t open.

This is a first.

“HA HA HA HA…”

Bobbie glances down at me, and sniggers, then starts writing the first paragraph of his next review with urine spray.  I’m vaguely aware of Cyrillic and even Kunstler fonts curling around the white face of the urinal. After urinating 4 cups of coffee, he washes his hands, manicures a nail briefly, dabs at his shoes and then strides out the door.  BANG!  I take a few breaths and slowly my scrotum unhooks, like a bat hanging upside down in the batcave.  After a few more desperate seconds, relief.

 

When I arrive at my desk, The Devil is gone but a mouse is writhing on its back under her chair, its guts erupt as in a small explosion out of the white fur.  It’s red and gross, and reminds me of a Peromyscus maniculatus version of ALIEN.

 

Then, at 12:13

Hi Nick


 
Thanks very much for your e-mail.  

 

Doing publicity for films is an uphill (and often thankless!) task at the best of times.  We try make our films as attractive and accessible as possible but often are faced with apathy from many media outlets.  Its refreshing for someone outside of our business to see the obstacles we face!!!  Unlike many other countries, SA journalists don't seem to perceive the value of the content we provide for free and I'm not sure how to change this perception.  We - in most instances - work really well with Bobbiet and haven't had any issues in the past.  It's disappointing to note that they don't lean more toward supporting sister company products but I don't have any suggestions how this can be resolved.  I definitely agree that the TREACLE brands need to be using local reviews and interviews wherever possible though.  There is more than enough access to films prior to release and we're always happy to set up something specific if needs be.  We're also always looking to add media promotions and exclusive content to editorial support of a film in order to make it more attractive to the public (and it creates a measurable element to our campaigns) which I don't think we explore as much as we should be.

 

We had a great working relationship with Black Sweater in the past when Hummer Noname was their reviewer.  We ran great media promotions with them, set up interviews, supplied exclusive materials etc. but when she left the relationship fell by the wayside.  We've tried regularly to try revive the relationship but with no success

 

I'm happy to escalate this wherever I can,  If you have any suggestions please do let me know.  I'm more than happy to meet with the relevant parties to see what we can do and really appreciate your input!!

 

Best regards,

Trudy

 Publicity Manager

NU Tube - South Africa 

 

Sometime after a R45 lunch (I am too buggered to argue about the pricing of my salad and bottle of water), this email arrives.
 
 

Meeting today, 3PM

Dear Nick

 

Due to urgent issues that have been raised, I have set up a meeting with the MD of the Sunday Express, Goosen Dahlia, and your line manager, The Devil.  I will also be in attendance.

 

Regards

Tweetie (from HR)

 

Ps. If you do not attend you are likely to burn in hell.  If you do attend, please douse yourself in petrol beforehand. (Please find jerry can attached).

 

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Caroline Hartman wrote 1181 days ago

Nick, Good luck with The Devil Smokes Dunhill. I read three chapters. I'm either too obtuse, too dumb, or too old to get this. Sorry. I'm sure someone less obtuse, smarter, and younger will make sense of this.
Caroline

Nick VDL wrote 1182 days ago

The Devil Smokes Dunhill is deliberately weird, and opens with what purports to be some sort of metaphysical debate. God - are you there? Apparently so, because C2 tells me He has a sick sense of humour - but who wouldn't after flushing out all that human excrement? I guess I'm a loser, though, because reading this feels Like Ogling Someone Evidently Retarded. Sorry - couldn't resist that one!
Seriously, though - this might well appeal to some readers, but it's too way out for me. I'm sure you had lots of fun writing it, but I can't figure out what you are hoping your readers will get from it. All the best anyway.


You're right, I probably need to be quite clear from the word go that this is a rant against the media. And an attempt to poke them in the eye with a book.

Nick VDL wrote 1182 days ago

The Devil Smokes Dunhill

Hi Nick,

This works well, a controlled (and sometimes uncontrolled) stream of consciousness rant against the scrouge of modern media. That there are such two dimensional folk out there, plying the world with the rubbish you suggest surprises me not a jot. I like the way your writing tries to capture it, an interesting and very unique narrative voice that manages to somehow vent spleen from the very first line and for the four chapters I read here. Bullying seems to have been a daily occurrence, but it is the trashy and shallow motives that are perhaps the most awful things that you expose. Cynicism is, as you say in your pitch, a cancer, chewing up the world, it is in our heads and we want nothing more than to have our view that the world is shit confirmed by the media and they of course obligingly comply with this by offering us stories that focus on exactly this. The range and pitch of your anger and irritation is well judged, I was rooting for you. Strong writing, classic and individual, wouldn't this make a good movie? Well done for the work so far, will shelve this for a while to help out. If you have the time to pop and peak at my book you have no idea how helpful that would be.

Best wishes and good luck
Andrew W.
(Sanctuary's Loss)



Thanks very much for your comment Andrew, astute I think, and encouraging.

Bob Steele wrote 1728 days ago

The Devil Smokes Dunhill is deliberately weird, and opens with what purports to be some sort of metaphysical debate. God - are you there? Apparently so, because C2 tells me He has a sick sense of humour - but who wouldn't after flushing out all that human excrement? I guess I'm a loser, though, because reading this feels Like Ogling Someone Evidently Retarded. Sorry - couldn't resist that one!
Seriously, though - this might well appeal to some readers, but it's too way out for me. I'm sure you had lots of fun writing it, but I can't figure out what you are hoping your readers will get from it. All the best anyway.

Andrew W. wrote 1739 days ago

The Devil Smokes Dunhill

Hi Nick,

This works well, a controlled (and sometimes uncontrolled) stream of consciousness rant against the scrouge of modern media. That there are such two dimensional folk out there, plying the world with the rubbish you suggest surprises me not a jot. I like the way your writing tries to capture it, an interesting and very unique narrative voice that manages to somehow vent spleen from the very first line and for the four chapters I read here. Bullying seems to have been a daily occurrence, but it is the trashy and shallow motives that are perhaps the most awful things that you expose. Cynicism is, as you say in your pitch, a cancer, chewing up the world, it is in our heads and we want nothing more than to have our view that the world is shit confirmed by the media and they of course obligingly comply with this by offering us stories that focus on exactly this. The range and pitch of your anger and irritation is well judged, I was rooting for you. Strong writing, classic and individual, wouldn't this make a good movie? Well done for the work so far, will shelve this for a while to help out. If you have the time to pop and peak at my book you have no idea how helpful that would be.

Best wishes and good luck
Andrew W.
(Sanctuary's Loss)

Nick VDL wrote 1740 days ago

Chapter 10 and 11

I would think a total rewrite of an article that was already written negates the work effort. It is one thing to edit or proof but a complete rewrite of an article that you (who I believe could competently write an article) does not make sense to me.

Julie



The idea was to humiliate me and to discourage further effort. It was also to clearly establish that anything that would get written had to go through the gateway of the all knowing, all seeing, always right editor. Yes, it had nothing to do with how good or relevant or effective the copy was. It had everything to do with the editor protecting her territory under the guise of 'serving the brand'. She quite obviously was serving herself, protecting her position.

ergi1120 wrote 1741 days ago

Chapter 12

I don't understand why you can't at least find a writing mentor in this environment. Is there no one who can take you under their wing and nurture you or become an a intellectual allie to you.

Julie

ergi1120 wrote 1741 days ago

Chapter 10 and 11

I would think a total rewrite of an article that was already written negates the work effort. It is one thing to edit or proof but a complete rewrite of an article that you (who I believe could competently write an article) does not make sense to me.

Julie

ergi1120 wrote 1741 days ago

Chapter 9

Nick you have initiative and guts all the virtues that are usually revered in the USA. I find this very interesting your life has been rather like a gypsy going from one occupation to another but you should really try to publish your writing. If you want to write screenplays take a class. UCLA (Univ. of Cal Los Angeles) has an online screenwriting class. I hope to take this class sometime in the next 2 years. You said in your profile you have many projects. I would concentrate on one project (novel or screenplay) and give it all my attention and talent and see what happens. You have talent.

Julie

ergi1120 wrote 1741 days ago

Chapter 7 and 8

What a shame you couldn't photograph Ms. World contestants. Since you manage data I imagine you could get a job anywhere in the world. I am definitely for your plan to move on. You need to try the USA.

Julie

mikegilli wrote 1741 days ago

backed............brilliant exposure of a modern work experience.
I suppose you realize this site is Murdoch's pet?
I see that i reality you're freelance, so hopefully you don't
personally suffer like your hero.
All the best with this. It probably needs a more developed
storyline to go with the excellent.characters.......Mikey (The Free)

ergi1120 wrote 1742 days ago

Chapter 5 and 6

Your devil boss makes any boss or office manager of mine look like Jesus Christ. I don't know why a writer is having to do clerical work of creating databases from emails for a year couldn't that be delegated out to support staff. Your boss is keeping you down because she is probably very insecure about her own talent as an editor/writer and fears you could possibly usurp her in talent, intelligence and congeniality. Come to the US. Will read more tomorrow. You are a gifted writer!

Julie

ergi1120 wrote 1742 days ago

Chapter 4

Nick it sounds as if you are a student of life and you should have directed your career into writing in the very beginning. I know how stagnating it can be when you are not surrounded by people as intelligent as yourself or more intelligent its like a suicide of living with someone you don't love.

Julie

ergi1120 wrote 1742 days ago

Chapter 3

I worked at a Newspaper in 1996 in Kansas City, MO USA The Kansas City Star and unlike your experience I would have to say it was the only job I ever had that actually liked my intelligence. I worked in Classified Advertising and was even given an award. It was also the only job I ever held that I was drug tested for and I must say I was impressed by the caliber of non-druggy people who worked there. If you moved to the US Nick I am sure there would be a Media company or Newspaper that would WELCOME your talent. Your boss sounds like a horror show what a tyrant.

Julie

ergi1120 wrote 1742 days ago

Chapter 1 and 2

Your observations of life, luck and good an bad fortune are so true. You either excel and are happy in work and the personal life is a shit or work is shit and the personal life is all that keeps you afloat. I know you are a writer Nick and you can write very well. I don't know why a boss would not want to nurture its staff with positive kudos or at lease constructive critique. I think the devil boss is jealous (There are those who write and there are those who oversee writers, sounds like your boss is the overseer who is in the business of whipping all self esteem and confidence out of their talented staff.

Julie

soutexmex wrote 1742 days ago

I read the first three chapters which is normally more than I usually read. But it wasn't until the third chapter that I felt this became somewhat normal from the obtuse beginning. This is kind of mash-up of 'How To Lose Friends' and 'The Devil Wears Prada' with a bit of Tom Wolfe thrown in.

I know what you are getting at and that's commendable. But the format may be a bit more user friendly. Keep those paragraphs short. Satire needs to be breezy.

Short pitch? Brilliant
Long pitch? Disaster

You are selling this thing in your pitches. Had I been a casual reader, I may have not stuck around. Check out my pitches in how I positioned my sales pitch to grab the casual reader.

I do like what you have here, the gist of it, and because of that I am SHELVING.

Do look forward to your comments on my book. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau File

soutexmex wrote 1742 days ago

Before I read, just a suggestion: you may wanna not answer comments here in the comment section, you may wanna send that person a message directly instead as a reply. Better chance of them reading it as most people will not return to see your response.

Kolro wrote 1742 days ago

Holy macaroons this is certainly an odd read. The conversational style, exclamations and flickering, somewhat jumpy narration were all things I loved. I wasn't so hot on the movie quotations but they did make me warm enormously to Nick so maybe that's their intention. There were parts in this that made me laugh- 'moth in a urinal' being one. I'm gonna shelve this because I want more authonomites to see it. I see it getting a great following.

Nick VDL wrote 1742 days ago

Nick
Fantastic pitch, but please don’t quote Wickipedia. – use a more respected source e.g. the Oxford Dictionary.
Great cover – but you know what I’d like to see, just to add the icing on the cake? The cigarettes in the shape of a point-down pentagram. Just a thought.
Right then, this prose has great voice. It’s very accessible and easy to read. The opening chapter is intriguing and more than enough to keep a reader interested and wanting to read more. I appreciate the Smith/Neo reference and reckon this is a great chapter ending.
Just a few typos I’m unsure about, but it could be a US/UK thing, so have someone better qualified to give it a read.
A book I recommend to most people is ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers’ (Browne & King) – it’s a worthy addition to any fiction writers library.
Shelved!
David
Green Ore


Thanks David. You've hit on some details that have missed the radar so far.

DMC wrote 1743 days ago

Nick
Fantastic pitch, but please don’t quote Wickipedia. – use a more respected source e.g. the Oxford Dictionary.
Great cover – but you know what I’d like to see, just to add the icing on the cake? The cigarettes in the shape of a point-down pentagram. Just a thought.
Right then, this prose has great voice. It’s very accessible and easy to read. The opening chapter is intriguing and more than enough to keep a reader interested and wanting to read more. I appreciate the Smith/Neo reference and reckon this is a great chapter ending.
Just a few typos I’m unsure about, but it could be a US/UK thing, so have someone better qualified to give it a read.
A book I recommend to most people is ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers’ (Browne & King) – it’s a worthy addition to any fiction writers library.
Shelved!
David
Green Ore

Nick VDL wrote 1743 days ago

@ KJ Some super advice, and some great kicks in the pants. Thanks. Keep 'em coming.

Nick VDL wrote 1743 days ago

Wow, this is some great stuff so far! There is such style in the narration. There is a lot of appeal in what I have read so far, so I'm giving it a shot on my shelf.

L. Anne Carrington, "The Cruiserweight"



Thanks L.Anne. I'm about 2/3rds through writing the whole fucker, and these comments are very encouraging. Possibly too positive. I need to pursue the depths of despair to find the dark, funny, dystopian irony. Is there something on my back...that says KICK ME?

TheLoriC wrote 1743 days ago

Wow, this is some great stuff so far! There is such style in the narration. There is a lot of appeal in what I have read so far, so I'm giving it a shot on my shelf.

L. Anne Carrington, "The Cruiserweight"

KJKron wrote 1743 days ago

This is different than a typical piece because the narrator is such a character. It reminds me a bit of Vonnegut or Kundrea insofar as there is that feel that the narrator is speaking to you. I actually love that style. I like the allusions (some stated, some not) to movies, books, etc. There's something charming, inviting about the narrator that makes me want to read on. The way it's written, it sounds / feels like I'm having a conversation witht he narrator. If there is one bit of advice I'd give, I'd beg you not to be apologetic. Examples - "I hope you don't mind me diving into movies..." Cut that line. In the next line you explain you do that - take out the pronoun in that sentence because you'll need more clarity. Also in chapter three you say - "If you've gotten this far..." It's like you're apologizing to the reader who reads that far. Don't be silly - what you have is good. You should EXPECT the reader to get that far. There were a couple of others, but I didn't write them down. I'm really enjoying this - don't make me feel like I shouldn't be. And of course I've got to love someone who goes after the whole God thing - the reflective quality of your narrator has hooked me. Well done. Shelved.

Nick VDL wrote 1743 days ago

Hi Nick, Read the first two chapters and then jumped to chapter sixteen.

Steve Ward has put into words my observations on the firt two chapters, In chapter 16 the style appears more conventional as your MC struggles on with his corporate life. It is difficut to pick up on the story by picking a random chapter. I can relate to the scene where Tranquility is robbed and beaten. I have lived in Brasil for a number of years and such occurences fail to raise an eyebrow as they are so common. I would assume it is the same in South Africa. Your MC seems to accept it as the norm, as he carries on with his routine. Not sure how this would relate to someone from say England, where such an occurence would create paranoia. I would be inclined to try and get this over to the reader somehow.

I really like this and the downtrodden loser aspect, as something many people can relate to. I hope he evntuallycomes out on top.

Shelved with pleasure for the balls you have had in using your chosen style in the opening chaters, which I thought quite unique and refreshing

shelved
Derek
thedarkside@edating



Hi Derek

Thanks for the feedback. Interestingly chapter 16 is a slight diversion from the the rest of the cubicle slave drama, but I wanted to show that beyond the office the madness continues...in fact his whole life is mad and filled with melodrama. Someone said they didn't like the Tranquillity aspect as it was so conventional, but as you say, it paints a picture of this 'loser' existence, someone kicking their foot endlessly against the flat tyre of their world. Thanks Aagian for your thoughts, much appreciated.

Steve Ward wrote 1744 days ago

Nick,
Okay this is a little different ! Zany, off the wall, no, I'm at a loss for words but genius comes in many forms. Wow, too many characters for me to track but then again it is happy hour. Nick you have a very creative and energetic mind and you are creating something here that is outside of the box, so I don't feel qualified to suggest changes. You have a lot of great lines here like: The Devil sucks the flame through the cigarette of life. . . and The machine ratatatatat of her fingers on the keyboard sometimes sounds like a machine gun (that's how mine sound now.). I will give you and A+ for originality. Fun read, good luck with it.
Steve Ward
Test Pilot's Daughter: Revenge

Nick VDL wrote 1744 days ago

Nick, you're not a writer. Give up! NO NO don't do that! I'm only joking.

This is slightly fucked up material, but at the same time there is plenty to like about it. For a start, it's originalish. The voice is definitely one of a kind, and thirdly, I'd like to see what all the ***expert authonomists*** have to say about it. It's kind of weird and wonderful and for all my sins, I quite like it.
Best wishes
Sue


Sue you really had me going there. Felt the temperature rise for a second. I think the subject of writing and the struggle is a story almost everyone can identify with. It's an almost invisible struggle, but real nonetheless, and yes VERY FUCKED UP!

Nick VDL wrote 1744 days ago

I've read the three chapters and I do like this book. I had no trouble reading along and following the plot line.
I want to read what happens next with Nick.


Thanks Strayer. I've got more...will put it up. Need me to read any of yours...?

DMC wrote 1744 days ago

This is a great pitch. On my watch list and I'll leave some comments when I've read more...
David
Green Ore

LittleDevil wrote 1744 days ago

Nick, you're not a writer. Give up! NO NO don't do that! I'm only joking.

This is slightly fucked up material, but at the same time there is plenty to like about it. For a start, it's originalish. The voice is definitely one of a kind, and thirdly, I'd like to see what all the ***expert authonomists*** have to say about it. It's kind of weird and wonderful and for all my sins, I quite like it.
Best wishes
Sue

Strayer wrote 1744 days ago

I've read the three chapters and I do like this book. I had no trouble reading along and following the plot line.
I want to read what happens next with Nick.

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