So I’ve been away, getting married. Here’s proof.

 

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You might not know this, but weddings are crazy stressful. I mean, tear-your-head-off, sick-to-your-stomach, punch-someone-in-the-face stressful. I wasn’t even organising most things (my fiancee was, and she killed it).

Two hours before the wedding, my carefully curated Spotify playlist (including the aisle song, the first dance, the dinner background music and the entire goddamn night’s worth of tunes) destroyed itself. We were in the Tuscan hills, with super-sketchy WiFi, and on cue the first guests walk up the drive, including my girlfriend’s normally wonderful but super-sarcastic uncle.

I went out to meet them, still wearing boardshorts, looking scruffy and stressed, and he starts mouthing off. I don’t even remember what he said, but I remember thinking very clearly, “If you don’t stop speaking now, I’m going to punch you in the face.”

He didn’t deserve that thought. He’s a good guy. And in the end, the wedding was…

Wow.

 

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That’s my wife Nicole. She’s incredible. So are her family, and my family, and our mates, and everyone who made our day what it was.

But what I needed, in the days leading up to the wedding, was an escape. I needed a book that took me way out of the situation, and The Vagrant was it.

 

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It’s like a weird, vivid, surreal dream, put down on paper by a psychotic hermit. Imagine the most mental fantasy landscape you can, then take a tab of acid and imagine some more. Here are a few of the things we encounter in Newman’s dreamscape:

Two conflicting big bads, one made entirely of corpses, the other inhabiting the body of a fallen angel.

A massive, floating city.

A sentient, very angry sword.

A silent protagonist carrying that sword along with a goddamn baby.

A giant, levitating steel cube a square mile in size.

A fucking goat who follows the vagrant around for no discernible reason.

A plot that zigzags between the present and the past, painting backstories for just about everyone.

That plot, by the way, is understandably bonkers. It moves with agonising slowness, breaking into occasional bursts of lightning action. The writing is as deep and dark as Turkish coffee. It is twisted and weird and wonderful and ridiculous and lovely and strange and really, there’s nothing else out there that even remotely compares to it.

You gotta read it. Even if you end up hating it, you just gotta.

One last wedding post. My little cousin made this for my wife and me. Got her hair just right too.

 

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Crunch Cover - audiobook by Rob Boffard

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