A gay, equine, military, epistolary romance for the ages
It has been a terrible while. If anyone ever sees this I shall be surprised and delighted.
1. Warhorses of Letters, Series 3, is on Radio 4 for four Sundays from January 12th at 19:15. We are currently editing it. Stephen Fry, Daniel Rigby and Tamsin Greig remain excellent, you will be shocked to learn. The recording this year was glamorous and transatlantic, because of Twelfth Night being on in NY.
2. In response to the most frequently asked question, we do not know when Series 2 will be available for download. The disintegration of AudioGo didn’t help, certainly. If you want to change things, write to the BBC. A very, very few letters or emails mean a great deal to them, you will be surprised to learn. You can complain to us as well, if you want, but there is nothing we can do, and when you complain, remember this: if we had our wish, Amazon would not be allowed to sell ANYTHING except for Warhorses of Letters in different formats, and maybe Gods Behaving Badly, The Kilburn Social Club and The Dazzle.
We hope you enjoyed that. We really did.
As we’ve probably said before, it’s incredible that of all the things either of us has ever been involved in, editing these letters has been the simplest, most enjoyable process, and the one which has had the smoothest path to production. It’s the sort of thing which absolutely couldn’t have happened anywhere else in the world, because nowhere else has the BBC.
It’s a giant organisation, with flaws. It’s easy to point them out. But EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, basically, is jealous. Doesn’t that tell you that it’s worth keeping? If it doesn’t, why not? Do you think that market forces will create it, even though that has not happened ANYWHERE ELSE?
It’s funded by the license fee. In the end, this is not perfectly fair. It is counter-market. It gives the newspapers a harder job, because it gives them an unfairly powerful competitor. But on the whole, on average, it makes Britain a better place. That seems like a better bargain for a bit of market distortion than us paying a fortune into the pockets of venal railway bosses who are supposed to be operating in a market when, of course, they are not really.
When I started this post, I didn’t mean to do this rant. I just meant to say hi, and how happy we were with the first broadcast of series two. Sorry.
(Since this post contains Politics, I will say it was written by RH. Who knows what MP thinks, if she thinks at all.)
(We have totally been in outer space.)
But we are also totally back. Not just back, but all the way back, in spades. Warhorses of Letters (Series 2) is broadcast in four weekly chunks from eleven o’clock next Wednesday (if you are one of the futuristic aliens we met in outer space, and you are only reading this in a few light years time, the Wednesday I am referring to is 28th November, 2012).
You can get series one by clicking on this link. Or you can buy the book by clicking on this one. I recommend the book. More than half of it is new material, and we’re really pleased with it. And I am probably the equal world expert on Warhorses of Letters, so if you can’t trust me to know then who can you trust?
If you’re obsessed with getting ahead of the curve, we’ll be performing an episode at the Polari Literary Salon at the Southbank Centre on Monday 26th.
The ebook of Warhorses of Letters is now available as a download. Simply go to www.unbound.co.uk, log in, make your way to our ‘shed’, and there it will be waiting for you. (This goes for all buyers, including those who’ve paid for hardbacks.) What’s that? You haven’t actually bought the ebook yet? Well that’s OK, there’s no time like the present. You can buy it here and it’s only £4. What’s that? You’re blind? In that case you’ll want the audio download of the series. You can get that over here, and I highly recommend that you do so. It has that lovely Stephen Fry in it, you know.
Ooh. Isn’t he lovely?
So, here is how you get the name that is printed in the Warhorses book changed. If, for example, you bought it as a present. They make EXCELLENT presents.
1. Buy book.
2. Log in.
3. On your own page, under Books, you will see an icon for the Warhorses of Letters book. Underneath, there is a link which reads ‘change the name that is printed inside the book’. (It may not say exactly that. I don’t have it open in front of me. But you will get the idea.)
4. Click on that.
5. A new page opens where there is a box in which you can type whatever name you like.
6. It is that easy. I just did it myself.
Book going well. If you are planning to buy it but hadn’t got round to it, the sooner the better and here is the site (with bonus video). In case you don’t know, we’re working with a new company which publishes books as soon as they get a certain number of pre-purchases. There’s no danger Warhorses of Letters won’t be published, but we’d like to get the first batch done and out of the door.
Unbound is a fantastic organisation. It is also new and has been very successful. Thus it is incredibly busy. It has also built its own payment system. These are really tough, technically. Thus, in short, there are small glitches and unclarities which they are working to iron out. In the meantime, in answer to some questions we have had:
1. Can I buy the book but get someone else’s name in the back because I think it would make a great present?
It WOULD make a great present! I’d say someone should snap you up but it seems like they already have. More specifically, ‘Yes. We will email all the people who buy the book checking what name goes in the back.’
2. The cards from Marengo and Copenhagen – can they be to someone other than me?
Much as above. We will email all card buyers asking for name and address details. You might ask them to say something specific, and they might comply. We cannot be totally certain. They are their own horses, especially Marengo.
3. I seem to be being charged as if I am abroad. Or, in some cases, as if I am not abroad. What’s up?
This has happened to a small number of people. It’s a little glitch. In almost all cases, hitting re-load deals with it. Basically, what is happening is that you get a display telling you the wrong price but when you look at what you are actually being charged, the box gives you the right price. We absolutely understand that this is not reassuring and Unbound are working on it.
Little apology to pass on from @copenhagenhorse, re the Gay Times letters.
OMHG I am such a goofus. I joked about the Grenadiers being well bling these days but, as a Top Military Contact pointed out, the Grenadiers are Her Majesty’s Foot Guards and what I meant to say was the Household Cavalry, who ARE well bling.
In other news, the Devine Warhorses are now 13-0 and going ever deeper into the Texas High School football play-offs. They (I feel like saying ‘we’) are underdogs against the Wimberley Texans this Friday. But we have hope, and his name is Joseph Sadler, who broke the all-time Texas single-season scoring record last week (it had stood for more than fifty years) and he might go on to break the national one even though he has sat out the second half of loads of games because the Warhorses were already home and dry. We are big fans.
(Devine is ‘The Avocado Capital of Central Texas’)
Gosh, that was quicker than we expected! We are associated with what seem to be a futuristic race of efficient superbeings, and you can already download episodes of Warhorses of Letters from iTunes.
In other news, yesterday we wrote some hoof care notes for the book. Practical and funny, like these.
Well, that was fun. A number of people have asked if they can buy the series on audio. The answer is: Yes, very soon. We’ll announce details here and also on twitter, where we’re @roberthudson and @mpphillips. I dare say @copenhagenhorse and @marengohorse will mention it too.
Lots of other people have asked if we’ll ever find out what happens next. To this we say, that the original version of the final play-out read:
And there the letters end. It is rumoured that there are other packets in the private collection of a Danish chewing gum magnate, secreted into the velvet backing behind the fish knives of the Officers’ Second Best Dining Service of the Coldstream Guards and in various other places, but until new funding is secured from the Comedy Commissioning Department at Radio 4, who are practically the only people still financing original historical research, it is impossible to take this further. Maybe that funding will eventually emerge. Here’s hoping.
Here’s hoping indeed. And while we are on the subject of the authors’ cut, well, for good and sensible reasons we recorded more than we could use. Some of our favourite lines had to go. Below, for instance, is a passage from Copenhagen. If you buy the book, you get approximately 20% extra content on the letters alone, and you get a whole load of new letters. From C to his mum, for instance, and from M to a horse called Flambeau. And there’s more than just letters. You really should buy the book, and you should do it now, because it only gets published when enough people have signed up.
It is all go in Paris. Wellington has been made ambassador to France, which seems tactless. For his embassy, he has bought a massive hotel, which in this period means house rather than hotel. Everyone is falling over themselves to give the general presents. The king gave him two vases – big mistake, Wellington hates vases – and a tray which was originally painted for Napoleon’s mother and which features Napoleon and his Mameluke servant hunting in funny hats. Why they thought Wellington would want a tray in general or this one in particular I do not know. Also, what is a mameluke? It sounds like a sort of cat, but that cannot be the case.