That Iranian lithium find, I wrote about it at the ASI. To gain a comment from a pissed off Iranian. Just fun how this all happened just as I’d been told about my emergence as an internationally best selling author:

“Tim Worst, what is your problem? Why so jealous of Persian’s windfall. British know how to steal anyway. They stole hundreds of billions worth of oil( all recorded). Iran’s Lithium finds have been confirmed by 3 credible sources and agreement for exploration has already been executed. Find a coward way to steal and then pay the price to the end of time.”

You might well not know this but I used to write for Donya-e-Eqtesad. In fact a past economics editor of that organisation spent last weekend staying with me. There’s even a book of mine published in Farsi. Currently in its second edition. Sadly, I can’t work out how to get Persian script into this software we use here at this website but you can see the book cover here:

So, my best selling book title then

You need Chapter 2 of that book which covers this point of reserves, resources and so on.

Isn’t there a book about this?

Statues of “old white men” such as the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Lord Nelson could be hidden or destroyed to create the “right historical narrative”, according to Welsh government guidance.

A bloke whose job it is to rewrite all the old stuff so that it conforms to the modern narrative? The 38th day of the new razor blade, Victory Gin and all that?

This may or may not be true

Tim, you need to write a novel which has a better chance of “bringing in the sheaves”. I’ve bought all of your books written in English that I know of & I think you are a good writer. I’m a mathematician & knew little about economics until I started reading you. I’m not as smart as Stanislaw Ulam so things economic were not as trivial to me until I learned from you.

The novel should be based on your extensive knowledge of the failures of governments, which seems timely now. Perhaps serious but there’s a lot to laugh about should you be inclined & comedy often gets points across quite nicely.

That’s from Tex.

As it happens over this weekend I found out that Iran has a thriving beer and wine making scene. Yes. the Mullahs don’t approve but the Persians do. Like anything illegal you’ve got to know who and where but once you’re on the inside booze is entirely and easily available.

Also, Christians are legal to have it – for personal use. Thus Armenians – over and above the normal trading instincts – are a nexus of the trade.

We tossed around the idea of a novel based upon this premise. Obviously, it’s a road trip, our pair must meet danger, solve problems, get into scrapes in their quest for the perfect beer. We even got far enough to have the first two chapters sketched out:

The conversation turned serious, as it always does at the fifth pint.

“So, your Pitchfork, is it a golden bitter with floral, citric hop aroma, a predominantly hoppy flavour which is slightly sweet and fruity? “

“It is, it is, as it always is. And your Old Green Tree, brewed for this very pub, is it the epitome of a session bitter?”

“As ever. But this liquid bread idea, whadda you think?”

“Humans turned to agriculture and settled into villages not for bread, but for beer? That static nature after the mobility of the hunter gatherer society was caused by wanting to be around the barley when it ripened?”

“That’s the one, saw it in the paper, the wossname, Mail.”

“Wanna be careful about that source Jimmy, careful.”

“Yeh, but think about it. Where’s the best beer in the world going to be?”

“Depends on the landlord, how he keeps it, obviously. Could be here. The Star does alright, Bass from the barrel. See, depends. Might be some place at Combe Down even, tho’ of course that’ll not be the full pint.”

“Har, har. No, what I mean is if civilisation started with beer then where’s the best beer goin’ to be? Werl, stands to reason, it’s goin’ to be where civilisation started. Where they’ve been making beer this past 10,000 years. Innit?”

“You have logic on your side. An’ I know what’s about to come next. You think we should go to this cradle of civilisation so that we can have this best beer in the world, am I right?”


“You’re on”

Jimmy booked the tickets that evening.


“Sorry, my English is not so good. CAM what?”

“CAMRB, the Campaign for Real Beer.”

“I have heard of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, I did my degree at Salford. But CAMRB?”

“Yes, poncy twats at CAMRA. Fools as well. All that mither about cask conditioned ale and pubs with no music. Poncy twats. Ale has no hops, beer has hops. We are, both of us, CAMRB.”

“And this CAMRB, this is a large organisation?”

“I just said both of us are CAMRB”

“Ah. So, what does this organisation actually do?”

“We campaign for real beer. By drinking it. Creating the demand and as we all know, once there is demand there will be supply. Basic obviousness that is.”

“Indeed so, indeed so. We too have read Mr. Chian. And what is the purpose of your visit?”

“Liquid bread”

“The idea that the cradle of civilisation has been making beer longer than anywhere else therefore must have the best beer?”

“Well, it would have been ale to start with, but yes.”

“Your visas are in order, you have return tickets, allow me just to get everything stamped”

“Hop to it”

“I’m sorry, did you just say that? You told the uniformed officer, the border guard, to “Hop to it”?”

“It’s our slogan, CAMRB, “Hop to it”. It’s a pune, a play on words, see?”

“Landlords across the world must belly laugh to your wit”

“No, no, it’s a pune, a play on words, not meant to be funny now, they never are.”

“How useful it is that you are aware of that. Gentlemen, welcome to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

So, my best selling book title then

Madsen Pirie did once tell me that writing books was no way to make money.

At which point, the cover of my best selling book so far:

This is the only one to make it into a second edition. The first edition was 1,000 copies – therefore sales are over 1,000 copies then.

That it’s in Farsi, that I don’t get royalties, that if I did they’d total $60 for both full print runs, irrelevances. Still my best selling book so far.


Err, yes

That’s what happens:

books by women that question gender ideology, such as Material Girls by Kathleen Stock and Trans by Helen Joyce, were similarly rejected by every publisher but one

In many areas of life in fact. “No, No, No, No, Yes…..” or “No, Yes” or even “Yes”.

As the answer being looked for is yes then the question keeps getting asked until the desired outcome. This is true of book publishing and also of such other activities as trying to get laid.

Sensitivity readers, aka the hopelessly neurotic

Handsome princes – and beautiful princesses falling for them at first sight – have been deemed problematic by sensitivity readers advising on offensive content, due to the privilege given to physical attractiveness and heteronormative romance.

You’re not, obviously enough, going to “sensitivity read” summat and then say “Yep, that’s fine”. For that is to diminish the seeming importance of what it is that you do. Just as an American subeditor is never going to leave your prose alone, for if they did then what’s the point of an American subeditor?

For example, here. Physical attractiveness is a privilege. Shrug. The things we call physical attractiveness are those very things which give privilege in being able to get a bonk. And?

There’s no absolute reason why a decent rack or retrousee nose are attractive. They’re just things that make other humans more likely to say “Jump on my bones, right now”. As such in the arena of bone jumping, they’re privileges.

Outdated or harmful elements in fairy tales, according to publishing insiders, may also include characters presuming each other’s pronouns or social class, and a lack of diversity among blonde-haired and blue-eyed protagonists.

If we put all the hopeless neurotics in charge of the books we may read then we’re only going to get books that pass the hopeless neurotics, aren’t we? It’s going to be about as effective as putting all the anal retentives in charge of law making and look how well the EU does.

This is an interesting idea

Books by female authors studied by just 2% of GCSE pupils, finds study
Campaigners urge exam boards to diversify English literature set texts to challenge rising misogyny

Reading the output of the average female novelist is going to reduce the hatred of women, is it?

Echoes, echoes

Bing Chat began to hallucinate. It assured us that we could safely eat ground glass, and that four US Presidents had been women. It would invent citations. It would then deny an answer it had just given you was true. All this was performed with the smoothly reassuring bedside manner of an experienced NHS consultant.

Things got even worse as Bing Chat began to throw tantrums, and even threaten its users.

A whole series of stories had AIs – rather more advanced – going mad mere tens of minutes after being activated.Such powerful intelligences working at such speed just chewed through all of the interesting bits of possible thought so quickly they ended up composing symphonies in C through the colour blue sort of madness. A fugue state where they considered the mysteries of the cosmos sorta stuff.

Still used them, of course, but they did only last as useful entities for those tens of minutes.

Let’s make kids books not kids books

David Walliams could have ‘Roald Dahl-like humour’ edited from his books
Children’s author says Walliams, whose work has been accused of ‘casual racism’, is at risk because he knows ‘kids love transgression’

Quite so, kids love naughty. Part of the whole process of testing boundaries. So, and therefore, kids must not be allowed to test the boundaries of the current orthodoxy for who knows what Emperor’s clothes moments might arise?

That fear in itself showing the weakness of the current orthodoxy, of course.

One of those grand economic truths

Six months after she started, Macmillan raised its starting wage to $35,000. “I was so thrilled; I remember being so grateful. Oh my god, $2,000 more a year,” she says. “And now I feel like, after actually trying to live on that for years now, it’s just not sustainable. It affects the way you live your life.”

When she started in publishing, Miller made her salary work by sharing an apartment in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood with four other roommates. Now, she lives with her partner in Central Jersey. “I commute an hour and a half to get here,” she says. (During non-strike times, HarperCollins requires employees to work from the office at least two days per week.) “And it still feels worth it to work in this industry.”

That’s the general refrain from those on the picket line: Wages are too low in publishing, but the workers still love it there.

The more you love the job the less you’ll get paid to do it. Because some goodly part of your compensation is coming in the joy not the cash.

Simple enough…..

Yes, seems about right

The mainstream publishing world continues to sideline contributions by Latinx authors. A 2020 article in The New York Times found that only 11 percent of all books published in 2018 were authored by people of color. Bolstering these findings, only about 10 percent of the 2020 New York Times Bestseller List were written by people of color


The US by race is about 75% white.

Among schoolkids it looks like 44% of whites can read proficiently, higher than that for Asians, about half the white rater for those folk of colour.

As a little stab in the dark let us assume that the books are written by the literate. The white literacy rate seems to be double the colour one, we start with 25% of the population being of colour, we end with 11% of the books written by those of colour which is around half the 25%.

Seems around and about right to me.

Sure, it’s appalling that the literacy rates vary so much but it’s not wholly terrible to think that that might be the cause rather than racism in the publishing industry……

A prediction

The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies, by Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington, is due to be published by Penguin, Allen Lane on February 23

There will soon be a consultancy touting for contracts on how not to hire consultancies.

Can you guess who I think will be running it?


Two academics are suing Oxford University for employing them as gig economy workers in a case which draws on the landmark ruling that gave Uber drivers the right to paid holidays and a pension.

The two lecturers were employed on fixed-term “personal services” contracts to teach on Oxford’s creative writing course for 15 years, but these were not renewed in 2022.


Jolly added that universities use writers’ CVs to market their creative writing courses, yet often they “will only offer zero-hours contracts which offer no job security and sometimes pay as little as £25 an hour” – which doesn’t factor in preparation time.

The only people who would take such jobs are those writers who cannot make £25 an hour – not including preparation time – from creative writing. And why would you want to employ creative writing teachers who cannot make more than £25 an hour – not including preparation time – from creative writing on anything more than the most limp part-time contract? That’s 3 or 4 cents a word – without preparation time – and even the third and fourth ranks of internet writing make that. Moderately competent Amazon only romance novels make that.

Why would you hire someone who cannot achieve that on a permanent or higher paid contract?

So, a piece of mine is in a book

How to Write Anything: A Guide and Reference with Readings, 5/e by John J. Ruszkiewicz and Jay T. Dolmage

This piece:

A most unkind thing to do is to take someone’s arguments seriously and then ponder what could be done to solve the problem being described. The Black Lives Matter movement says the United States is a structurally racist and divided society and that we ought to do something to remedy this situation. OK. Let’s do that.

Take the wealth gap, for example. It’s entirely true that black people have lower average household wealth than do white people. Accidents of birth for both of us and John Rawls’s veil of ignorance insist that we do something about this. Great. Let’s abolish rental housing subsidies. If this generation lives in subsidized rental housing, the next won’t inherit housing equity. For all but the top 10% of our society, housing equity is by far the largest portion of familial wealth. This actually explains a large part of the wealth gap. Yes, there were redlining and horrendous mortgage contracts forced upon black would-be homeowners. But it is also true that we’ve been subsidizing rentals and keeping black people from gaining housing equity for the past 60 years or so. Stop doing that, and in a generation’s time, the situation will be improved.

Just been asked to grant rights for a reprint of it. Which is fun, ‘coz I can’t recall ever being asked for rights on the original.

But, you know, trivia.

Which leaves just one little question. Am I used as an example of how to write anything, or as how not to?

Well now, there’s pittance and there’s pittance

She became a weekly columnist for her local paper and wrote columns for HuffPost. Her profile was growing, but her bank balance wasn’t. She was paid a pittance for her work.

Local papers – these days – are around £100 per thousand words. HuffPost could well be less than that, could be more. That’s just what journalism pays these days.

When people contacted Monroe on social media to ask how much money she had made on Patreon or what has happened to the money (she has 643 followers at the time of writing), she declined to answer and said she was being bullied. It wasn’t a good look.

People say you’ve taken money, I start to say. “Yes: ‘She’s a fraud, she’s a liar, a thief, a chancer.’ I’ve heard it all.” How do you answer that – you don’t seem like a fraud to me, but it does look as if you’ve taken a lot of money. “I’ve been an absolute chaos. I’ve been very ill, physically and mentally.”

I ask if the simple truth is that lots of the money was spent on alcohol. “I was drinking a lot so I was losing work left, right and centre because I was unreliable and chaotic. I was spending money.”

Which is the Jack Monroe defence. She was/is an alcoholic. Which, well, it’s a pretty good defence actually. Doesn’t let you off, but does explain.

“A couple of things happened to get things as precarious as they were. My partner and I split up a couple of weeks after I had the lease on our house. It costs me £3,300 a month to run that house, and that is on a tight budget, without turning the heating on and a single lightbulb.” She breaks down the sums for me. It’s a far cry from the stringent budgeting that made her name.

Err, well, yes. That’s not quite breadline. Tho’ of course if the income doesn’t match then after those costs it might be.

Is this actually possible?

Chat GPT can write entire novels for you?

Get it to read 100 of The Executioner stories, give your guy a new name and hit print, right?

Now, if only I were competent enough at using software to be able to do that…..

One for Dennis here

Our Carrie:

The Cruelty Is The Point, by Adam Serwer; Troll Nation, by Amanda Marcotte; American Fascism, by Brynn Tannehill

Sadly the culture wars and far-right troll politics of the US haven’t stayed within its borders, and we’re seeing very similar anti-democratic activity here.

She recommends Amanduh.

Do we need to know more?