Finally, The President’s Desk is now available in all good, bad and indifferent bookshops.
Did you know that Woodrow Wilson was a Transvestite? FDR was killed on the orders of Churchill? Grover Cleveland almost married his own daughter? The White House was burned to the ground by Herbert Hoover? Bess Truman came from Outer Space?
Perhaps not, but if you like your history with a bit of spice, and a lot of humour, then this altered history of the American Presidency since the 1860’s, told through a piece of furniture – The Resolute Desk, is for you.
If not, look out of one of Shawn Micallef’s books, such as Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto.
Despite that fact that it won’t be available until October 6th, there’s been a bit more information recently on Shaun’s next book “The President’s Desk”. During a conversation last week, Shaun was kind enough to share some information about it with me, as well as appearing with Francis on stage at the Williamstown Literary Festival to delight the audience with a reading.
Shaun says it’s a book you can “dip-into”, with each chapter revolving around different American Presidents, with the desk being a central theme. He pointed out that just like people now days can watch a film in any order (with the power of time-shifted TV), so too can you read this book in any order. It’s a bit like a history book, with “some bits made up” to be more interesting.
A lot of the ideas in the book seem to have been hanging around for a while, with parts of the book having been “played out” with Kim Gyngell at the Festival 2 years ago, as well as some of it being published as part of Tony Martin’s former website.
Shaun prefers to only shop a book to publishers when it’s complete, for fear of promising something he later feels is a bit rubbish.
At the Willy Lit Fest, he read a part of the book pertaining to the last voyage of the HMS Resolute (which later became the Resolute Desk, used by the President in the Oval Office) and the crew’s penchant for dugongs (or is that mermaids?). Francis countered with an excerpt from the chapter on Reagan, which seemed to be Shaun’s soapbox for how he felt about actors as people (ie. selling their whoredom)!
He didn’t have a copy of the finished book to show at the Fest (it’s being printed overseas), but he did produce a mini-replica, which was presented to the Hill family, who’d travelled from Newcastle to be in Williamstown!
The book also has a glossary of pro-nouns and a biography of Shawn Micallef (ie. the Canadian one who writes about architecture and spaces).