The Snowbow Newsletter - Books!
Still we try to win the fight
To make our world all nice and bright.
But all we have to make it better
Is some cheer in this newsletter
But what news could we possible bring
To help you smile, laugh and sing?
Well, how about a special book
That’ll have you smiling as you look?
A book to take you back to the past
A book you hope will last and last
A book with stories you’ll enjoy
A book for every girl and boy
A book unlike any seen before
That’ll leave you laughing on the kitchen floor
A book that will bring lots of joy
Of happiness for every girl and boy
At long last I have managed to finish two books the likes of which you most probably have never read before, but early reports back from those who have already manged to get a copy say how different they are and importantly, how much they enjoyed reading them. As one critic wrote: “Des has his own distinct and unique way of both writing and illustrating, all of which help to give every reader not only something most will want to read over and over again, but also books that are so much more personal to own.” These are limited to a very small print run and will not be available anywhere else in the world other than right here at Snowbow, just for you.
For all of you who have asked for a copy, here at last is the second edition of the first book now published in much larger print, making it so much easier to read… Yes, I’ve been asked many times to write my life story but I’ve always said “No!”, mainly because, as I’m sure is the case with most of us, I never considered my life story to be of sufficient interest to anyone other than the Taxman, the Old Bill, or the Mother-in-Law… A little while ago after a long, deep and thoughtful breath I decided to give it a try so I sat down with pen and paper at the ready, but my mind was a complete blank and not one single word managed to see the light of day. Then after sitting staring vacantly at a brick wall for days on end I suddenly had a bright idea, almost as if some far and distant biblical voice came to me saying: “Des, don’t bother starting at Chapter One but instead move on and start at Chapter Two.” So that’s what I did and, would you believe it, for the words came rushing to me as if by magic and as they did I saw in my mind my whole life being played out in front of me, just as if I was there for real… So strange, but it worked and so now here is the first part of that story as a second edition, but still without a first chapter! Is this the first book ever to have been written without one?
The first edition sold out in no time and many of you have asked why I had titled it “Jumping For Balloons” Well I did so because it reminded me of how so many of us go through life jumping for all opportunities that might just come our way, almost as if they come to us as if they were balloons, but like balloons you have to try to catch the right ones for although they might seem to be perfect, those opportunities can often be dangerous and as you catch them they just go “Pop!” and send you crashing back down to the ground. Others might seem to lift you to new heights that feel great, only for you to then discover you are now too high to be able to let go and are therefore trapped…But if our luck’s in and we manage to catch the right one then the most wonderful things can happen and, believe me, in my life I caught them all… the good, the bad and the ugly.
How best can I describe this book to you without writing countless volumes to do so? Well a clue is in its sub-title as being “A Bio-Comedy Drama” which covers just about everything from dire disasters to wonderful love – and in my case love and disasters often came to me as one! But the most important thing was not to write just another biography for I wanted to try to share my life and experiences with you and yours, so my story would prompt your own – and what better way to do this than to let my words take you down memory lane, back to an age and time when life was so much better than it is today, an age long before the advent of computers and all that other high-tech stuff that has all but ruined our once so enjoyable world. This high-tech that has all but destroyed all the wonderful freedom we once had in a time when we talked to each other, danced, sang and laughed…when we could call the doctor and hear a voice say: “Hello, can I help you?” instead of some electronic algorithm that can only say over and over again what they’ve they been programmed to say and keep you hanging on the phone for hours…I hate it and would give anything to be able to wave a wand and travel back in time to those days before iPhones and laptops, the days when people all talked to each other. Yes that was an age when freedom of speech was truly free, when we could talk and say – and think – almost anything… an age when free speech, laughter and fun were in abundance.
My book is full of all the things we once enjoyed so much and is written in a way that it will take you back to those Golden Years so you can all be reminded of your own wonderful experiences. Yes, I will probably shock some of you from time to time as things were so different back then, especially when I tell how as a very young kid in WW2 I wandered all on my own for miles through the wailing of air-raid sirens as thousands of high explosive bombs rained down across our country. Can you imagine how today’s “Wokes” and “Snowflakes” would have coped back then when we faced on a daily basis things that were so much more dangerous and harder than anything we ever face today…World wars that lasted years, famines, diseases, very little food, no heating, no electric, no free health service, and never knowing what the next minute would bring and yet no one ever seemed to complain and just got on as normal with a smile and a laugh, all of which was so different from the seemingly endless moans and groans of today when so many people who have only ever experienced the good times, show their gratitude by preaching rubbish and wallowing in their own selfish baths of misery.
I don’t want to go into too much detail for that’s all here in the book, but perhaps it’s summoned up beautifully by one reader who wrote to say how happy they were that they had their copy, and that if they ever felt a little bit down, now all they had to do was just pick up this book, open it to any page and read away and, in no time at all, they would be smiling and laughing once again… That’s why I have written this book… to help to bring happiness to you all.
In its pages I cover so much, starting from those early years of WW2 and then continuing on through my school days, which like the whole of my life involved lots of Jumping For Balloons, although I did manage to catch some really dodgy ones. On my last day at senior school the Headmaster summoned me to his study. As I stood there waiting for a few good old whacks of his favourite, swishing cane, he looked at me, pursed his lips and then turned and opened a large old leather bound book on his desk. He looked at it and then turned to me. “This is the school’s punishment book, Cox, and when I look through it I can’t help but notice that you have been punished more than any other boy that has ever been through this school!” I didn’t know whether to smile or what, but as my eyes rested on the cane in his hand, I felt how those school days had only too often been extremely painful, but when you read some of the things I got up to, you will understand why… This way of life stayed with me all the way through my life…nothing was simple, nothing was easy and as I left school and started work in a furniture factory. Well, what could possibly happen there to be worth writing about? – but you wait to discover what all those seemingly innocent girls did to me on my first day there! After the furniture factory I went to a Sea Training School where I was sure that I would be happy from day one – but even Charles Dickens would have refused to write about that place which turned out to be a place bleaker than any of his stories as its strict discipline and starvation diet made it harsher than any prison in the land – or the world come to that. And then on to my early days at sea, to my life as a pop singer, to becoming a desperate travelling salesman before catching a balloon that launched me into a career in films and TV when I even co-starred in what was the world’s funniest TV series at the time – the top rated “Candid Camera” – and many other programmes and films… Even though I managed to catch a lot of different colourful balloons that filled my life with the most hair-raising ups and downs, most of which often ended in disastrous calamities, I still had a wonderful share of magical moments as well and, all in all, I promise that you will enjoy reading this book and when you get to the end of it I also promise you will feel so much happier than you did when you first picked it up… That’s why I have written this book!
The other book is fictional and a story for all the family to enjoy but, although fictional, it is based on five actual incidents and stories that happened to me for real. Each of the five stories that between them bridge over 200 years are different in so many ways from each other but in the end, regardless of which age they are set in, they strangely all come together as one. Individually and collectively the stories are packed with adventure and excitement yet, at the same time, are full of deep imagination that will bring into your lives some wonderful characters in a story the like of which you will almost certainly never have ever come across before.
I originally wrote this story as a screenplay for a feature film several years ago and at the time no fewer than nine film companies – including Disney – expressed an interest in acquiring the screen rights but, despite the fact that I was skint at the time, I decided to reject all the very tempting offers made to me and to try and find the time to write it as a book instead which would allow me to write the whole story and not just a detailed sketch of it as would be the case with a screenplay… Finding the time and the right frame of mind to write it took forever but now at last that time has come and here for you is the finished work – “Christmas Island”… No, it’s not about one of the two real Christmas Islands in our world for this one is not only a fictitious place but also a very beautiful and special one.
Only a handful of people have managed to get copies so far but, much to my relief, have written to say how much they enjoyed reading it and described it as being a book full of colour, charm, magic, suspense, mystery and the supernatural all woven together in a feast of ups and downs, of tears and joy. As you read through so the main characters will become part of you and you will want them to succeed as they are kind, generous and very giving – so what harm could possibly befall them? But it did and it did so precisely because of their kind-heartedness for early on in the book they are confronted by what was perhaps the world’s greatest evil, an evil with such huge power that wants to destroy all goodness on Earth and replace it with darkness and death for ever more. So, inadvertently, our friendly characters find themselves – both as individuals and collectively – the only ones on Earth who can possibly stand up to and defeat those malignant powers. But, although hopelessly out-numbered by this fearsome power, they find themselves in a fight to try to save our world from eternal darkness. It looks like an impossible task but this story is full of surprises and time and time again they live to fight another day… As the book draws to a close and the mighty powers of evil bring all their forces together in one massive act of destruction, so the good force tries for the last time to fight against the horrendous mass of evil, knowing that this would be their last chance to somehow defeat those callous wicked powers and save themselves and the rest of the world from the rule of darkness and the interminable greed and lust for hate that would then reign over the Earth forever.
Throughout the book the odds are heavily on the side of the dark forces of evil and at the end these forces set about the final battle that materialises in one enormous explosion of hatred and evil… Can the good people escape the super powerful forces of evil or will we all be in their dark hold forever?… Well, one thing is certain, the book will hold you in its grip as it takes you through the winding, magical pathways of life, pathways that give us beauty, bravery, fear, great sadness, fun, laughter and clouds of tearful love and emotion, all mixed with endless surprises that will really surprise. So do read it, because I hope so much that the whole family – from the very oldest to almost baby in the pram and if you are parents or even grandparents – will enjoy it and that you will be able to read it to your children for many years to come – especially at Christmas time!
Will it eventually be made into a film? – well there is a good chance it will so if you get a copy then make sure you hang on to it, because it is one of a very small print-run so it could be very rare..
The books cost £12.85p (a bargain these days) each plus p&p and you can order them from our website by clicking here……. or you can telephone us at on 00 44 (0) 1273 585391 and we will take your order over the phone… If you would like me to sign your book(s) then I would be delighted to do so… Or Click here for link to book purchase site.
Just a quick word about other books planned… I am halfway through the second volume of “Jumping for Balloons” which is a comprehensive look at life of a seafarer (me!) in the heyday of the British Merchant Navy but, as it’s about my experiences it will not be a normal look as so many other maritime books have been written to tell all this… No, for although mine will look at the factual and serious sides of life at sea, it will also try to capture the excitement, freedom and adventures seafarers enjoyed… I’ve titled this one: ”Carry On Sailor” and, just like one of those old “Carry On” films we all loved and enjoyed years ago this book will be packed with fun and laughter, for few people ever had as much fun and laughter as our sailors. I will of course tell of so many crazy, ridiculous and almost unbelievable things that happened to me… Honestly, if you enjoy a good old laugh, of which there seems to be an acute shortage of in our today’s world, then this book will remind you what “funny” is and have you rolling around the floor, helpless with laughter, regardless of whether you were ever at sea or not… It should be ready just after Christmas, and as it will be another book that you will want to read over and over again, and hopefully give you a permanent supply of laughter that will help to make 2022 a very happy year.
As I have also created getting on for two thousand cartoon strips (which have been published world-wide) which have taken laughter to the remotest places. True, funny comedy (not as shown on modern day TV) is international, multi-religious and inter- racial, so we will be putting them into book form as well… There’s “The Waterhole”, which here in the UK was published daily in “The Sun”, and a new strip, “Washed Up”, about two guys who have been shipwrecked on the smallest desert island in the world, yet even having no food or water or any chance of ever escaping, they still manage to keep their sense of humour – which makes it even funnier. Then there’s a book from my Children’s TV series “The Bubblies”, of which I produced 52 episodes for TV broadcast all over the world including here in the UK where it was on both ITV and on BBC Radio’s “Children’s Hour”.
There are many more…”Tugs”, “Poco the Panda”, “Captain Space Bin” – all so different from anything else and which, I am sure, most of you will love. Actually, I have also been approached by film companies asking about the screen rights to these and, with “Tugs”, they want to tell the whole story – chapter and verse – of how I initially created it as bedtime stories for my kids and how it all ended up being stolen and with me and the family including kids, getting death threats from people who stole it and then made it into a TV series. They want to show the years of me battling through the High Court to establish my copyright and the hardships we as a family suffered. So that should make a very original, dramatic and interesting film.
Once again these books will be published in limited runs to help make them personal and more collectible and, as they were all created for us, if you want them signed I will be only too pleased to do that just for you. Here’s a few samples of the cartoons…
“The Waterhole” and “Washed Up”
“Poco The Panda”
The strange character wearing just a long, long scarf wrapped around him is someone Poco bumps into whilst lost in the Himalayan mountains on his journey to find fame.. He is the Nowhere Man, because he doesn’t know where he comes from or where he’s going, but after seeing Poco’s amazing skills with a football, decides to become his manager. Everywhere they go on their long journey across the world to get to the UK is magical and in the story above the mountain is the Mountain-of-Next-Year’s-Birthday-Cakes, which was part of the wonderful thirty-minute pilot programme we made in Sweden,. The artwork was hand-drawn by some of Sweden’s top cartoonists including Ulf and Ingrid Sandberg and other great artists…The end result was wonderful!
I wish there was room to show you more characters I have developed but maybe we can include the artwork for the other creations in the next letter in which I will tell you about a very special double album I have recorded, all based on me – live on stage – which will, with luck, keep you laughing all the way through Christmas and well into the New Year.