Monday 31 December 2012

What the [deleted] is a Ford Asbo?

Ford Focus ST (2006) aka a Ford Asbo
I recently got a request to stick a glossary at the end of my books. Now I'll do that when they start putting them in Ed McBain's books but I'm not totally heartless.

If you're not British and you want an explanation for a term or a word that you've read in one of my books then ask in a comment below. I'll see about setting up a page with the explanations.

The management reserve the right to be sarcastic - you have been warned.


LauraJ said...

Just direct all of them to Google, Urban Dictionary, or one of the places that discusses British slang. I manage very well here in this provincial backwater.

Unknown said...

I didn't know I was missing cultural stuff until a Brit friend made a casual remark about White Van Man and I gave him the 3rd degree about the term.

olracUK said...

ASBO = Anti Social Behaviour Order - a low level court order aimed to prevent low life scum from upsetting Grannies. Seen as a badge of honour (not the 'U')in some circles.

Basically "don't do it again or we'll say stop again" and please stay indoors or hang out with your friends."

Jenna Leigh said...

I wondered, and so I googled. Seriously it's the internet, they can look up porn, and cats, and porn about folks dressed as cats but not Ford ASBO? Love the books BTW, looking forward to the new one, whenever is comes out over here.

Rebecca said...

If you are going to humor people who are cheeky enough to send in requests, then I will jump in happily with a few questions about your writing process.

And, yes, I Googled "Ben Aaronovitch writing habits" but all I got were pages of hits about your writing style. However, I'm already well familiar with that, having read your books. So now I am going straight to the source.

Which reminds me, I also searched this blog for "writing". I loved all the posts that garnered, only about half of which I'd already seen, but I didn't find quite what I was looking for. So if it is there and I missed it, I would be very grateful for a link to it whenever you might have a moment to post it here. Or on Twitter, for that matter. I did think of asking there, but was hoping for an answer of more than 140 characters.

In any case, here are my very basic questions.

About your schedule:

Do you try for a minimum number of pages per day? Write for a strictly enforced number of hours per day? Strictly enforce a specific time of day (or night) to write?

About research:

Do you try to do the bulk of any research before beginning the actual writing of a new book?

How do you handle research once you start writing - stop as soon as you realize you need to know something or continue with what you can & research it later?

Where do you draw the line to keep from going into too much detail?

Take knitting, for instance. If the main character is learning to knit, and will henceforth make a living from knitting, is it necessary to actually try to explain knitting in detail? Or could it just suffice to focus on the character's experiences of learning to knit, then being a professional knitter?

Particularly when you suspect that a vast number of your readers are not familiar with a particular topic, and may not find the actual details interesting, do you think it's acceptable to just gloss over them?

Somewhat related to that, do you ever find yourself getting sidetracked by researching details that, again, a vast majority of your readers probably won't notice or know about AND have no real impact on the story?

In relation to historical accuracy, for instance, it's probably not absolutely necessary to know what kind of cigarettes were being smoked in 1930's France only to mention it in passing. But those kinds of things can sometimes be interesting to check out just for curiosity's sake. Checking them out, though, can also lead to other things and then more things, until you have wasted half an afternoon on wild goose chases.

Do you often end up going down those kinds of rabbit holes, or find them easy to ignore and just write around them?

Any and all information you choose to share, whenever you get around to it, will be enormously appreciated. I enjoy your blog posts every bit as much as your fiction.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

I'm not afraid to ask. What is meant by "the Chelsea grenn wellie brigade"? I do know what green wellie is referring (not THAT provincial. Just don't get the significance of the phrase. Thanks.

Unknown said...

I can help there. The Chealsea Green Wellie Brigade are what we used to call Sloane Rangers, or Sloanes, named after Sloan Square, Chelsea. The daughters (and sons, but mostly daughters) of well to do families, for whom Daddy has bought a flat in Chelsea, and who weekends back at home or in Tarquin's stately pile. cf Chelsea Tractor, for the Range Rover Vogue's they drive.

Unknown said...

Thank you Matthew. Not only did you answer my question (despite all my typos), but you also defined "Sloane Rangers" which I had read in another book and was equally mysterious to me.

jmellby said...

In the confrontation with the Thames goddesses Grant states that he is a Freeman of London. As I understand it that isn't a title you get automatically, but have to be granted by the City of London or one of the Guilds. Has he really been greated Freedom of the City of London or was he speaking figuratively?

Ben Aaronovitch said...

Good question. The FREEDOM of the city is indeed ab honour bestowed by the City (the square mile). However Grant is referring to the traditional status of Londoners as free men (not serfs or tied to the land). Any serf that lived for a year and a day in London was legally a free man. It's more complicated than that of course but Peter doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, this page was the first hit when I typed in Ford Asbo in Google. I figured it was like the Ford Prefect - just with a named that matched the ASBO (learned about that from watching Misfits)

Shub said...

Jeremy Clarkson called it the Ford Asbo. ASBO is also when a judge tells you to stop being an asshole. I've gotten that far, but I don't really see the connection. Is it because the kind of person likely to drive a Ford Asbo is also likely to receive an ASBO?