Pump Up Your Book: “Trading Vincent Crow” by D.C.J. Wardle Book Tour

By Ruth on July 3, 2013 in blog tour, book, guest post, promo

Trading Vincent Crow Cover


Vince Crow had heard somewhere that you could trade a piece of useless junk on the internet and within a year of swapping it for better and better things you could get cool stuff. Crow decided that he himself was going to start off as that piece of tat, jump from one job to the next; indeed he would trade one lifestyle for a new one, until he was finally a success. Every three months he would have to trade-up for an entirely new life – new job, new girl, new wheels, new pad, new threads – until he reached the top.

The plan of comparing himself to a used item traded over the internet was of course marginally flawed, as there is a human factor to all of this which he’d over-looked. Besides, success isn’t just about work. It’s about the car, the clothes, the house, and getting the girl, so changing all of that with every new trade upwards is a lot more difficult than swapping an old stereo in the classifieds. Crow quickly learns what the price of success really is. An education he would never have got if he had gone to college.

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Vince scraped the gunk from the bottom of the final saucepan

with his water-wrinkled hand. He plunged it into the lukewarm,

murky water of the sink and scrubbed half-heartedly at the

bottom with a scourer. He was convinced that his boss wouldn’t

mistreat the pans, or use quite so many, if she was the poor

bugger who had to wash them up afterwards. Natalie Sedgwick,

who was both the cook of questionable bar-meals, and spouse

of the pub’s owner, was currently in the bar enjoying the New

Year’s Eve party. Vince imagined her, G&T in hand, flirting

with the regulars. She would be laughing in an over-the-top

way at their crude jokes whilst Dennis, her husband, polished

glasses at the end of the bar, watching in silent annoyance and

jealousy. She had about as much apathy towards Vince’s desire

for an easier run, as Vince had towards his current occupation.

Delving into the depths of the industrial-sized sink, Vince

located and removed the plug, watched the water slowly gurgle

down, and then began to scrape more gunk and soggy bits of

vegetable from around the plug hole. Natalie Sedgwick had a

thing about her sink looking cleaner than the pots that were

scrubbed in it.

Vince swept and mopped the floor of the kitchen. The

muffled sounds of 70’s Christmas classics accompanied the

shouted conversations of people with better jobs than him, who

didn’t have to work on public holidays. Once he’d finished, he

propped the broom up in the corner, he grabbed his coat and left

via the back door which led into the car park. Having dumped

the evening’s black bag of soggy leftovers in the bins at the top

of the car park, he began his walk home. Passing the front of the

pub, he peered through the window at the drunken mob of

revellers. He knew a lot of them. Through the frosted pane he

could see Jenny Davis, a girl that he’d had a crush on throughout

school. She was at the end of the bar getting-off with Dan

Bridges, whom coincidentally he had also been at school with

and despised with a passion. Jenny was now a receptionist at a

car rental place. Dan worked on a till in a supermarket. Vince

pondered at how amazingly pathetic a bunch of drunken people

appear when you yourself are sober, and yet somewhere within

him was a need to be as drunk and pathetic as them. After all,

being wasted and getting off with Jenny Davis was the pinnacle

of aspiration in small town life. It didn’t get any better. The days

in-between such fleeting moments of excitement were a

monotonous drudgery, and it would never change. Jenny was

not going to progress past receptionist. She neither had the drive,

the skills or the opportunity. Indeed, her looks had probably

helped her land the job and a younger, better looking girl would

eventually come along and replace her. Meanwhile, Dan was

always going to be a thug. He was a violent piece of work at

school and was still a moron now. His strong jaw-line, rugged

appearance and just enough money to buy attractive girls drinks

would carry him along until he eventually got one of them

pregnant and would have to get married. He’d then realise he

actually had a naff job, a life which had acquired responsibilities,

and then take out the frustrations of his wasted existence on his

kids. Their offspring would in turn on go to become thugs and

terrorise more sensitive kids at school. This was a circle of life

that was rarely covered on in-depth documentaries.

As Vince crossed the road opposite the pub, he turned on

hearing the front door of the pub swing open and two pissed-up,

middle-aged women staggered out. The stagger was

emphasised by their clothes that were a few sizes too small and

rather impractical for the cold urban winter. Their make-up was

applied liberally to evoke a message of availability. The first one

immediately fell into a bush next to the porch. The second then

screeched with laughter at an unnecessarily high volume. Having

realised this noisy display had failed to attract any welcome

attention from passing hunks, she knelt on the ground and

began to throw-up loudly into a pot plant: damp soil and vomit

no doubt making an unwelcome addition to the peroxide. Should

these delightful ladies remember any of their display, a

romanticised version of the incident would surely be their big

story for many Friday nights to come. Vince looked through the

open door at the groups of drunken party-goers. A week before

he would have walked right in there and joined the crowd. He

would have happily spent all the money he’d just earned whilst

washing-up their dirty dishes trying to become part of the Jenny

and Dan social group. He would eventually leave with less

money and a similar social status to when he started, but the

water-wrinkled hands from a night of washing up would remain.

Instead he walked straight past the pub and started down

the road towards home with a wry grin spreading across his

face. Vince Crow had been party to a revelation the day before,

that was going to change his life forever. He was no longer one

of the small town crowd that delighted in tales of vomiting into

plant pots. Vince Crow was about to start living life differently.



D. C. J. Wardle holds post graduate qualifications in development management as well as community water supply engineering. Over the past twelve years he has worked extensively in developing countries in Africa and Asia, managing emergency and development programmes. You can visit D.C.J. Wardle’s website at: www.dcjwardle.co.uk

His latest book is Trading Vincent Crow.


Slide-shows (Guest post from the author)

As a small child, the family summer holiday to a caravan near a beach in Wales would be followed by the inevitable post-holiday slide show. Something we all anticipated with a combination of mild interest and dread. Dad had invested in a carousel slide projector and screen. The slides would come back from the shop a few weeks after the holiday and then Dad would spend the whole of the next Saturday afternoon crouched over them on the bedroom floor, holding them up to the light from the window to work out which way up they went. He would then place each of them in a slot on the carousel. That evening the screen would be set up at the end of the living room and the projector would be balanced on a pile of strategically stacked books.

The lights would be extinguished, the anticipation-induced silence only broken as the machine noisily shuffled and clicked like an old photocopier until the first slide appeared. The chances of the slide arriving up-side-down were high. Dad would then reverse the machine up several places until he could get to it. The lights would come back on, the slide would be removed, held up to the light and examined to make sure it was the right one, and eventually returned to the carousel the other way up. The lights would be switched off and more clicking and shuffling followed until the picture reappeared. Then there would be a prolonged series of loud whirrings while Dad fiddled with a different button to focus the picture in and out as he peered over his bifocals. Eventually the image would appear: Mum, my sister and me in front of the harbour, with the sea behind us flowing downhill.  Just as the captive audience began to observe the slide it would do a slight pop and go out of focus again, presumably from the heat generated by the projector’s bulb combined with the whirring in and out. It would be focused yet again and admired until one of us would point out that the writing on the side of the boats in the harbour was back to front, and then the whole process of getting the slide out to turn it round again would begin.

Time consuming though this was, it was nothing in comparison to the tooth-pulling process of the slide being taken in the first place. Dad would line up the family in front of a monument or a sandcastle, and then remove his camera from his bag. It was quite an old but elaborate one which had been left to him by an aunt. It came equipped with a light-meter, and a flash attachment, and various dials and settings, all of which needed to be checked, fiddled with or focused before each photo. When eventually ready, Dad would elaborately raise his index finger and then firmly push on the button so we knew the picture had been taken. In retrospect, this might well be the explanation for the sea always flowing downhill.

In ‘Trading Vincent Crow’, the modern hell of technology is also a stumbling block Vince has to try to overcome as well. Cars, factory machines, and fire-extinguishers are amongst the modern aids he has to deal with, often with limited success and unfortunate consequences.


About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher


  1. Maree Pascoe July 4, 2013 Reply

    Hi Ruth,

    I came across the Trading Vincent Crow book tour yesterday when I visited Daniel Alexander’s ‘Parenting 2.0’ website and have decided to follow the tour for the rest of the month.

    I read Trading Vincent Crow after listening to a very amusing podcast on D C J Wardle’s website. I really like the writing style and his sense of humour shines through so that I frequently found myself laughing out loud (which I did again reading this guest post – I’m sure many of us can relate to such experiences from childhood)! I hope there’s another book on the way from this author.


  2. D.C.J Wardle July 4, 2013 Reply

    Hi Ruth,
    Thanks for featuring my book and the guestpost on your site.

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