James Bowen & Street Cat Bob: An Update

© Dwayne Senior

Among the first few blogposts I wrote on here was this one about James Bowen, his trusty sidekick Bob the street cat and their book “A Street Cat Named Bob”, which was published in March of 2012 and went on to top the UK’s (and many other countries’) bestseller list for up to a year straight!

Time has passed and quite a few things have happened for these two since the publication of their first book, so I thought I’d do kind of an update post here.

For those of you who might never have heard of James and Bob (seriously, though, have you been living under a rock?), let’s do a quick recap of who they are (everyone else can just skip to the next paragraph):
In 2007 James Bowen was a recovering drug addict living in supported housing in North London, when one night he met Bob, a ginger tom, who was hiding in his block of flats. He thought nothing of it at first but the next day, when Bob was still there, James discovered that he was injured and apparently didn’t live with anyone in the building, so James took him to a vet and paid for his medicine with literally the last money he had left from his meagre earnings as a busker. Then he nursed Bob back to health over the next two weeks and after that Bob followed him everywhere, even on the bus and to his busking pitch in busy Covent Garden. He simply refused to leave James’ side, so James decided to keep him, even though he had more than enough on his plate just trying to take care of himself. Letting Bob into his life gave him a new purpose and a new sense of responsibility, and he decided to get his life back on track after years of just surviving from one day to the next. James got a job as a Big Issue seller and soon the unusual pair were famous all over Covent Garden and later Islington, where James sold the Big Issue as well. It was there that James and Bob were “discovered” by a literary agent who asked James to write a book about their story and the rest is, as they say, history…

Spurred on by the success of this first book (and the children’s version, published about a year later), James was quickly asked by his publishers to write a follow-up memoir about the ways in which his and Bob’s life had changed since becoming celebrities and how “The World According to Bob” was treating them following their success.
After James and Bob then asked their readers “Where in the World is Bob?” with a “Where’s Wally”-type picture book, their second memoir was also re-edited to be published as a children’s version.
In 2014 James and Bob even published a Christmas book, describing in what ways the meaning of Christmas had changed for James after Bob came into his life.

Even though the phenomenon “James and Bob” has managed to capture both children and adult readers in equal measure, the latest additions to their array of publications have catered more to their younger fanbase: Two illustrated picture books, one telling a half-fictional tale of how Bob found his way to James (because obviously James doesn’t know where and how Bob lived before he found him), the other describing Bob’s adventures as the saviour of a lost puppy (yes, sometimes cats and dogs DO get along, and not only in fiction).

Apart from their literary achievements, James and Bob have been busy supporting various charities, they have appeared on TV a number of times now and (and this is probably the biggest development since my last post about them) the “A Street Cat Named Bob” movie has been shot in London and is now in post-production, starring Luke Treadaway as James, Ruta Gedmintas as his best friend Belle and Bob as himself (at least for close-ups). The casting agency even managed to get the likes of “Downton Abbey”‘s Joanne Froggatt, “Merlin”‘s Anthony Head, “Jericho”‘s Lorraine Ashbourne (one of my favourite British actresses) and Caroline Goodall of “The White Queen” fame on the team for this film, so it’s going to be a must-watch, not only for James and Bob fans!

So after all of this it’ll be interesting to see what else there might be in store for these two. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess…


Shakespeare and I

Not only has April 23rd been the International Day of the Book (or World Book Day) ever since 1995… for much longer it has also been the birthday (and death-day, actually) of a certain someone called William Shakespeare, and today we are celebrating it for the 450th time. Since the birthday boy is unable to make it to the party for obvious reasons (well… IF they were already done filming Series 8 of “Doctor Who” and IF they’d had the good sense to include a Shakespeare-themed episode this would have been a different story, perhaps, but alas, it isn’t to be 😉 ), I thought it would be nice to write a bit about my personal “encounters” with The Bard.

The first time I read anything by Shakespeare was in late 1996, around the time when the “Romeo & Juliet” movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes was released. I read the play before I’d seen the movie (I think) and even though I was struggling with Shakespearean English (I was 15 and had only been learning English for about 4 years), I thought the story was lovely and I even liked the writing (well, the parts I understood, at least). To be honest, though, I found it a bit weird to read about a pair of lovers who were only around my own age and wanted to be MARRIED (!!). Back then I didn’t really know much about history and that it was quite normal for people from a certain era to be married at such a young age. However, this didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the play and I wanted to read more of Shakespeare’s works. My friends got me The Complete Works of William Shakespeare for my birthday that year – a big, chunky paperback edition that is still sitting on my bookshelves to this day (and looking quite battered and well-loved by now).

The next time I came across a Shakespeare play was when we watched “Dead Poets Society” at school and that movie made me want to read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I didn’t get very far, though, because to be honest, I found it a bit too silly and weird with all the enchanted humans-/woodland creatures-/fantasy-themed drama. That wasn’t my cup of tea back then (it still isn’t, really), so I stopped reading pretty soon and when we did the play in class at uni several years later (what with me doing English Lit and all), it took some convincing to get me to pick it up again. This time around, I enjoyed it a bit more but I can’t say that it’ll ever be among my favourites.

Another play I came across at school was “Much Ado About Nothing”. I had watched the Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson movie adaptation first and got to watch a brilliant modern performance of the play during a visit to Berlin with my mum in 1998 before actually reading the play myself for class. Sadly my English teacher at the time wasn’t very successful in getting my classmates interested in the play, so we basically just read it and talked about the text very briefly. Still, it’s my all-time favourite of the plays I’ve read, I just love all the witty wordplays and innuendoes and the characters of Benedick and Beatrice.

In 2000 we went on a week-long school trip to London and got to do a workshop at The Globe Theatre there, which also included going up on stage and reciting/acting out a few lines from various Shakespeare plays. To this day I never fail to mention to everyone who cares to hear it (and those who don’t 😉 ) that I once stood on the stage of The Globe, reciting Shakespeare! 🙂 We also went to Stratford-upon-Avon during this trip and saw Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s cottage and also Shakespeare’s grave in the Holy Trinity Church there.

When I started uni I got my first taste of Shakespeare’s history plays and it came in the form of “Richard II”. I absolutely hated that play! Well, not the play itself, but the character of Richard with his whiny, spoilt-brat-personality, who kind of reminded me of Dudley Dursley from the Harry Potter books. He totally ruined the play for me. And yes, I know that the reader is supposed to hate him but I just couldn’t get past this and enjoy the plot, I just kept thinking what an awful person he was and that overshadowed everything. I plan on reading it again sometime, though, hopefully I’ll enjoy it a bit more then.

For the same class at uni I had to read “Hamlet” and “Macbeth” and I quite liked both of them, possibly “Hamlet” a bit more than “Macbeth” because I got really fed up and annoyed with the character of Lady Macbeth, kind of in the same vein as with Richard II. These two I plan on reading again sometime as well because I’ve forgotten quite a lot about their plots already.

A different class at uni dealt with a few others of the history plays, namely “Richard III”, “Henry IV (Parts 1 & 2)” and “Henry V”. Out of these, I liked the two Henries the best but for some reason I wouldn’t want to read them again, as opposed to “Richard III”, which I somehow feel I’ll enjoy much more now that I know quite a bit more about the real Richard III.

That’s it for the plays I’ve read so far. Not too many, I know, but hopefully that’ll change over time. As for the poetical works of Shakespeare, I’ve only read a few of the sonnets. My favourites are Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) and Sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments”). I can still recite both of these off by heart, even though I haven’t read them in ages. They are just so lovely!

So which are your favourite works by Shakespeare and why? Let me know in the comments.

“Life’s a mixed bag, no matter who you are.”

Last Tuesday I had a day off and after running a few errands in town I ended up browsing the “New Releases” blu-ray shelf at the local MediaMarkt (which is kind of a mix of HMV and Currys/Dixons). Not only did I find “The Day of the Doctor” there (and an unabridged version for a change as well, usually all the BBC productions are missing a few minutes on their German releases), but also discovered that the newest film written by Richard Curtis (of “Love Actually” and “Notting Hill” fame) had finally been released after it had completely escaped my notice when it was in cinemas last year.

The film is called “About Time” and it’s about… well, time. Or time travel, to be exact. It tells the story of Tim Lake (played by Domhnall Gleeson), who, at the age of 21, is being told by his father (Bill Nighy) that all men in their family have the ability to travel in time. They can’t change history in the grand scheme of things but they can change what happened in their own past or simply relive their favourite moments again and again. Mind you, the whole concept of this seems a bit “dumbed-down” for someone who watches things like “Doctor Who” practically on a daily basis, because somehow Tim and his father never meet their past selves on these trips back in time and therefore actually changing things is much more easily and smoothly done than you’d expect. It’s still great fun to watch Tim embark on his mission to finally get a girlfriend, because that is what he decides to use his special power for (after being told that his other idea, trying to get his hands on as much money as possible, has basically ruined one of his uncles).
After moving from his Cornwall home to London to train as a lawyer (and to be house-mates with an eternally grumpy friend of the family, brilliantly portrayed by Tom Hollander) he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), a lovely, quirky American girl and they fall in love. However, various situations require him to attempt do-overs through trips back in time and these have consequences on his present life. The entire time you’re expecting him to mess up his relationship with Mary and for things to end badly (only to be fixed in the last third of the film, of course, this IS being marketed as a rom-com, after all). However, unlike “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually”, this isn’t a film about things going wrong and having to be fixed (though in a way it is, of course, because that’s basically all Tim ever does through his trips back in time, just not in the sense that our hero and heroine are torn apart and have to be re-united in the end). It is a film about being happy with the people you love and care about and about spending the time you have on this planet wisely, even if you should be in the rather unique position of being able to travel in time and change things. Of course there still IS a rather big thing (or two) going wrong in this film, because we all know a good story needs conflict, an obstacle, something that can’t be fixed or overcome, no matter what super-power you might possess. I won’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to spoil things for you, so I’ll just say this: I never knew a film about a family just being genuinely happy could be this moving and inspiring and just so GOOD. If this one doesn’t become an instant favourite with you, I don’t know what will. Go and watch this, now!! And if you still need encouragement, here’s the trailer:

Let me know what you think about it once you’ve seen it! 🙂

The Last Frost Fair on the River Thames

When I first read about the River Thames frost fairs in a novel I was instantly fascinated by the idea. Living in a time and area where the winter is hardly ever cold enough for a small lake to freeze over solidly enough for ice-skating, it is a rather marvellous thought to have a mighty river such as the Thames freeze so solidly that even an elephant was able to cross it – this was done at the last Thames frost fair that lasted four days from February 1st, 1814.
Between the 1400s and the early 19th century the Thames froze over about 25 times. The flow of the river was much slower back then – ever since the old London Bridge with its huge pillars was dismantled, riverside marches have been drained and embankments erected, the river has been able to flow more freely and this combined with the mild winters of modern times makes it highly unlikely for the Thames to ever really freeze over again.

When it did, though, Londoners made the most of it and set up huts and stalls on the ice and turned the frozen river into a full-blown party location, unlicensed drinking and gambling being the main attractions. During the last frost fair of 1814, even printers set up shop with their presses on the ice to produce postcards and other printed memorabilia of the event. A small sheep was roasted and fair visitors charged to view it and its meat then sold as ‘Lapland mutton’.

It wasn’t all fun and games, though, even if the area between Blackfriars and London Bridge was lined with over 30 stalls and booths and the main throughfare quickly named ‘City Road’. The ground was still ice and ice can melt or break. A large chunk of it broke off near London Bridge and carried off a man and two boys, who were lucky enough to be rescued by fishermen at Billingsgate. Two women fell through the ice and were also rescued by Thames watermen (who also often charged people for entry to the fair) but a plumber carrying some lead wasn’t so lucky when he fell through the ice.

On the 5th of February the wind turned to the south and brought sleet, rain and warmer temperatures. The thaw was so quick that two men who went on the ice on the 6th fell in and were carried off before they could be rescued. This marked the end of the last frost fair on the Thames. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a time-machine now to be able to go and see this event for myself – actually, the frost fairs are such a huge part of London folklore that even The Doctor and a few of his companions went there in the TARDIS (only in the audio or printed adventures, though, sadly).

The last frost fair in 1814

The King’s Army Parade

Yesterday was the last Sunday of January, which meant that the English Civil War Society gathered on The Mall to hold their annual King’s Army Parade to commemorate the execution of King Charles I on 30th January 1649. Elevated by his son, Charles II, to the position of a martyr, Charles I is immortalised in the form of a statue that stands on a traffic island in Trafalgar Square (this used to be the site of the original Charing Cross and it is from here that all distances from London are measured).

The Royalist division of the English Civil War Society sets off on a sombre march from St James’s Palace to Horseguards Parade and there the chaplain of the society gives a brief explanation of the goings-on (mostly for the benefits of any tourists watching) and afterwards reads from the Book of Common Prayer. Medals are being presented and more readings carried out by other participants and finally, three officers of the King’s Army proceed through the arches of Horseguards and cross busy Whitehall to hang a wreath on the metal railings outside Banquetting House, which is the spot where Charles I was executed. The parade is no longer allowed to continue onto Whitehall due to the inconvenience of having to close off the street for traffic.

Pics of yesterday’s parade can be seen on this site.

23/24 Leinster Gardens (as seen on ‘Sherlock’)

If you’re a ‘Sherlock’ fan like me you’ll no doubt have seen the most recent episode about the world-famous (if fictional) sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson. The show, written by Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame) and Mark Gatiss (who also plays Sherlock’s even more ingenious brother Mycroft on the show), regularly delights its viewers with quirky little tidbits of trivia knowledge about London. The most recent example of this are the dummy houses at 23/24 Leinster Gardens. Dummy houses, you say? Yes, indeed.

In the 1860s, when the terraced houses in this upmarket area of Bayswater were erected, London’s Underground trains were still running on steam engines and in order to keep the subterranean parts of the lines free of smoke, there had to be a few open spaces here and there where the fumes could be released. To hide this rather unattractive sight from a picturesque street such as Leinster Gardens, the Tube people came up with the idea to have two fake house frontispieces built to provide an unbroken façade along the street.

ImageWalking past No. 23/24 Leinster Gardens you hardly notice anything odd about these houses. It’s only upon closer inspection that you realise the windows are painted and there are no letterboxes (or even doorknobs) on the front doors. Otherwise, it all looks just the same as the neighbouring properties. Go round the back, however, and you get to see a completely different view.

ImageSo in typically British fashion, the ‘necessary evil’ in the form of the London Underground has been put “out of sight, out of mind” here and on top of that people like me get to blog about this quirky little fact of London life. 🙂 Win-win, eh?

It’s a boy!

Finally! Demonstrating impeccable timing the royal baby chose the hottest day of the year in Britain to be born and the world awaited the announcement with baited breath, while the media that had been gathered outside the hospital for weeks finally sprung into action. The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to St Mary’s Hospital shortly before 6am and was accompanied by her husband, Prince William. Apparently they didn’t know the gender of their baby beforehand and were planning on a natural birth. The 3rd in line to the throne, a boy weighing 8lbs 6oz was finally born at 4.24pm on July 22nd and just over four hours later the announcement of his birth was made and placed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, where thousands of well-wishers had already gathered.

To see the real deal, however, the world had to wait until the following evening when finally the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left the hospital at around 9:15pm on July 23rd and presented their as-yet-unnamed baby boy to the media and countless onlookers. Dressed in a spotted Jenny Packham number, very reminiscent of Diana’s outfit from 31 years ago when she took baby William home, Kate carried her son out and then carefully handed him to her husband before the couple answered a few questions. They revealed that the first nappy change had already taken place and that it had been William who did the honours, that Baby Cambridge was quite a big boy with a good pair of lungs on him and that they were still working on a name. Asked about the baby’s looks, Prince William joked that he had Kate’s looks (to which she replied laughing “No, no, I’m not sure about that!”) and a lot more hair than himself, “thank God”. The couple then went back inside for a few minutes to put the baby in a car seat, which William very competently secured in the car that he then drove himself in the direction of Kensington Palace. After the new family had left the crash barriers were opened and lots of hospital staff were seen celebrating and hugging each other, obviously thrilled to have been part of “Operation Royal Baby”.

With the birth over now comes the task of raising that little boy who will one day be King. Good luck with that, Kate & William!

The new family

UPDATE: …and the name is… George Alexander Louis! Personally, I would have preferred James, I think George sounds as if he’s 60 already. But to each their own, I suppose. 🙂

The Golden Couple of Politics?

Thursday night BBC 2 aired the third and final episode of its contemporary political drama ‘The Politician’s Husband’ starring David Tennant and Emily Watson as a married couple with high ambitions in the microcosm of Westminster politics.

After ‘Broadchurch’ (see this post to read about my thoughts on that one) I was curious to see what Tennant would make of this role. I hadn’t really read anything about the storyline beforehand, so when the first episode played out as it did I was pretty surprised. Some people might say the title of the show was a suggestion as to how things would go but I certainly didn’t see it coming. That said, though, it was really enjoyable to watch Freya basically outwitting her husband and becoming her own person as opposed to the pawn in his powerplay.

The beginning of the second episode seems to be quite ambiguous among TV critics and viewers. Alison Graham, TV editor at the Radio Times, writes that in her opinion rape and, as in this case, especially marital rape doesn’t belong on a freeview channel. The comments to her article show that even though quite a few of her readers agree with her, there’s also the odd disagreeing voice among them and I am one of those as well. If we can have murder, child abuse, suicide and other deeds depicting the darkest depths of the human soul on TV on a daily basis, then why should we shun something that occurs just as frequently in real life – even if behind closed doors and not as openly discussed – as the other things I mentioned? Just because it makes us uncomfortable to watch doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown. I’m sure there were times when watching a psychopath torturing his victim before killing it off made us uncomfortable, too, but did we ban those plots from our TV screens? No? So there.

‘The Politician’s Husband’ shows how a woman rises from the shadows of her husband to becoming a powerful figure in her own right, though at first it is by a mere coincidence which no one expected. It all comes at a price, though, and for me it was much more uncomfortable than watching that rape scene to watch the scenes where Aidan and Freya play the happy couple and they are so good at it that the viewer almost believes it’s not an act at all. But then you see the underlying hostility and distrust between them in their eyes and you realize that even when they are at their strongest, most united point in the storyline, which is right at the end of the final episode, it’s all just superficial and nothing has really been resolved between them. For me this final scene is all about that saying “Keep your friends close but your enemies even closer” and it’s just really sad to watch how this marriage that seemed so strong and happy and genuine at the beginning of the first episode turns into this farce. At some point in either the second or the third episode Freya asks her husband “Love without respect, is that even possible?”. I think by the end of the third episode their relationship has sadly changed to respect without love.

However, even though I was saddened by how it all played out for their marriage and their relationship, as a woman it was certainly very entertaining and satisfying for me to watch how Aidan’s pathetic scheming backfired and he got his just deserts in the end, having to yield the real power to his wife. 🙂

What really bugged me throughout the episodes, though (and I know it’s nitpicking and doesn’t really take away anything from the plot and the acting, which was brilliant, but still), is that a) the entire show seemed like an advert for Apple (iPhones galore, an iMac in the office, a Macbook on the kitchen counter, an iPad on the nightstand… Did Tim Cook write the script or what?) and b) the aforementioned iPhones kept ringing loudly throughout the episodes and almost every time when the call’s recipient picked them up they were ALWAYS set to silent mode and the little orange thingy on the side was clearly visible. Hello, editing department? Are you familiar with iPhones at all?

Yes, I’ll shut up now. 😉

Hats off, Strangers!

The State Opening of Parliament is always an excellent opportunity to watch the British monarchy in action at what they do best: Pomp and pageantry! It marks the commencement of a session of Parliament including a speech by the monarch, outlining what measures and actions will be put into place by the government in the coming year. It is a ceremony full of rituals and symbolism dating back centuries, and therefore it is a must-see event for a British history buff like myself. 🙂 Just in case you aren’t familiar with the proceedings, let me explain a few of the key parts of the ceremony.

Before the Queen arrives at the Houses of Parliament a ceremonial searching of the cellars is carried out by the Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest existing British military corp (not to be confused with the Yeomen Warders a.k.a. “Beefeaters”, who are guarding the Tower of London). This dates back to 1605, when on November 5 of that year the Catholic revolutionary Guy Fawkes and his accomplices were caught red-handed in the cellar beneath the Palace of Westminster, trying to blow up the House of Lords in an attempt to kill the Protestant king James I. Ever since then the cellars have been searched before the State Opening of Parliament.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who usually accompanies her to this event, arrive from Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession. Prior to that the Imperial State Crown is being taken to the Palace of Westminster in a separate State Coach to be worn by the Queen during her speech.

Once the Queen has put on the Parliament Robe of State and the Imperial State Crown in the robing chamber and has entered the House of Lords, she first addresses the House with the words “My Lords, pray be seated” and then instructs the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to summon the House of Commons. Black Rod walks down the corridor connecting both chambers, accompanied by an inspector of police who shouts “Hats off, strangers!” to the people watching along the way. Upon approaching the House of Commons the doors of the chamber are slammed shut in Black Rod’s face. This is due to the fact that ever since in 1642 King Charles I rushed into the House of Commons to have five members arrested for treason no monarch has been allowed to enter the House of Commons. Black Rod then knocks on the door to the chamber with his staff three times and is then allowed to enter. With the following words he commands the House of Commons to follow him to the House of Lords: “Mister Speaker, The Queen commands this honourable House [pauses to bow to both sides of the House] to attend Her Majesty immediately in the House of Peers.” Usually this is greeted by an amusing remark from Labour MP Dennis Skinner (who is known for having been suspended from Parliament several times for using foul language) before the MPs set off in a casual procession down the corridor. Once they have arrived at the Bar of the House of Lords the Queen begins reading out her speech, which really isn’t her speech at all but has been written by the government. The speech concludes with the words: “My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels”. The Queen then leaves the House of Lords and the Commons return to their chamber for a debate on the speech, which concludes the proceedings.

If you’d like to watch today’s State Opening of Parliament, I recommend YouTube user belfastjack’s videos, who uploaded the entire BBC broadcast from this morning in four parts. Here’s the first:

The Incredible Story of One Man and His Cat

A Street Cat Named BobWhenever I’m being asked who my heroes are I’m quick to name Joanne Rowling and James Bowen and Bob the cat. Now I’m sure all of you will be familiar with the first name in that list but what about the other two? And, more importantly, why do I count a cat among my personal heroes? Well, if by any chance you’ve been following the Sunday Times bestseller list over the past year you will probably have heard of James Bowen and his ginger tomcat Bob. Their first book “A Street Cat Named Bob” has been in the Top Ten for a whole year and there’s even a rumour about a forthcoming movie adaptation. Twice there has been an article about the author James Bowen and his ginger tom Bob in the Sunday Times and numerous other online and print publications have written about them, around the world.

What is the book about, then?

When James Bowen, a formerly homeless busker and drug addict, came home one evening from another busking session in Covent Garden to his flat in North London, he befriended a ginger tom that was hiding in his building. He’d been attacked by another animal and as James couldn’t find his owner anywhere close by he decided to take him in. He literally gave every last penny of his meagre income to have the cat treated by a vet and to buy medicine for him. And he gave him a name: Bob.

Once Bob was well again, James wanted to let him go on his way as by then he’d concluded that he was probably a stray, but Bob had made his choice and had decided to stay with James. From then on he not only followed James down the road to the bus stop, he even travelled with him to Central London, where the pair quickly became a sort of tourist attraction to the Covent Garden crowds. While James continued with his busking or selling the street magazine “The Big Issue”, Bob sat at his feet, watching the world go by.

After a while the first YouTube videos of the unusual pair appeared and their fan base grew. However, it was only after a literary agent, who passed the two of them every day on her way into work, had decided to approach James and ask him if he wanted to write a book about their story, that those few videos turned into a phenomenon that incorporated not only a No. 1 bestseller, but also a Facebook page, a Twitter account, numerous TV appearances, an official fan club (The Streetcats), a foto blog with pictures of the book taken at various locations around the world, a special children’s edition of the book that was released earlier this year, a forthcoming sequel to the book that’s coming out in July 2013 and a possible movie adaptation in the vein of “Marley & Me”.

After this phenomenal year James and Bob haven’t stopped going out busking but ever since the first royalties came through they can now take things a bit easier. James has been clean for quite some time now and it really shows when you compare those recent TV appearances with videos from the “early days”. Life is finally treating him well and the friendship with Bob has definitely changed his life quite dramatically. The gratitude and affection that connects those two best friends is clearly visible for everyone. They have found each other at just the right time in both of their lives. To put it in James’s words: “It’s karma!”

I have been following those two since 2010, when I read this blog post about them and watched the video that was linked to in there. On July 11th, 2012 I finally had the chance to meet them on my trip to London (see pic below) and it is still one of the best days of my life! James is such a warm, sincere and affectionate man and Bob is simply amazing (and he has the softest, silkiest fur I have ever felt!). I’m very excited to  see what else there is to come for them!