Not all 'World Firsts' are as impressive as they sound. I like to think of them as falling into two distinct 'kinds'. There's the important 'first kind', such as: First Man on the Moon (Neil Armstrong), First Trans-Atlantic Wireless Message (Guglielmo Marconi), and First Computer Programmer (Ada Lovelace).
And then there's the somewhat less important 'second kind', such as: First Man to Stuff 50 Marshmallows Up His Nose (Carl Crowley), First Resident of Kentucky to Rebuild a BMW Car in Their Sitting Room (Gerald Stanley), and The New Zealand Reserve Bank Annual 2010 (David Haywood).
Yes, that's right, folks -- today we can announce our very own World First here on Public Address: the very first children's annual devoted to the subject of central banking.
It's actually a surprise to discover that no-one has thought of publishing such a book before. As I say in the blurb: "From xylophones to your favourite type of sausages, the theory of economics affects everything you do. And yet how much, if anything, have you told to your children?" To me, at any rate, it's an obvious best-seller.
Mind you, following on from the mild success of My First Stabbing hasn't been straightforward. It's not easy to produce a children's annual that conforms to my rigorous quality-control checklist:
- Completely unsuitable for children
- Alienates my entire support base of previous readers
- Offends almost everyone -- thus resulting in sales of practically zero books
- Special 'no stain' cover that's fully wipeable.
But, y'know, somehow I think I've managed to do it.
The book features the four short 'Alan Bollard' stories that have already appeared on Public Address -- plus two additional feature-length 'Bollard' stories that have never appeared before. But that's not all: there's a board game, a history section, songs, a play, children's corner, crossword puzzle, celebrity news, DIY, and even sex advice. Everything that you could possibly want in a children's annual about central banking. You can see a preview here.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the illustrations... the marvellous illustrations. They nearly gave me a nervous breakdown.
Of course, some people employ the term 'nervous breakdown' in a casual and careless sense. But I have an actual medical diagnosis from one of the people who took early delivery of the book (via the pre-purchase option):
Hello, just reading your new book. I work in the mental heath sector. Are you bipolar? Would be interested to know.
Ah yes, the famous mental "heath" sector -- not to be confused with the more medically-recognized mental health sector. I suspect this person is trying to insinuate something about my personality, although I'm not quite sure what it is.
Other pre-purchasers have queried whether I am on drugs, and as a follow-up question, whether I can get my "dealer" to send them some.
The answers to these questions are: no, no, and no. I'm just high on the thrill of central banking, baby.
Financial journalist, Bernard Hickey, has already previewed the book on interest.co.nz, saying it's:
The funniest version of an annual report from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand I have ever seen.
Of course, those of you who have experienced the humour in the regular Reserve Bank Annual Reports will appreciate that this is very high praise indeed.
If you're interested, you can purchase the The New Zealand Reserve Bank Annual 2010 directly through the Public Address Books website. Or, if you live in the Wellington area, you can buy one without delay from the new books section of Arty Bees fabulous shop. In either an insightful prediction of market response, or simple recklessness, they have laid in a large stock -- so there should be plenty to go around.