A tale of two vans – proofreading and beyond

Proofreading can only fix so much. In my case, what it didn’t find all starts with a tale of two vans – proofreading can’t help me now…

Putting off the inevitable

It’s several weeks since the editing and proofreading process for The Dead Straight Guide To Queen ended and it went off to the printers. I’ve had a printed copy for over a week now and have leafed through it but haven’t felt ready to read it properly until now. The main reason is because, with the best will in the world, some mistakes are likely to sneak their way through proofreading and I knew how bad I’d feel when I found them. It’s well-known that it’s not possible to proofread one’s own writing effectively; having started work on some elements of the book back in 2011 and having been immersed in it all for most of 2017, it was really difficult to read it without scanning some sections unconsciously. Whilst the proofreaders can pick up on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure etc, they won’t necessarily be familiar with the more ancient and obscure details of a book’s subject.

So, after some time away from it I’m now able to read the book a little more effectively. The result, as I feared, is the discovery of some sections I would have liked the opportunity to phrase in a better way, plus a couple of discrepancies. I have some other commitments over the next few days but will return to the task of reading the rest of the book shortly. In the meantime, I’ve listed below a couple of things I’ve already spotted.

What I’ve found so far

  • I clearly misinterpreted a comment by Neil Battersby, quoted in Rupert White’s Queen In Cornwall. The Reaction didn’t have a ‘fleet’ of two vans. As I explained a few pages before the incorrect statement in Section One, they didn’t obtain their Ford Thames van until they’d lost their original Bedford van.
  • In Section Two, I mentioned that Roger’s flat was in Sinclair Gardens, Shepherd’s Bush. A few pages later, I referred to it again, but placed it in Kensington; the earlier Shepherd’s Bush address was the correct one.
  • In Section Seven I referred to Roger’s debut solo single, as “a cover of Detroit Soul’s ‘(I Wanna) Testify’”. My original notes referred to “a cover of Detroit soul band The Parliaments’ ‘(I Wanna) Testify’”. I think a better version is “a cover of The Parliaments’ 1967 hit ‘(I Wanna) Testify’”. (I haven’t read to this point in the book; I just happened to spot the error when scanning through it.)

If anyone spots anything else and would like to let me know, I’d appreciate feedback in comments to this page. Thanks in anticipation (hopefully of not too many error reports).

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