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The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir Hardcover – June 1, 2010
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Eric Poole is the secret love child of Fran Lebowitz and David Sedaris. But oddly taller. The author of Where's My Wand and a VP of radio marketing for a major media company, Eric resides in Los Angeles with his partner of eight years. Recently he sat down with Josh Kilmer-Purcell to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Josh interviewed Eric.
Eric: How many jobs can one person have? You're a bestselling author, an advertising exec, a gentleman farmer and the star of the Fabulous Beekman Boys reality series. Don't you know that unemployment is 8.5%?
Josh: You raise a really good point. Since only one of those jobs pays more than minimum wage, I wonder if I can collect some sort of unemployment?
Eric: In your new memoir The Bucolic Plague, your partner Brent gives vivid and highly amusing life to the term "control freak." Does he make up for it in other ways, or are you just medicated?
Josh: If it weren’t for Brent, I would still be living in a crappy rental apartment spending my evenings reading crappy books and watching mindless television shows rather than writing crappy books and starring in mindless television shows. I’m inherently very lazy. While having a control freak as a partner might seem difficult from the outside, it certainly does motivate oneself to get off one’s ass…if for no other reason than to shut him up.
Eric: I was so rooting for you and Brent in this book. I started the book in Mexico and couldn't leave the room until I finished it. You owe me a suntan.
Josh: Years from now, when you don’t find a giant, discolored, Arkansas-shaped mole in your bikini region, you will thank me.
Eric: The Bucolic Plague is the story of how you came to buy the farm that your reality series is about. What on earth made you think buying and running a farm would be easy?
Josh: It was 2007. Everything was easy. You could find gently pre-owned Lexus sedans in curbside recycling bins. You sent in your clothes for dry-cleaning, and they upgraded them to haute couture. There were carts on every NYC street corner hawking weekend homes to passersby. A million-dollar goat farm seemed like the deal of the century. Unfortunately that century ended in with the market crash of 2008.
Eric: What's the one thing you hate most about farming (if you can narrow it down)?
Josh: Nothing. Not one thing. The only thing I even slightly dislike is leaving the farm every Sunday night to come back to the city.
Eric: Brent doesn't want to introduce you to his straight-laced family. Is he afraid they’ll like you better?
Josh: Actually, I have just recently met his entire family. Brent and I have been together for 11 years, but it has taken this long to for me to meet his family because some of his relatives are pretty devout fundamentalists. And because he (rightly) loves them very much, and because they (rightly) love him very much, and because I (rightly) love Brent very much, we all needed to wait until everyone felt completely comfortable with the situation. I happen to be fairly religious myself. So I figured I’d let God work it out on his schedule since he was the reason for the mess in the first place.
Eric: The goat milk products on your website are a big hit. Are the goats going all diva on your ass?
Josh: The goats are pretty humble. The llama, however, is a drama queen. “Llook at me! I’m the only llama on the farm!” One day I’m going to bring home an Emu just to knock her down a peg or two.
Eric: In your memoir I Am Not Myself These Days, you dated a drug-addicted escort. Do you look back and think, mmm, good times...?
Josh: Yep. At the risk of making people dislike me even more than so many already do, I have to admit I’ve had a kickass life.
Eric: Do you ever wish you could go back to just being Aqua (your drag queen alter ego), when your biggest problem was how to feed the live goldfish in your bustier?
Josh: You’re supposed to feed goldfish??
Eric: What's the last thing you think about at night? Is it your llama?
Josh: I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. The last thing I think about at night is that if I don’t wake up in the morning I will have achieved everyone’s ultimate goal of dying in one’s sleep. Then I wind up losing sleep trying to figure out how one goes about gloating over such a thing.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
First off, Josh Kilmer-Purcell does a masterful job in creating an intimate closeness with the reader. The friendly tone of the entire memoir makes you feel as if you're sitting next to him on the couch while he's explaining to you how he and his partner went from high-profile Manhattanites to goat farmers in upstate New York. In this hectic instant-gratification world the story strikes a chord because it is a familiar one to many people - the yearning to throw away your rush-hour-9-to-6-5-days-a-week-plus-overtime career and settle to a simpler, idyllic life in the country on a farm. Maybe you'll own some livestock - a couple of cows, maybe a goat. Growing your own vegetables fresh from your prize-winning organic heirloom garden. While many of us may not agree with (or perhaps even like) Martha Stewart, nevertheless when we picture that ideal farmhouse most of us picture a perfect home straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog. Partners Josh and Brent take the plunge and turn their dream into a reality by purchasing a stately farm mansion in the middle of Sharon Springs, New York.
What follows is the reinvention of the Beekman Mansion from a simple weekend getaway home to a full-fledged, working farm - including the monetary need to survive!Read more ›
Josh and his partner, Brent who is the one working for the Martha Stewart show (Josh is a advertising exec and author) come upon what they find out is the Beekman Mansion, a 4,500 square food mansion built in 1802 which has been renovated but on the market, for sale for the last four years. They're up in the area on a fall apple picking outing. The mansion is in Sharon Springs, a tiny little town in upstate New York, about a 3 1/2 hour train ride and drive from Manhattan where they own a tiny apartment and have high powered, big city jobs. They call Michelle, the local real estate agent and tour the mansion which they fall in love with. It's beautifully restored, complete with a family crypt in the back, a barn and another small structure which could serve as servant quarters. The place is listed for $1,000,000 but they make a low ball offer which is accepted.
A man named John who has seventy some goats leaves a letter in their mailbox asking if they need a caretaker in exchange for housing the goats.Read more ›
It was even more interesting to read Josh's account of how the recession, in which both he and Brent lost their jobs, affected their business, their relationship and their daily lives. All of it seemed so horribly familiar but it was comforting to know that even the Fabulous Beekman boys were affected and yet, they seem to have gotten through.
Anyway, I highly recommend checking the book out.
I was sucked into The Bucolic Plague because Josh Kilmer-Purcell is so engaging and funny. Funnier than David Sedaris. And when the subject matter got less funny and more troubled, I stayed because I cared. Imagine, if you will, a book that covers the difficulty of being unemployed, the difficulty of maintaining a relationship when under extreme stress, the difficulty of being OVERemployed, and a real estate agent who points out that the pool on a property is close to the crypt, which should be convenient if anyone happens to drown. That is this book, and thinking of it brings a smile to my face. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked this book because the author wrote with a sense of humor, and I was receptive to it. How Josh and Brent came across the Beekman mansion is a real good story. Read morePublished 2 days ago by unedo
One of the best city to farm memoirs I've ever read...and I've read a lot of them. Josh's dry wit and easy style of writing makes this such a great read. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily
Wonderful book, makes you want to buy your own farm and raise a herd of goats. Well written and very humorous and inspiring.Published 2 months ago by Matthew Fox
A fun current day memoir. Several laugh out loud moments. Although afterwards I felt like it was a marketing tool for their company. But on the whole, I enjoyed the bookPublished 3 months ago by Carol on Maui
What a delightful read! The author was able to accurately describe how we look at our past and future with rose colored glasses. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Karen
Josh is hysterical, I can't tell you how many times I literally laughed outlaid while reading this book! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bridget
Felt like being back home in Schoharie County! Loved reading the ups and downs of this awesome couple. Time for another book, Josh!!!!Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer