Saturday, February 11, 2006

Danger. Man talking bollocks.

Yesterday I was interviewed by a journalist from one of the local papers. The Muswell Hill and Crouch End Times. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s a very influential publication in these parts. Oh, yes. Very important paper, let me tell you. Read by all the best people. I even look at it myself sometimes.

Anyhow, a very nice lady called Lucy asked me some extremely sharp questions over the phone. And I gave what I’m sure were some incredibly dull answers.

Maybe I didn’t do too badly, although I can’t for the life of me remember a single interesting thing I said. I kept asking Lucy, “Is that all right, or was it just bollocks?” (Actually, I think I said “nonsense”, as I’m quite polite.) She was very reassuring. “No, no, fine,” she insisted. “You’re doing fine.” I’m sure if anyone can make me sound intelligent, she can.

And it wasn’t as if I was caught on the hop. I actually rang her back after she’d contacted me, so I should have been prepared. You’d have thought so. But even the simplest question, such as “How long did it take you to write it?” had me umming and ahhing hopelessly. “Well, you see, that’s a difficult question…” I had been thinking about the book for a long, long time. It had been mulling over in my mind for years. But the actual writing was very quick and intense, maybe just a couple of months. But that, you see, just sounds ridiculously short to me, so I’m always wary about mentioning it. Ah, the difficulties of talking to the press.

Given that she was calling from a local paper, she was naturally interested in the local aspect of the book. So I talked about my love of Queen’s Wood. And how I get the tube from Highgate. And about a certain curry house in Crouch End that features in the book but is no more.

But then I quickly had to correct any impression that the book is autobiographical. It’s such a complex process, that of creating a fictional character, and a complex relationship between author and character. And it’s hard, somehow, when you’re on the phone to a journalist to do justice to it. So God knows what I said. I’ll just have to wait for the article to appear to find out, I suppose.

Anyhow, it proves that the Macmillan publicity machine has kicked into action. I’m bracing myself for the next one. Maybe I’ll have some more considered answers worked out by then. Or maybe I’ll just talk bollocks again.

2 comments:

Richard said...

Roger, you should take these opportunities with the press to leverage yourself, for political gain. Mention a few hot issues and you'll be prime minister before you know it. At the very least, maybe you'll get elected as a town councilman. You'll have to learn how to talk out both sides of your mouth, however.

roger said...

'You'll have to learn how to talk out both sides of your mouth, however.' Well, Richard, that'll make a change from talking out of my arse.