I was most gratified by a good review in the Spectator. Even if it was short, and my pleasure a little problematised by the fact that the reviewer compared my book favourably to Owen Jones’ Chavs book which I didn’t necessarily need to happen (at the same time, I did kind of note that Jones somewhere, somehow is attributed with comparing himself to Orwell, which seems a bit Icarusy to me). Jones and Imogen Tyler, who I discussed (i.e. ‘used’) a little bit in my book were on Laurie Taylor’s Thinking Allowed on Radio 4 last week. I’d sent Taylor a copy of my book a few weeks ago, with the hint-hint that I’d be in London in September, and Jones is aware of my book, so I was hoping they’d mention it but nope.
My grandmother Marion would have loved me getting a review in the Spectator, favourable or otherwise, because she read it every week. Though she would for all that have probably not agreed with my book (I’m not sure; it’s hard to imagine her responding to 2011, particularly as she more or less disengaged from daily events in the final years of her life, so I’m used to memories of her not caring about what was going on outside her four walls).
I am writing this en route to my third (I think) commercial radio interview, at MTR (Melbourne Talk Radio – I’d never heard of it – used to be 3MP, which I listened to a lot when I was 11 or 12). It’s Glenn Ridge’s show, I’m only vaguely aware of who he is, too, which would only make sense to me via who he was – a tv game show host or something similar? That’s what I told Mia anyway, now I’m starting to doubt it.
Late: so I went to do the Ridge show, and it was fine – the guys on the show were pretty slick, and I was fairly scattered in my responses, but I imagine that’s OK – the important thing probably is not to seem smug or pompous. The whole thing had a cloud over it though, because there were police all over the station because someone had died in the building overnight, probably a suicide. When I got there the producer mentioned all the cops and I said, what’s that about and she said you don’t want to know, but then later when I was in the control room a panel operator came in and talked all about it, occasionally casting glances at me. The person who died had motor neurone disease, he was 60 and apparently there had been some kind of party the previous week after which he had called to thank everyone who had come, and there was a theory that he’d been saying goodbye to everyone. He’d done his show that morning and then he had died somewhere on the premises. I thought the staff I was talking to there were a bit in shock but they were coping.
So I did the Ridge show and it was fun. Unlike Fidler, they hadn’t read the book and I should be regarding that more as an opportunity (the difference is, I suppose, if the interviewer has read the book they become your collaborator in presenting your ideas to the audience; if they don’t know anything about it, you have to scrub away at their unknowingness). Not that I blame anyone for not having read it, I couldn’t give a loose root.