You might like to visit my friend and fellow author Sam Jordison’s blog, and not just because he has written fondly on it of my book Help! I’m Turning Into My Dad! Incidentally, that very book has today gone for its first reprint, a mere 25 days after publication. How joyful. I had fun promoting it on BBC Radio London yesterday. Paul Ross kept calling me “Chris”, so I called him “Jonathan”. He got my name right after that.
Another blog post I have enjoyed recently – and one that has nothing to do with me or my books – is this one by the great Melanie Phillips. Although Melanie and I would probably find plenty to disagree on, she is always 100 per cent spot-on on issues such as Israel, Islamism, terror and national security. Given that those sorts of issues dwarf any others in importance, I count myself as a Melanie fan. Long may she blog.
The aforementioned Windsor Festival event How I Got My Book Published went really well. There was a good turnout and everyone seemed very happy with how it went. Lots of audience members were taking notes, which was a good sign. I sold and signed plenty of copies of my books afterwards – always nice! The local newspaper has written a brief review of the event here.
In other news, Waterstones in Windsor has put up a special ‘local author’ shelf with my recommendations on it. Amazingly, I didn’t recommend a single Amis book, nor any of my own! Instead, I chose: The Case For Israel by Alan Dershowitz, A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, Sweet by Julie Burchill and It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong.
I loved today. First up came the news that my hero Lance Armstrong is returning to professional cycling. His story of beating cancer and becoming a sporting legend really inspires me and I am already excited about him competing at next year’s Tour de France. It’ll be good to have him back.
Then I appeared on Henry Kelly’s show on BBC Radio Berkshire, plugging Help! I’m Turning Into My Dad. I loved watching Henry on Going For Gold in my student days and he was really lovely in person, as was everyone in his team. He had me in stitches off-air and the interview worked really well. Then Chris and I had a beautiful lunch in Eton. We’re trying out venues for our forthcoming nuptials.
In the afternoon one of my long-held ambitions was finally fulfilled when I had a meeting at the mighty Random House publishers. The atmosphere of the place was just as I hoped it would be: a strikingly heady blend of creative editorial types and dynamic money men in suits. It was a good reminder of how much money can be made in publishing, which was a great shot in the arm to me. More importantly, the meeting itself went really well.
To top off a great day, Arena magazine has done a nice review of Not In My Name, concluding “at their entertaining best, they skewer the worst sort of leftist poseurs”. Too right!
The Australian Literary Review has done a lovely write-up of Not In My Name. It’s part of a lengthy article covering a number of books, including one by David Runciman. I’ve pulled out the relevant passage:
Less radical chic than radical cheek, such slogans make a mockery of political protest. This is the starting point for Not in My Name, a collection of enjoyable rants on hypocritical attitudes to everything from anal sex to Israel and Amy Winehouse. Though Julie Burchill and Chas Newkey-Burden are less sanguine about hypocrisy than Runciman, it tends to be second-order hypocrisy to which they object most fervently, and in this respect their arguments converge.
However, this philosophical convergence does not entrain a political convergence, which once again goes to underscore the problem of analysing contemporary hypocrisy. Put simply, the authors supported the war, while Runciman, I strongly suspect, did not. Here is Newkey-Burden in full flow:
“Iraq was a colossally huge and important issue and, clearly, the natural consequences of both sides of the argument came with a horrendous price to pay. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve never met a single pro-war person who failed to accept the consequences of their argument. Similarly, I’ve never met a single anti-war person who did accept the consequences of theirs.”
Not in My Name is not a serious book but it makes a serious point nonetheless and that is this: those who demand political sincerity are rarely aware of the depth and nature of their own political hypocrisy.
I’m not sure whether any of my many Australian relatives and friends read the magazine, but it’s great to get a review Down Under!
Meanwhile, promo for Help! I’m Turning Into My Dad! is starting up. I did a slot on TalkSport today and they had a great response from listeners, with people calling in for two hours sharing their own ‘turning into Dad’ moments.