I am sometimes paranoid that I may prejudge everyone as a wanker – no really I am. For the most part I am very happy with the judgement but occasionally I think – maybe I could be nicer, maybe I should give people a chance. Maybe I shouldn’t think that everyone on the planet is a cunt who deserves to die – unless they prove me wrong.
It was in this positive frame of mind I went to see a talk/reading/interview with Dave Haslam and Frank Cottrell Boyce last night. Rewind…
I got all excited about the release of Dave Haslam’s Manchester, England about 12 years ago (that’s not the link to the current print but the link to the one I had – and I liked that cover. Was it the only thing I liked about the book, though? Why not read on and find out? Or just guess that I didn’t because it’s already pretty implicit that I don’t like most people). The excitement sadly didn’t last as I read the book. It wasn’t because the excitement turned to ecstasy either – it was because I didn’t think the book was very good. This combined with occasionally seeing the tall brummy DJ spouting about Manchester on talking-head TV spots did not incline me to join the Dave Haslam fan club – and not just because he has not inspired a fan club, if he had I would still not have joined it.
So, that’s where I was at – nonplussed by Haslam. However, I was excited about seeing the boy Cottrell Boyce as I loved a couple of scripts he’s scribed for a couple of underrated British films (24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story in particular) so I thought I’d best not bring it all down by going in there with a negative opinion of Dave Haslam.
The SS Feelgood did hit an iceberg quite quickly unfortunately – quite an odd iceberg, as it was an iceberg (it wasn’t really an iceberg, this is a metaphor kids) in the shape of the vacuum left by the complete absence of charisma Dave Haslam possesses. Or doesn’t. Let’s be clear this is not because he looks like what Fatboy Slim would look like 10 days after he had died. Or because his voice was slow and annoying (and brummy) – ok, it is a bit. It is because he was quite self-aggrandizing and seem to blame a sea-change in the way books are published for his lack of £50 million advance on his next book. He did actually tell us what the advance was which I thought was a (a) a bit vulgar and (b) was a bit dismissive of how much money £15,000 is, but I wont say how much it was – perhaps the more ingenious amongst you can work it out (Just e-mail me with ‘fifteen grand’, as the subject of an email, including your answer and I will work out a prize befitting the challenge).
He was just a twat alright? I’m sure it’s not all his fault – people who’ve had people blowing smoke up their arse for years often are – but he has to take a hefty amount of the blame. I am pretty sure Cottrell Boyce has had just as much praise and he seemed completely lovely. And the praise he would have received was justified rather than some people tell him he’d written a great book just because the only other thing he had ever done was put a few records on a record player and by contrast writing anything is an achievement. Oh my I don’t like him do I? AND..he seems to be some kind of unofficial cultural ambassador for Manchester. NO-ONE with a Birmingham accent should be a cultural ambassador for anything, not even Birmingham and definitely not Manchester.
AND..he seemed to have a vendetta against Jamie Theakstone. He mentioned him twice when attacking ‘I remember the…’ type shows. Not in a way that could even be construed as amusing. Just in a way that said ‘I am better than Jamie Theakstone’. Which seems an odd thing to say when you ARE NOT better than Jamie Theakstone and Dave Haslam is not better than Jamie Theakstone.
Enough…enough already. I have spent too much time on hate. As usual. I just wanted to vent – is that ok? My apologies to SMH & MJEA: they are two of my few regular readers and the former was my companion for the evening and so lived this and then talked about it after and the latter who met us at the end of the night only to be told all this by both of us, so they probably can’t be arsed with it all again. Maybe they have stopped reading by now though. I would if I didn’t have to – I have tried stopping reading it before I finish typing it but I end up with complete gibberish .
I refuse to end on a negative, or by talking about Dave Haslam though. So, I will end by saying what a truly interesting experience listening to Frank Cottrell Boyce speak about anything was. He was charming and illuminating whilst remaining gracious and sincere. He was particularly interesting on the subject of The Reader organisation that he does a lot of work with: read more about it here: http://thereader.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/ (I’d urge you to make a donation to the cause but I’ve been trying to for 10 minutes and can’t figure out how to – use paypal is a bit too vague for me) . And anyone talking about Steve Coogan any Tony Wilson with warmth is alright by me.