Sunday, February 18, 2007

Media frenzy

Sorry I missed last week; as soon as I finished the book I developed my usual antipathy towards keyboards, typing, thinking or anything much, besides lolling and wallowing in end-of-book bliss.
I was taken out to lunch by my publisher’s publicist to talk about promotion. It’s a weird business, as I spend roughly 50 weeks a year beavering away alone in my shed, then for the other two weeks I’m wheeled out to talk live to various regional radio stations with varying degrees of terror/success – but mostly terror. In the hands of an accomplished professional who actually reads their brief or, even better, the book, it’s plain sailing, if not actual fun. However, last time York Radio couldn’t find the telephone number of Bristol Radio where I was waiting to be interviewed and when they finally tracked it down, 45 minutes late, they talked about tractors: which as I write about a square mile in the centre of one of the largest cities in the world, were not wildly relevant. Needless to say, I had little to say about tractors or indeed, ploughing. London Radio had an interviewer who was so coked out of her tiny loaf* that all she could do was gabble about verruca plasters and kept insisting that my parents owned the Two Is coffee bar (a famous early rock & roll venue), which they didn’t: we just lived above it. Then there’s the interviewers who don’t ask questions, just make statements. One can’t answer statements with much more than a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, which is very boring for the listener.
The whole thing reduces me to a quivering wreck and now things may get worse. The publicist was talking about trying for some television, and I almost had a nervous breakdown at the thought. All I could think was, I don’t want to be SEEN, for goodness sake - I’m short, fat, knocking sixty and what on earth would I wear? Would I need to put on some slap*? And what about my mad barnet*, which being curly, sticks out all over the place?
However, I have managed to make a plan for lousy interviewers. I’ll do what politicians do; I’ll work up a spiel to go into if they start on about tractors or verrucas, and as for the telly – perhaps a bag over my head. Any suggestions about how to deal with all this with grace, charm and the minimum of terror would be gratefully accepted.
* Translations of Cockney slang: * loaf (of bread) – head; slap – cosmetics, make-up specifically; and finally barnet (fair) – hair.

1 comment:

Vicki Delany said...

I can only be envious that you have someone helping you with promotion. I think that I can be a fairly good interviewee, if I ever get the chance, but I'm just plain lousy at being able to organize anything.