The Perfect Ten, Random House and the end of Jackson

The end of last week piled up like cars careering out of control in a Michael Bay flick. Thursday, or it might have been Wednesday, saw Phill and I back in the basement of USP recording a Perfect Ten (our podcast that is very much all about adults themes and situations) that will go up in a week or so when Phill’s hopefully lounging on a beach somewhere. I showed off my complete misunderstanding of basic mathematics, but we got through somehow, we might even have made each other laugh at one point or another, but was it funny? As always, you’ll be the judge of that. That was followed by a meeting, one about 5 Live and another about food, I’m a vegetarian, I can see holes in the idea already. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned the 5 Live thing, but like the Ten, I try not to self-edit. By the time I’d got back to my neighbourhood (yes, I have spent far too much time in the US), the giant screen in the local estate agents was flashing up stories that Jackson was in a coma, by the time I’d got home he was dead. Enough idiots are on here telling you things you never needed to know about Jackson so I’ll desist, but it was certainly to impact on my Friday afternoon, more of which later.

Friday morning came with a head full of cotton wool and a slick feeling on the back of my neck that told me I’d drank too much. I stood in the shower until the feeling went away and headed to see Dan the Editor at Random House. Dan is the head of Jonathan Cape or one of them at least (yes, I am vague on the subject, he signed me and that’s pretty much all I know), he’d mailed me the book edit and Friday was the time set aside for us to go through the manuscript and reach a consensus on my book. We sat side by side as if we were seated in a car and counted off the pages with a query here and the occasional rewrite there. The sun came through the boardroom window as the early afternoon wore on. We talked American editors, film options and Dan showered me with far more praise than I’ll try to pretend I could bear, but that wouldn’t be true. I was surprised to leave the building without some kind of a literary award under my arm – I stole some books from Dan’s shelves insetad. We’re waiting on the artwork now and the copy to be read just one more time (and then a few more times after that), then the proofs and then  – most excitingly for me – a bound copy to impress strangers with. I have a bound copies of Cormac McCarthy and Tim O’Brien (years before either found fame) novels and can’t wait to have one of my own. I find publishing sexy, it’s the nerd in me.

Friday afternoon was spent at BBC London co-hosting (his description, he’s very generous) Danny Baker’s show. The first of six afternoons spent in his company. Jacko’s demise had rather taken away Dan’s effusive mood as he’d interviewed the King Of Pop back in the day. He’d liked him too even if Jackson had tried to have his brothel creepers away. Jackson came over to London a few months after that and sought out Dan again. It was nice to talk about the young legend rather than the caricature he sadly became. Dan played suitably downbeat tunes and ended the show with a Jackson classic, though not one you would have heard anywhere else on the radio spectrum that day. That’s because most (not all) people working in radio are gormless tossers who know little or nothing about music. It was as good a way to remember his passing as any.


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