Friday, 18 November 2011

Mariella Frostrup Plays the Mischievous Minx

It all started with the Book Show from Sky Arts turning up at the house to film me waffling about ghostwriting. Pleasant sunny day, guard down, camera running, my questioner enquired if I wouldn't prefer to write "in my own voice", or something similar.
What I wanted to convey was the idea that I wasn't particularly interested in hearing anything I had to say, but I was interested in hearing from other people with more interesting backgrounds. What actually happened was I proferred the opinion that the world had heard enough over the last five hundred years of people like me, ("middleclass, middleaged, middlebrow, male and english speaking"), pontificating and that it was time to give the rest of the world a bit of hearing.
The filmed interviews ended, (Hunter Davies and Kirsty Crawford had also appeared and been very charming), and the viewers were returned to the studio where, to my horror, distinguished novelists Robert Harris and Peter James sat listening to me pontificating, as if deliberately illustrating my own point, (if only I could lay claim to such subtle powers of irony). Mariella Frostrup, armed with her most disarming of smiles, then suggested to them that they were the under attack as "middleaged, middleclass, male and english speaking pontificators", (mercifully she let them off the "middlebrow" accusation).
Eek. These two were most defintely not who I had in mind. Most of Peter James's books of crime and policework are very much not set in the world of the middleclass etc etc, and Robert Harris tells tales on the very rich and very powerful, who are just as colourful and interesting as the underdogs of society. To make it worse, I know them both. Peter is a chum of long standing and Robert very sweetly quoted my "Ghostwriting" book at the start of every chapter of his novel, "The Ghost".
Both of them, mercifully, did not rise to the bait that the Mischievous One was dangling and doled out only the mildest of reprimands before saying very forgiving things. I felt a little like I had been hauled into the common room and told off by two much admired teachers for some piece of smart-alecry which I had meant for other staff members. Yet another illustration of why it is infinitely preferable to stay behind the scenes as a ghost and let other people do the media pontificating.

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