I wrote the spoof below when the hardback came out, but today’s This Much I Know article in the Observer made me dust it off and bring it back.
Compare and contrast.
60 Seconds with Tony Blair
The ex-Prime Minister of Britain has just published his memoir.
(Legal Disclaimer – a memoir is neither autobiography nor fiction and as such, cannot be subject to a lawsuit.)
Which was your favourite childhood book?
Oh there were so many! But if you want the truth, the book with which I most often curled up under the blankets was my own diary. To quote Oscar Wilde (why not, I’ve nicked Jordan’s exclamation marks!), one should always have something sensational to read on the plane.
Where do you write?
Anywhere and always in longhand (because it gives me a sense of Dickensian gravitas). But if I’m honest, my favourite writing spot is on the loo!
Which was the book that changed your life?
The Ghost. That bloody Robert Harris is a cheeky git, I tell you. Honestly.
What objects are on your desk, and why?
Very little at the moment, apart from a curt note from Cherie about Too Much Information. To be frank with you, I’m leaving space for awards to add to my Bad Sex Gong nomination. Bloody cheek!
Which book should be on the national curriculum?
One hates to be vain, but I sincerely think all children should appreciate the power of politics. There is such responsibility shouldered by great statesmen; like me, George W Bush and Silvio Berlusconi. However, neither of them has written a book and I have. So I guess I’m forced into the awkward position of recommending A Journey.
Do you have a word or phrase that you most overuse?
If I’m open with you, I do tend to overuse ‘My intentions were honourable’. Particularly with ladies and coalition forces.
Is there a book you were supposed to love but didn’t?
An Inconvenient Truth by Al Bore was jolly useful at bedtimes, I can tell you. Zzz.
What have you learned from writing?
Learn from the experts. In my book, I managed to wangle in all the key elements of success; the Pope (Dan Brown), football (Nick Hornby), Princess Di (Andrew Morton), political wit (Armando Ianucci), some seriously raunchy sex (Jilly Cooper) and a Satanic Scotsman (Goethe).
Which book do you wish you’d written?
I honestly think I could reach no higher than A Journey. This is the pinnacle of man’s achievement. Leadership. Vision. Ambition. And honesty. So I have to say, I have written the exact book that I wish I could have written. In truth.
Do you think the Orange Prize is sexist?
Of course it isn’t! Everyone has the right to compete in their own field of competence. We’ve got the Paraplegic Games, the Transplant Olympics, why shouldn’t oranges be the only fruit! (Cherie helped me with that one.)
Which book/writer deserves to be better known?
Personally, I think everyone finds their own level in an open market. But what I would say, being candid, is that certain writers should not have fatwas and eggs thrown at them just because they choose to personify Muhammed or invade Iraq.
What are you working on at the moment?
Buggering up the Middle East. Oh, writing-wise? If you want total honesty, I’m keeping notes for the next truthful foray into the world of a statesman.
And finally, what do you put on your chips?
Same thing I put on everything – lashings of sincerity.
first published in Words with JAM