The London Paper – 23 June 2008
On the night of my ‘retirement party’, for the first time in months, I slept like a baby. That’s right … I puked up twice, filled my nappy and awoke screaming for mummy. I’d like to blame that moody chicken schwarma I shrewdly decided to nosh at 3am but suspect that the preceding nine pints of ‘wife beater’ may have had something to do with it. I felt like a bear had crapped in my head for the rest of the day and soon asked myself a poignant question: is this the shape of things to come in your new life as a free man, a writer and dare I say it … an ‘F’ celeb? Because if it is I want out!
The devil makes work for idle hands. Fortunately I’ve never been busier – which considering I was a merchant banker (in every sense of the word) for 12 long, hard years is really saying something. I haven’t missed a single opportunity to spout untold self-promoting crap about my book ‘Cityboy’ … and look I’ve even have the audacity to do it again just then! I’ve been on The Today programme, BBC 1 Breakfast, Sky, BBC London Radio etc. Of course, this endless self-promotion is not because my insecure ego demands that I extend my 15 seconds of fame. Oh no, it’s because only by becoming an ‘F’ celeb (and I’ll leave you to choose what the ‘F’ stands for) will the world-saving message contained within my book reach a wider audience. Of course, if you believe that crap you’ll believe absolutely anything!
But it wasn’t the radio or TV stuff that truly freaked me out last week; it was the dreaded signings I performed at various City-based bookshops. First of all, I thought that some lashed-up Cityboys would come in and rearrange my teeth because I’ve been telling Londoners for months what a bunch of tossers they all are. Secondly, I thought that a few nutty female stalkers that I’ve managed to accrue over the last year and a half were going to come in and either kill or rape me. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they ain’t out to get you but I suspect I may have puffed one too many jazz cigarettes recently!
Thankfully none of those concerns came to pass – but unfortunately what did happen was infinitely more painful. At my first book signing at Waterstones in Leadenhall Market I was gingerly approached by a beautiful girl and asked for a signature. I looked up and after perhaps five seconds said ‘I think I recognise you’. In front of lots of people she explained that we’d actually been … ‘dating’ (is that the correct euphemism these days?) for about 2 months late last year. The tumbleweed blew by and I will go to my deathbed recalling the sheer redness of my cheeks as the surrounding crowds suppressed their giggles.
This F celebrity lark may not be all it’s cracked up to be!
PS if you are a stalker, angry Cityboy or ex-girlfriend then why not come to another book signing I’m doing at WH Smiths in Liverpool Street station at 12.30pm on Tuesday?