More reviews. One, largely glowing, in the Grauniad from Kit Hesketh-Harvey, whose work with the Widow I've always liked. Another, broadly favourable but concerned about areas I missed, in the Sunday Telegraph from Peter Bazalgette, about whose work I am divided. His part in bringing Big Brother to our screens makes me want to ask him outside for a frank exchange of views, but this transgression is almost counter-balanced by his involvement with the development of Deal or No Deal. Meanwhile, in the November Literary Review, Andrew Barrow calls me "scholarly", but wishes I'd been a bit nastier and says that there's too much Bill Cotton Junior in it. Barrow also asks (as does Kit H-H) who gives a toss about ATV, Associated-Rediffusion and the defunct dinosaurs of early ITV? Well, I do, hence their inclusion. The reviews prove that it's impossible to please everyone, and that, however you write, something that one reader loves, another reader will almost certainly hate. All you can do is write the sort of book you'd want to read yourself, and hope that some other bugger will too.
Of course, all of the nice reviews in the world are useless if the book can't be bought anywhere. At my hometown Waterstone's, Mrs Cheeseford tripped over ceiling-high piles of Why Do I Say These Things? by Jonathan Ross and At My Mother's Knee...and Other Low Joints by Paul O'Grady to discover that they have no intention of stocking Turned Out Shite Again, despite me being all over local radio like a cheap suit. On a flying business visit to London yesterday, I popped in to Waterstone's on Oxford Street. Nada. The gigantic Borders had one copy, which the very nice bookseller chap in films and media invited me to sign. I suspect that 90% of any sales I garner will take place through Amazon. Talking of which, one of their used and new affiliates was punting the work out for £6.99, which is about half of what my publisher would charge me, even with my author's discount. Over lunch, brer publisher mused that it was almost certainly a books desk junior staff member supplementing their meagre income. As indeed I did myself when on Publishing News. Good luck to 'em.
Incidentally, I haven't read the aforementioned O'Grady book, but intend to fully when I get a chance. I approve of it already for signalling a return to showbiz autobiographies with amusing titles. We've had too many years of Ronseal drabness like Dale: My Story and Bruce: the Autobiography. A showbiz memoir should have a funny title, preferably one that makes no sense until you've read the book, like Shake a Pagoda Tree by Mike and Bernie Winters or Michael Aspel's Polly Wants a Zebra. Any other good ones spring to mind?