I recently went to a party thrown by my publisher and was looking forward to meeting some legendary writers who I could talk to about writing. But it was full of people from the telly. All the 'famous' people there had TV shows which feature food, and they were all sticking together like icing to a cup-cake.
In the taxi outta there I realised that I had to take my shit back to where it belonged: underground. Not underground as in some kind of bullshit counter-culture sense, but underground as in I don’t give a flying fuck about projected sales; about the state of the industry or the current climate of the market (completely fucked); about promotional (boring) or legal shit (complicated); about anything other than writing a killer book that I absolutely love and other people may or may not like. It made me think that what I should be doing is writing something that I just have to get out there to keep my sanity from evaporating along with my meagre advance. A book that I have absolutely no choice in writing, not something that’s been focus grouped or tested for viability, but something real.
It is safe to say that in the last few years I had become caught up in the idea of some mainstream success from my work. This was down to the fact that I had a mortgage, a car loan, 2 teenage kids, blah blah blah, but mainly due to the fact that I was thoroughly bored of being skint. I wanted the finical stability that this kind of A-list success would bring and thanks to years of no drinking and drugs (the curse of the Banksy Generation), working my ass off 7 days a week, years relentless self-promotion and – most importantly – getting a powerful agent, I was in a position to become richer and just a little bit famous (comes with the money.) Or so I believed.
But then the writers party shook me out of my trance-like state and everything went and changed inside my head. All I ever wanted to be was a writer of books; books that talked about what it was like to be one of us (the Chemical Generation), books that dealt with coming out of suburbia in the 1980s and being so fucking bored with the surroundings that sometimes, you went and did crazy shit, in-between the usual middle-class suburban bullshit. I certainly didn’t want to be knee-deep in projects that were tailored to a certain market or engineered to be commercial successes.
What the fuck is going on? Really? Then this hit me: How do you have the strength to sit down and write a book knowing that no books really sell unless they accompany some lame-assed god-awful TV show presented by some half-witted inbred twat who’s just going through the motions, doing what they’re told just for the money, or a biography of a z-list sleb/slag/WAG with more tits than sense. What do I do to break out of my life even though I need some mainstream success just to live? There is no way I am going back to working a real job as I’m too far down the road and have burnt (blown up) all my bridges. I’m fucking unemployable. Add this to the fact that just about everything has been done before and nothing is original?
What happened was that there was a blip in the work load in between writing and designing my next non-fiction book Street Knowledge, and the promotional activities beginning, and so I got to work on the novel and I'm nearly there.
See you on the other side...