With Burnley out of the Cup, a spare Saturday has emerged which has allowed my book publicist to crowbar in a bit more culture, and book-plugging.
As I am more Radio 5 than Radio 4, especially on Saturdays, I have never listened to Loose Ends, so any tips welcome. We record soon.
I am less worried about the mickey-taking Clive Anderson than the charms of Emma Freud, who is on that short list of people who could make me do just about anything. Like when I said no, no and no again to doing the Comic Relief version of The Apprentice, and Emma called round with sweets and chocolates, coinciding her arrival with the return of my daughter and her friends from school. Together they talked me into it.
Which brings me to Piers Morgan. If you want to know why, google me, him and The Apprentice and enjoy seeing him get ‘fired’ when it came to a shoot out between the two of us.
Piers has been getting lots of coverage for his interview with GB but in my experience all that matters is the actual reaction of people who watch the whole interview.
It is happening at a good time for GB. Finally, he is getting some of the credit he deserves for the tough calls he took in leading Britain through the global economic crisis. Perhaps just as important though, people are looking more closely at David Cameron and not liking what they see.
I have been in all sorts of places this week and have heard a lot more negativity about Cameron. There has been a shift from a studied ‘seems allright’ neutrality to something closer to ‘I can’t stand that man.’ They were the exact words of Angela Griffin, the actress who presents Angela and Friends on Sky One. On air, she horrified me, given the history of women and voting, by saying she had never voted. Off air she said she would this time ‘because I can’t stand that man Cameron.’ I got plenty more of the same at the speaking events I did this week. And I particularly liked the encounter with a hospital porter who stopped me when I was visiting a friend, and said ‘If you do one more thing in your life, help stop the Tories getting their hands on the NHS – because I remember.’
Enough of politics, back to culture. I picked The Hurt Locker as my film of the year on Newsnight Review last night. I hope they kept in the bit where I described Kevin Spacey as the greatest American living in Britain, not least because I’m on his case for a Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research gig.
I’ll spend the afternoon in the company of Sky, not Jeff Stelling’s genius programme, but a new sports comedy quiz show, A League of their Own, presented by James Corden. It sounds like a mix of Question of Sport and They Think It’s All Over. Team captains are Jamie Redknapp and Freddie Flintoff. I’m on Freddie’s team with Georgie Thompson who, as Sky Sports News viewers know, is Britain’s chirpiest and best looking newsreader.
I will struggle to get in a mention of Maya. But try stopping me talking about the time I played with Maradona.
Finally, on Maya, pretty good review, once you get through all the stuff about it being a book about me and TB – I must say that all passed me by when I was writing it – from Mark Lawson (proper culture vulture) in The Guardian.
‘… Campbell has always been an accomplished writer. … And although it will pain large numbers of people to hear this, Campbell has written a book which is well plotted and suspenseful. Few who can bring themselves to start will be able to force themselves not to finish.’ (Sounds like one for the paperback cover)
‘Maya should clearly be played by Keira Knightley if Campbell gets the movie deal – which, on the basis of the story’s twists and grip, should not be ruled out.’ (I like the sound of that)
‘The basic plot is borrowed from Othello, with Steve as Iago, and the tone and prose style from the novels of Tony Parsons.’ (Like that too)
‘The joke waiting to be made is that Campbell saves his best fiction for public inquiries – but much of Maya ruins that gag.’ (Excellent. Thank you Mark.)
Now go to Amazon and buy it. Then go to http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php. and buy The Blair Years. Half of the money goes to doing exactly what the hospital porter wants us to do. Have a nice weekend