EYES DOWN FOR A FULL HOUSE, THEN, READERS! When I wrote the sample chapters of what became my first memoir Where Did It All Go Right?, on spec, way back in the year 2001, I didn’t even know if my bright idea (antidote to miserable memoir virus) would become a book, let alone sell well enough to support a sequel.
After finishing that sequel, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, in 2004, I started preparing what would be my first novel, Join Hands, tired at that stage of writing about myself. But my publishers convinced me that novel-writing was a fool’s errand and that non-fiction was my natural metier. So I did a lot of preliminary research on the broader subject of nostalgia, intent on writing a non-fiction book about that, working-titled Nostalgia: A Look Back, and then Modern Life Is Rubbish. This was put on ice.
I also looked into the idea of writing another book about childhood, this time concentrating on the clubs I had joined, called Members Only. (Abandoned, this at least became an article in the Times.) In the end, at the beginning of 2005, they convinced me to pen part three of my memoirs, bringing the story up to date and taking in my journey through the London media.
I had resisted this avenue because a) a book that sails so close to the people I currently work with - and for! - would be a diplomatic minefield, and b) it would lack the universality of the previous two books. But my vanity was seduced by the idea of becoming the author of a trilogy, and if no-one else, I knew the folks at TV Cream would like it! (You can be the judge of that.)
Once we’d shaken on it, my editor at Ebury and I embarked upon a tortuous search for the perfect title. You wouldn’t believe how many we got through! The long-list included: Step Into My Office, Baby; You Only Leave Twice; Writer, Broadcaster, Whatever; End Of A Century and The Amazing Technicolour Dream Job. (I think you see why these were rejected, although I still have a soft spot for I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today, possibly because it was so good, David Nobbs had already used it for his autobiography.)
What I present to you here are the "deleted scenes" from the finished manuscript. Just like a DVD’s extras. Some of it was rejected because it wasn’t quite right, but most was cut for length. I hope my commentary will help contextualise. The pics are all exclusive too – never before seen outside of my big box of old photos and memorabilia. (The various laminates and passes were to have been collaged for an inside-cover image, but rejected as "too busy".)