Thrills, spills, reviews, readings and parties: it’s been 60 days since The Fame Formula came out and it’s been a rollercoaster ride. And, with Festival season upon us, there’s much more to come.
In the brief pause as the rollercoaster climbs up another slope, before I rush on down into the Festival season, it’s time to reflect on what’s happen and bask in the memories in the last heat of the Indian Summer.
It seems much longer than 60 days since the book hit the shelves in a flurry of press and radio, from local radio to the Jonathan Ross show on Radio 2, the Daily Star to the Guardian, interviews on Channel 4 news and American radio. The formula itself attracted a great deal of attention in the early part of August – I was up to my ears in requests for interviews and welcomed the respite of the launch party at the Riverside Studios, introduced by the late, great Ken Campbell. I was even called “the Obi-Wan Kenobi of PR” on the Asian Network – a most flattering description!
For that event, the splendid Shira McLeod, from the Riverside studios, tracked down the only UK print of The Half Naked Truth, a 1932 film based on the autobiography of Harry Reichenbach, who features heavily in the first part of the book. It was an excellent party and the film, despite being rather dated, went down very well.
After the first flush of publicity came the reviews, many of which were positive – Colin Byrne in The Guardian said that “The Fame Formula is a terrific, witty romp through the – often dirty – undies of the Hollywood fame factory…” for example – although one or two reviewers seemed to decide that the history of PR was not a fit subject for discussion. For the least constructive and most unpleasant of these reviews, I decided to reintroduce Jim Moran’s Asshole of the Year awards – a carefully presented, shrink-wrapped pig’s anus sent in a nice little box.
The reviews kept coming, creeping out in the broadsheets over the space of a month, in the Telegraph, The Daily and Sunday Mail, The Sunday Times, The News of the World, The Evening Standard and many more. And reviews are still appearing on the net.
Then came the launch parties. Alice Beer got herself into the press at the London party, held at Partridges, for sticking sold signs on the displays and a great time was had by all. The Gloucestershire launch, at the Lower Mills Estate, was equally successful, despite the untimely death of Ken Campbell, who was due to perform. A troupe of his associates came and took up his baton, improvising on themes from the book.
There have been some good readings and discussions as part of the launch too – an excellent night at The Space in Brighton, a small but committed audience at the Stroud Valleys Artspace in my hometown of Stroud, Gloucestershire, an event at the Edinburgh Festival and much more – all the details of past and forthcoming events can be found on Facebook or MySpace or at the official website.
There are more performances coming – first at the Raindance Festival in London, talking about the movie fame game with Peter Dunne, former Head of International Publicity at DreamWorks. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.
This is followed by a reading from the book and audience discussion at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature on October 11th – click here for more information.
Finally, here’s a video of Alan Carr and me ranting about the book…