Book Club Interview


What are you reading at the moment?

I always have a number on the go, and at the moment I’ve got four, which are: Alien by Alan Dean Foster; If This Is A Man/The Truce by Primo Levi; The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe and The Ballad Of The Sad Café by Carson McCullers. I’ve got The Miracle Life Of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall and Leaving Las Vegas by John O’Brien both waiting in the wings.

What is your favourite book of all time?

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera. If I need to say why, you haven’t read it.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. For me it’s the perfect mix of character and plot, and it’s got set-pieces to die for. McEwan is an amazing writer.

What do you think is the most over-rated book of all time?

The Catcher In The Rye. It’s cool and everything, but I’ve never understood this tremendous effect it has on people. And all Beatles fans should boycott it out of principle, obviously.

Which living author do you most admire?

Jonathan Lethem, an American writer whose books are gradually being published over here. If you read Motherless Brooklyn or As She Climbed Across The Table and you don’t think he’s a genius, I’ll come and clean your oven for you.


What made you write this book?

Loads of stuff. You start writing and suddenly it all comes out like a big word vomit on the keyboard. I think the simple answer is that I was sick and tired of hearing celebrities whinge about their addictions.

If Sleb  were filmed, who would you like to play the main characters? Would you make a Hitchcockian cameo appearance?

If Sleb were filmed and I had complete artistic control, I would be the screenwriter and director, naturally. I’d cast Brad Pitt as Felix Carter, and Chris Sewell would be played by… Brad Pitt. The Mystery Blonde would be played by an unknown hand-picked from exhaustive international auditions. I’d play ‘man browsing in record shop’. In addition, David Holmes would do the soundtrack (that’s my brother, David Holmes, not the Belfast-born DJ and producer).

Is there another book in the pipeline?

Yes, and it’s got song-and-dance numbers in it.


How would you like to be remembered?

You know that quote about the Sixties, how if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there? Like that.

Would you prefer to top the best-seller lists or win a Nobel Prize for literature?

Nobel, definitely. Ideally I’d like to be the first Nobel prizewinner who’s commercially successful.

Which question would you like to be asked in an interview?

You’d ask me how many teaspoons the average household needs and I’d say one, and then you’d go home and discard all but one of your teaspoons.

Which five people, living or dead, real or fictional, would you most like to invite round for dinner?

Bobby Gillespie, John Lydon, The Joker, Ian Fleming and Patricia Arquette. Dinner would be served by Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’m not sure if this group would gel, socially, but it’s kind of a personal ‘greatest hits’ package, so I know I’d be happy.

What is your most unappealing habit?

My wife would say the fact that I can get up and listen to nosebleed techno at 7am, but I tell her, hey, as bad habits go, it beats weeing in the bath…

Which word or phrase do you overuse?

Hey, as bad habits go, it beats weeing in the bath.

And lastly – why should everyone buy Sleb?

Because reading Sleb makes you feel better about yourself, and you need to read it to find out why.