Reading this Guardian article about Alan Partridge style local radio DJs and author interviews this morning, I had a painfully bright flash of recognition. Normally, I've been nothing but impressed by the DJs interviewing me as I do the rounds when promoting my various book projects. They've been witty, knowledgeable and even kind when giving me the on-air opportunity to punt my wares. But just a week ago, I had my own moment that, no doubt unfairly - as the article suggests - but inevitably, put me in mind of the great chief of chat.
Things went smoothly enough in my interview (one of a number I did to promote Sod That!) until I was asked:
"Does your book give away a lot about your personal life?"
"Well, it might give you some information about my prejudices," I blustered, not sure what the two DJs were getting at.
"Well what does your girlfriend think of it?"
"What does she think of the entry where it says that you should never be honest with your partner?"
At this point, there was an interjection of dead air. There was no such entry in my book. I would never suggest such a dreadful thing, either. Perish the thought. Slowly, the horrible truth dawned on me. My problem was that 'Sod That' has been afflicted by the release of a suspiciously similar work, which was quoted in the Daily Heil a week or so ago. It seems that the DJ team who were interviewing me had read this article, but not my book. Understandably enough, since the rival work is painfully like mine in intent, if not content, they had assumed that I had written it. In fact, that was the next question:
"Did you write this book?"
"I did, but not..."
"Well I was reading this thing in the Daily Mail..."
It was at this stage that I was forced to explain that they had been quoting from a different publication... But half way through this explanation I was cut off, in classic Alan Partridge style, my splutterings interrupted by a hit from the 80s... Leaving me alone in the ISDN studio in Oxford, echo-drums pounding in my ears, reflecting on what a giant nob-head I must have appeared to everyone listening.
Sadly, I've been unable to find the embarrassment on 'listen again'. Even more sadly, I didn't have the dignity of Hardeep Singh Koli and bail out of the interview, before it got too late. Hopefully, I at least gave a few people in the region a laugh. Even if it was at my expense...