02 June 2006

Cloudspotters guide - surprise success

You read it here first.

Well, you didn't, but then again nor is it a "surprise".

Just because reviewers miss the boat doesn't mean the unwashed reading public slavishly follows suit.

When Freddie Forsyth's de Gaulle hunting "Day of the Jackal" came out, snooty reviewers panned it.

As we know, it went on to score a *huge* success - a good movie, to boot.

Publishers Hutchinson took an advert I greatly envied and later palely imitated:

"To hell with Fleet Street and its so-called critics!" boomed the headline, proceeding to list the astronomical print runs and sales.

Some years later, Secker published the contentious "Pencourt File", lifting the lid on Liberal pol Jeremy Thorpe's murky dealings with Bunnies and Great Danes.

The old poof's pals closed ranks and those with ink dissed what was admittedly a not very well written  expose, but who cared? It was brilliant sleuthing by Britain's answer to Woodstein.

A silly rant appeared by some limp-wristed type, so I got the word-count precisely right and quoted the more vitriolic bits above tempered praise from the heavyweights who actually knew whereof they wrote.

He walked straight into the trap, instructing his solicitors to ding us with a breach of copyright.

Also unwisely alerting the diary columns, thus guaranteeing us unbuyable publicity with their gloating over our imminent demise under massive damages.

My boss called me on the intercom:

"I've got David Earnshaw on the other line from our corporate solicitors. He's had a letter from X sueing us for breach of copyright.

Did we really take an advertisement quoting him on the Pencourt?"

"Yes, Michael."

"But the man rubbished the book."

"I know."

"I fail to see-"

"Michael, the man's a c***."

"Oh, I see . Right, then. Yes. Gosh. Jolly good. You might think of taking a quarter page in his local paper when his new novel comes out.

I take it we're safe on the copyright nonsense?"

"We are."

"Did you hear that, David? Chris says fuck 'em.

See you at the Garrick around one - no, make it 12:30, get there before the Maschler mob move in.

Right, thanks, Chris, that'll be all."

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