Well, it’s official, I am now a force for evil in the world. Much like Marmite, tie-dye tank-tops, my next door neighbour, and Belgium. It started out innocently enough, teasing nuns, breaking wind in elevators and not owning up to it (ala Sam Neill), running with scissors… But then I couldn’t stop. I needed bigger, and better, and more evil thrills! And so in the end, I settled on a plan to corrupt the youth of our once proud* nation.
Seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s not like the little sods aren’t already naturally inclined towards evil. And so I set out to write a novella, a novella that parents would be conned into picking up by the cheery cover and wholesome-sounding blurb.
At least that’s the story if you believe what the Sunday Times says:
Expletives, sex, and violence – I’m so proud!
Now, as one would expect of a quality news organ, the Sunday Times isn’t the kind of newspaper to make unsubstantiated claims. When it says that SAWBONES is ‘full of expletives’, it means it:
How cool is that? Some poor sod actually had to work their way through the book — presumably with a cup of tea, a couple of chocolate biscuits, and a notepad — counting up the number of times the characters use the word ‘fuck’**. Can you imagine doing that as your job? What do you tell your mum when she phones up that night to ask if you’ve been eating regularly, did you have your scarf on because it was cold out today, and what did you get up to at work today?
“Oh, nothing much, Mum, I spent the day counting ‘fuck’s.”
“That’s nice, dear. Runs in the family. Your grandad worked for the Ministry of Defense during WWII counting ‘Bumsen’, ‘Geschlecht’, and ‘Verkehr’s in German High-Command communiques. He could spot a foreign ‘fuck’ faster than anyone in his whole department. Got a commendation from the Queen for it. Anyway, are you coming over on Sunday for your tea?”
Sadly whoever the poor sod assigned the counting job succumbed to what I think we’re going to have to call ‘Fuck-blindness’ as there’s really only the one castration in the book. But what’s a little castration or two between friends? I was more surprised that they didn’t mention someone getting shot in the face. And I can’t remember putting any oral sex in the thing, but then I can be a bit forgetful that way.
The worst bit of the whole article, is the bit where they neglect to say:
A dreadful oversight, I shall have to make a complaint to the PCC.
But as they say: no publicity is bad publicity – according to Agent Phil SAWBONES enjoyed a sudden spike on Amazon as people rushed out to get their hands on 89 fucks***, three castrations, a blow-job, dog bite, and a bit of gratuitous dismemberment. Or maybe they wanted to check how outraged they should be when talking about it later? Either way’s cool with me to be honest.
The Sunday Times actually interviewed me for the piece, but they’ve not used any of it for the online version. I hear they used a wee bit in the print version, but not the bit that surprised the journalist I spoke to:
Journalist: ‘Do you think your books are suitable for children?’
Peddler of Filth and Violence: ‘I think that’s really up to the parents, don’t you?’
Honestly, if you buy a book for your eight-year-old kid with a bloody handprint on the cover, a blurb that talks about dismembered blondes, serial killers, and mob enforcers, you kinda deserve to be dragged out into the snow where angry weasels will be sewn into your trousers, before you’re hit with poopy-sticks**** and called naughty names. Take some responsibility for what goes between your children’s ears!
Other than that, I kinda like my new bad-boy / evil genius image. I may have to build an underground volcano lair thing. You can buy killer sharks on eBay, right?
* And now mostly embarrassed.
** Oh, I feel so naughty!
*** That’s 65% of your recommended daily allowance.
**** Which you can make at home by taking a regular stick and sticking it in poo. Hence the name.