Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Lovely Jean Harlow


Ah, those sharpened quills! How we love them--those would-be scribes whose only chance of ever getting noticed is by choosing a pseudonym, the more ridiculous the better--Anonymous and A Reader are good ones--and penning one of those little reviews on Amazon, in the hope of dissuading people from purchasing the product, when the end result is invariably the opposite.

I never leave bad reviews--indeed, I never review books at all. Bad reviews and put-downs of other authors, even amateur ones, from professional writers are not the done thing. It shows a distinct lack of sense, for one thing. No writer worthy of their salt disses another writer in print unless they wish to end up a dismal failure. Imagine what would have happened, had Dickens denounced one of his contemporaries as "crap"? We just do not do it! If I dislike a product, I ignore it completely. By dissing it I would be awarding the perpetrator the free publicity they crave but cannot acquire elsewhere.

The beef with these most recent little people is that I have referred, quoted from, or even adopted other biographers' theories and work in my book about Jean. Of course I have! The lady died almost eighty years ago, so unless I want to hop into a time machine and stand in the room and listen to the conversations that took place, I have to rely on evidence supplied by others. Of course, those who placed the lady on a pedestal will not like what anyone writes, so with that kind of person it's a waste of energy even thinking about them. 

A few weeks ago, Diana Dors was in the news owing to the Max Clifford case. I was interviewed by the national press, and my recently re-released bio of her hit the heights once more. Now, the same thing is happening with Jean Harlow. Really, if people wish for me to be the failure that they keep saying I am, they would be best ignoring me completely. They cannot do this, and for this I am grateful.

My publishers and I have opted not to release all 48 titles on Kindle. There would be no point re-issuing the first Morrissey and Piaf, for instance, because these were superceded. I don't want to re-release Tallulah Bankhead and Rock Hudson, and I think Chevalier would be a mistake. Maria Callas we are thinking about. One publisher wanted to re-release Freddie Mercury and George Formby and I blocked them--these two I want to do myself, for personal reasons. All of this titles have done well, save one...

Trailblazers. This contains Gram Parsons, Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. The publisher never wanted to do this in the first place but I twisted his arm, gently. His theory was that he had once published a book about two rival football teams--the fans of one hated the fans of the other, so no one bought it! Not everyone who likes Jeff Buckley likes Gram Parsons, and vice-versa. I was all for re-issuing them separately, but this would not have proved financially viable. For the same reason the publisher was not keen on Brit Girls Of The Sixties. Seven of them in one volume would have proved cost prohibitive, whereas it would not have been financially viable to publish them individually. Therefore I published these myself, and am happy that I did.

Trailblazers, therefore, is the one you "experts" should be "reviewing", if you wouldn't mind?

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