The ride's over, did you enjoy yourself?- Leech, Incubus
If you can imagine that I have a following outside of Twitter, and presuppose that even though all you have done is click on a siren wailing link that invites you to a blog that has so far seen suicide, psychiatric medical injections, crack, dominatrixes, police stop and searches, rapists, murderers and numerous references to former enfant terrible Bret Easton Ellis, imagine now that I very likely have more enemies than friends. (And I apologize for that sentence by the way, it went on for far too long to be rhythmically acceptable.)
In 2010 a friend of mine told a friend of mine that Bret Easton Ellis was doing a book signing promoting Imperial Bedrooms in London. That friend told me. I had spent the past three years inside a room in a house for psychiatric patients (including a huge, boss eyed, illiterate violent criminal who had been conceived through the forced incest at gunpoint of a brother and sister) living on eighty pounds a week. I was not allowed to drink alcohol, and there were daily spot checks to search my room for contraband. This didn't stop me seguing into a brief spell of heroin addiction with another inmate, but it did result in the police being called (and searching my room for contraband) if I had a friend over past 11pm. Owing to these circumstances, the lack of money, the horrible living conditions, the company of monsters and the nightly supervised medication, eventually I was just left to my isolation. In the four years I spent there, my dad never visited once, and if I traveled to their mansion in Chislehurst I was shouted out if I dared to mention writing. "I don't know any other twenty seven year olds who only talk about their books," my mother would hiss, as if that had won the argument.
Meeting Bret Easton Ellis was suddenly a ray of light in my squalid purgatory. Speaking of which, my window faced out on a wall. I lived four years in that cell. The window didn't open any wider than three inches. My walls were covered in song lyrics and abstract matrices of plots and dialogue for the novel I had been battling with since I was 17 about a school shooting in Orpington in 2001. I had amassed thousands of pages on my computer, and had only written and subsequently self-published my 2009 debut Smoking Is Cool because I had become so obsessive about the other one, I needed perspective. But when Smoking Is Cool suddenly became a literal paperback with an ISBN number and a barcode, I thought I had found a way out of the NHS psychiatric system. I sent review copies to ten magazines (all I could afford), gleefully expecting film rights and thousands upon thousands of pounds for my efforts. Three magazines responded. The New Statesman wished me the best of luck with it. The Literary Review (who are now blocking me on Twitter) wrote that it clearly had a lot going for it. Empire sent it back with a post-it note. And then the NHS forced me to withdraw it from publication. I had used real names of patients, locations and doctors. They wrote me a strange letter which stated that since they controlled my finances, they needed to look out for my best interests by banning the book, since they didn't want me to suffer when they sued me.
Bret Easton Ellis is the most well connected writer in Hollywood. After I met him (I was first in line after waiting five hours, but let two groupies go first after my wild monologue to two bankers in the queue started to piss them off) I went off with my signed copy of Lunar Park to a nearby coffee shop to observe my prize. I had him sign it on the front because I didn't want him to see what I had written on the inside cover, which I will now transcribe:
Dear Dad, as you can tell from its battered, much read appearance, this is my personal copy. The best American novel of the 21st century so far. But don't take my word for it... Lots of love, Merry Xmas, Andrew xxx
I was going to write something about a hotshot middle aged writer who is inexplicably blocking me on Twitter despite having had no contact with me, but he's too busy lost in his schizophrenia and I don't want to upset him. Michael something. I dunno. I'm sure he'll win a Booker Prize one of these days, LOL!