Sunday 4 February 2024

Just for one day

Book exchange

They say you should never meet your heroes. So who are they, exactly? Well, despite it being one of the most hackneyed & bandied about expressions that everyone just blurts out, it was, I'm led to believe, originally attributed to the French writer Marcel Proust: "We only see our heroes from very far away. What we see is what they want us to see and we never have really looked into their actual life."  And I get that; I've had one or two dodgy experiences in the past. OK, so let's not dwell on my Brian Connolly experience in 1990. Instead, I'd like to fast forward some thirty four years, yesterday to be precise, and my delightful encounter with James O'Brien. He was in conversation last night with the wonderful Robin Ince at Nottingham Playhouse talking about his new Sunday Times bestseller - 'How They Broke Britain'. A forensic charge sheet detailing the events that have brought this once great country to the precipice we currently find ourselves. And he's got the receipts. Anyone who listens to his morning show on LBC (as I have been since 2018) you'll know that he does this sort of thing brilliantly. If you call him up and don't have the facts to back up what you're saying then it's not gonna end well.

Unlike last night, when, after spending a couple of hours hanging on his every word I was then in the foyer shaking the great man's hand and telling him what a brilliant human being he was. We talked about bridges (he loves 'em) and Battersea Power Station (ditto) as I gave him a copy of my book (fair exchange is no robbery after all) and bade him goodnight. File under 'Bloody good bloke'.


  1. What a great encounter for you. I'm impressed too.

  2. Brilliant. I love the way he deals with his callers - he's always so spot on and articulate. I didn't recognise him in your photo to start with, though, as I'm not used to seeing him with a big smile on his face - you must have said the right thing!

    1. I hope so - he liked 'Battersea & Beyond' (you can see it on the table in front of him). You can never have too many books!