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Memo to Sarko – allez vite a Londres

Posted on 1 April 2009 | 8:04am

First the good news from London – it looks like All In The Mind
might be made into a film. So if you didn’t get the hardback, get out and buy
the newly released paperback now to see why Hollywood (oh ok, a very good UK
film company) is interested. 

But now the bad news from Paris – I’ve been ousted from a prime-time
radio slot by the President of France. 

It was all going so well. Off the Eurostar, straight to France Inter and Le
Fou du Roi, an only-in-France type radio show with a big studio audience, a
seemingly random selection of comedians and commentators, and me sandwiched
between an African band and a rapper. But the presenter and main reviewer had
read the book, (Tout est dans la Tete) liked it and said as much. So  happy author set off with happy
publicist for several hours of back to back paper and magazine interviews.
Again, they’d all read the book and said they liked it. This was going too
well. I found myself believing my own line that the UK media was too harsh, the
French media too soft and a happy medium would be found somewhere between the

With my French holding up ok, off to meet another paeon of praise and
presenter-holding-the-book-to-camera-pluggery on Le Grand Journal on Canal
Plus, the moment only marginally spoiled by them showing the title shots of the
porn films watched by Jacqui Smith’s husband. They so could not understand the
fuss, but the studio audience were squirming a bit. Then a late night TV chat
with a livewire called Karl Zero, who I had been told was the Michael Moore of
France. But he kept holding the book up to the camera too, said he couldn’t
believe I had written such a sensitive novel and why didn’t we have people like
you in French politics? — I love these French guys. I was by now mellow enough
even to join in his pisstake of Tony Blair’s video-message of congratulations
to Nicolas Sarkozy
when he became President.

So then back to the hotel for a few hours sleep before the big one this
morning – Jean Pierre Elkabbach’s breakfast slot on Radio Europe 1. This has
been in every itinerary I’ve seen as this book launch has been planned. But
suddenly the happy publicist is not looking so happy.

‘We’ve been bounced,’ she announces.

‘The President,’ she says. ‘He has summoned them to the Elysee to do a talk on
the G20.’

My God, I knew I was doing well, and Brits doing well in Paris
are not likely to stay flavour of the month for long. But do I deserve this? I
mean, he only has a a French position on global regulation to defend, a
relationship with a new US President to develop, and a world economy to save? I
have a book to promote for heaven’s sake.

I’ll forgive him this once. But someone better tell him to get into that G20
Summitland sharpish. This town ain’t big enough …

  • David

    Admit it, as soon as you were bounced you started mumbling about Agincourt, Waterloo…London 2012

  • Judith Haire

    Bounced eh? Yes having just started ALL IN THE MIND I can see why there is potential for a film (blockbuster) Hope things get better across the channel
    and do try and watch the England game tonight.

  • Emilianna

    ◆ A radio show with an audience and Glen Miller’s band wasn’t even there? Le Fou du Roi seems just like a radio version of these disorientating four hour television variety shows on French channels. You lucked out: they could have sat you between a Peruvian flute band and France’s very own Andrea Yates.

    ◆ I thought only American hosts got away with not reading the book. Are you implying British interviews don’t either? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    ◆ The Michael Moore of France? I would have hit them with a polo mallet.

    ◆ TB did well in French. I don’t remember Mr. Blair ever speaking in French on a visit to Ottawa. Did you ever tell him how many brownie points he’d score with Quebecers with a simple sentence dans la langue de Molière? We’re thirty percent of the Canadian population, you know.

    ◆ Yesterday, BBC news reported Sarko was threatening to pull out of G20 talks if France didn’t get it’s way; so Sarkozy was in fact throwing a hissy BEFORE he got there. Nice.

    ◆ Bumped off: behold, le nombrilisme français. I’m sure Sarko did it on purpose, threatened but your greatness.

    ◆ Congratulations on the movie deal and fingers crossed…

  • Caroline Hett

    Oh great, can we have a another ‘Up Yours Delors!’ style campaign where we all turn towards Paris at a pre-arranged time and give the V for victory sign.

    Is it bad that I’m terribly excited about the prospect?

  • rusty

    Hmm! Well you could have found yourself alongside the sizzling Rachida Dati being interviewed on Vie Privee, Vie Publique!! That I would have loved to have seen!

  • Fozia

    En effet M Campbell!!!

  • Alina Palimaru

    Don’t be too sorry it’s not Hollywood… Hollywood would make the film evolve around that park-bench sex scene. A UK film company would ensure there’s more substance to the final product.