Saturday, 11 January 2014

Heaven Knows Bigmouth Strikes Again

Reclusive author, God, has announced a new book. The NME went to interview him.

God says, “Like undrinkable coffee, my forgiveness is instant.”

He is trying to be accessible, but as anyone who has ever read any of his books will know, God’s gnomic style can seem a little contrived; in speech, this is even more so. Has he, I wonder, developed a Morrissey complex during his long absence from the world of letters?

“Well, I suppose one’s life would be a bit more interesting if one did. But no, of course I haven’t. No. Life is too short for such futile endeavours…” The sentence tails off, and God looks into the distance. “Although I did quite like ‘The Queen is Dead’,” he smiles.

I ask God the inevitable question (Where’ve you been?), but already he looks bored; bored and slightly agitated. He shifts uncomfortably in his seat. We are sitting on two rather functional chairs in his hotel room (Premier Inn, Leicester: where else?). It is God’s fifth interview of the day. He clears his throat and then does a little sort of hum before answering.  “When things go wrong, I tend to make myself scarce; not that you’d notice, as I am, for the main part, invisible.” He hasn’t really answered my question yet. I decide to see where he is going with his answer. “If I turn up for you, then I have to turn up for everybody, but it’s just not realistic anymore. You can’t simply come running to me because you’ve …” here, God pauses, almost stumbles, then becomes animated and uses his fingers as quotation marks, “…‘got pancreatic cancer’ or because your child has ‘gone missing’.

I am about to ask why not, then remember who it is that I am talking to.

“I hope I’m making myself understood,” he says. Is this what it’s all about, then? Setting the record straight. Despite the fact that he didn’t answer my previous question, I decide to go for another big one. Which religion is right?

God looks at me. He looks disappointed. He looks away, out of the window. “Surely everybody knows that by now?” he asks, exasperated, but before I have a chance to say that everybody doesn’t know, he mentions the new book. “It’s going to be amazing,” he says, momentarily brightening up. Going to be? I ask. Having waited all this time, God turns up with news of a new book which he hasn’t even written, yet?! “It’s not as straightforward as that. There’s the issue of the ghost-writer, and…”

Of course. I barely hear what God says next, as I digest this news. It makes sense. After all, everything else ‘written’ by God was ghost-written, so why not the new book?

I drift back into what God is saying. The clock has ticked ominously on, and our interview is almost at an end. “I have a publisher and a title; everything else is just window dressing,” he says.

I ask him who? and what? “Penguin Modern Classics,” he says in answer to the first one, and “Autobiography” in answer to the second.

Only Morrissey, I quip, gets his autobiography published in Penguin Classics.

God does not seem amused.

The interview ends, and I wonder what next for this reclusive and troubled individual. A career in hairdressing, perhaps?

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