Scribblers scream blue murder over Lamps' new book deal
TIPPING POINT:Wow, there are some bitter bastards out there. And not just that vast swathe of trolling humanity that figures the world will grind to a halt unless they record their biliousness for posterity online. No, when it comes to bitterness, there’s nothing quite like the aroma of burning resentment that comes from scribblers scorned.
Frank Lampard knows all about criticism. In fairness he knows all about fawning adulation too, but being a top footballer for a decade and a half means some flak has puffed around his ears, as much for proximity to the loathsome John Terry as anything else. Certainly, only in football could a honed athlete like “Lamps” still have to contend with sniggering digs of “Fat Frankie”.
But even terrace chants about waist-size pale in comparison to the bitterness generated by news that Lampard has signed a deal to write children’s books; five of them apparently over the next couple of years, a commitment most professional writers can only dream of, a comment that presumably can also be applied to the advance.
Apparently Lampard liked telling stories to his kids at bedtime, and apparently they’re so good, the Chelsea star feels it would be good to share them. Admittedly, these views reach us through the prism of the publishers’ PR department, a process designed to add sheen rather than authenticity. But there’s been nothing artificial about some of the spleen that’s greeted this literary coup.
“Your own child is unlikely to give your bedtime story a bad review, and I imagine that when you’re surrounded by fans and sycophants who’d applaud your every bowel movement it can be easy to get a distorted view of things,” sniffed one worthy, and that was understated compared to other stuff.
Mind you it’s not hard to incubate some scepticism. The record of footballers committing their thoughts to print is mixed. For every Only A Game there are hundreds of battery-produced “My Stories,” including it has to be said a depressingly self-regarding offering from Lampard himself – Totally Frank.
The banality of that offering, and so many other ‘ghosted’ sports biographies, still doesn’t prevent celebrity cheques being written a lot faster than any books. And in terms of exposure, you can see why. So much of the publishing business is tied up in coverage and brand names bring that; not so much feel the quality as the USP. It’s not just football either.
This November is the publication date for a first novel from champion jockey Tony McCoy. It will be a thriller set in the racing world, a la Dick Francis, a champion jockey himself who subsequently defined a genre which has produced more than a few pale imitators, none paler it has to be said than yours truly. Anyway, such a schedule suggests McCoy should be settling down to bash this out right now.