Kevin Carver is a household name, a popular TV soap star.
He’s coasting through life in the same semi-detached, slightly smug way he’s always done, when he makes the first in a series of mistakes. One poor decision leads to another and things go from bad to very much worse. The national treasure finds himself the subject of vitriolic press attacks and a police investigation, and so much public loathing he begins to wonder if he has any chance of receiving justice.
That probably sounds quite dark, which it is. But in the hands of a comic master like Andy Hamilton, it is also consistently hilarious. As the story of one self-regarding man’s journey back to joining the human race it keeps the reader guessing to the very last page. But its also a pin-sharp satire on the shallows of modern media culture and the dysfunctional relationship we all have with the idea of ‘celebrity’.
Helping to fund The Star Witness gets you a ringside seat as a master craftsman pulls all the threads of his story together. And your name in the back. Better still, there are chances to join Andy for an evening of gossip above a pub, to attend a swanky Unbound launch party (also probably above a pub), or even have him to crash one of your own dinner parties - check out the pledge options opposite.
If you know me at all, you will know me as a liar.
That is almost certainly the perception you will have of me. There is absolutely nothing I can do about that. I lied, that is public knowledge. But the lying is only one small part of my story – a story that needs telling, if only so I can come to understand it better myself. So I’m going to present myself to you warts and all, or as my friend Mac describes me, 95% warts. And I’m going to tell the story as I lived it, in the here and now, stumbling from moment to moment, mostly with my heart in my mouth and with very few opportunities for perspective.
So, where to begin? With my character? Maybe. Maybe I should start in my childhood, or the rapids of adolescence, but there was nothing exceptional about my upbringing; so I think that this story begins more recently, at a critical choice, at a tipping point.
It begins with a fork.
I am sitting in a restaurant with a beautiful young woman with impossibly blue eyes and there is a forkful of lamb suspended in mid-air a few inches from my mouth. And that’s where it will stay. I can see myself now, a frozen frame, the first bad decision. I should have kept eating, it was just a crass remark, I should have let it go. If only I had let it go.
She is waiting for a response to her latest observation, but I could ignore it, God knows I’ve ignored all the others. She’s already come out with several potential fork-stoppers. Almost as soon as we arrived – as the head waiter led us to our ‘special guest table’ – she hit me with the first one.
“Irony is dead,” she announced, flicking her hair back out of her eyes. “That’s what my mate Keir says, he says audiences aren’t interested in ideas any more, they want emotions, he’s doing an article about it – ‘Sincerity Is The New Irony’.”
I let that one go.
I’d known many beautiful women who talked rubbish; having to listen to them was the price you had to pay.
And so I had let her babble on. There was the occasional diner, I noticed, who was staring at us, but that was normal.
All through the evening, she kept them coming. As we finished our miniscule entrées, she had told me that fashion was basically just literature written in clothing. I waved that one through. When she had said that if Sophocles were alive today he would be writing for Hollyoaks, again, I gave no response – not the barest flicker.
But slowly, as the meal wore on, something deep, deep down inside me had begun to recoil. I had been listening to this kind of drivel for months now, trying not to wince whenever she expressed an opinion. So why the hell was I still seeing her?
At one level, the answer was simple. She was stunning. Also, she was 24 and I was 52, so do the maths. My ego – fairly swollen to begin with – had grown to the size of a cathedral because this beautiful young woman found me attractive, even though I was old enough to be her considerably older brother. But our conversations had become... well, I knew that my passivity was demeaning and that was making me angry, I suppose, deep down. Looking back, I see that now. But, at the time, I think I told myself – heigh-ho, she was what she was. We were what we were. So, the evening would probably have passed without incident if she hadn’t finally come out with an absolute belter; she looks up from her plate and says: “Of course, many people feel that the blacks in South Africa were better off under apartheid.”
That’s the one.
The one that stops the fork.
Many, many thanks to all of you who have been pledging. Sorry I've been a bit quiet, but first we had the Black Hole of Christmas, and then we went to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks to look at birds with extraordinary plumage and ridiculous beaks and try not to tread on any scorpions or beautiful but lethal snakes.
It's great to have the book fully funded now. Sadly, we've now reached the limit…
Travelling round the UK with a show about change, I have noticed a few changes as I go.
1. Most British medium-sized towns are now composed of two parts. A dilapidated High Street consisting mostly of charity shops, and the gleaming mall full of shoppers drinking coffee from global outlets who pay no tax. Hard to see how High Streets can survive, apart from as heritage sites or sets for dystopian…
Sorry if I've been slow responding to enquiries about The Star Witness, but I've been touring the UK with my one-man show, Change Management - remaining shows Sunday 15th November in Harpenden, Wednesday 18th Exeter, Thursday 19th Portsmouth, Wednesday 25th Margate, Thursday 26th Reading, and Saturday 28th Blackheath.
The show is a comic look at social change over the last 60 years, and during…
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