I don’t know what to call it, but I went to this thing where an author was being interviewed about a book he’d written. The nature of the book, being made up of interviews with many people, made it less authorly for the guy to give a reading. The author was more of an editor than he was a writer for the purposes of this book.
What’s the book you say? It is “The Uncensored, Unauthorized Biography of The Simpsons” or something along those lines. I can’t be bothered to dig up a link or google or it something. Pretty much, right now, I’m typing with one hand as the other caresses a warm cup of coffee. The author is John Ortved. I’d never heard of him before I read this book. He was being interviewed by Richard Crouse who I have heard of. Around Toronto, Richard Crouse is known as one of those guys who has a TV show and a radio show about movies. Every Friday, he reviews some new flicks on the radio morning shows. He looks like Hugh Dillon gone swing. (If that sentence makes any sense to you, then you can actually picture this guy perfectly, if it doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t sweat it, it’s a very obscure reference. It’s just that this guy looks like Hugh Dillon but made a much different choice of lifestyle at some point.)
This non-reading, book launch interview for a book that had been out for some time already was at the Gladstone Hotel. I don’t know if it’s still a hotel, but it’s more of a nightclub, intimate concert-venue type of place. It’s also in a part of town that I felt uncomfortable leaving my car parked down there. But it was a Monday night. The heroin addicts are probably sleeping off their high from the weekend on a Monday night.
This book itself, is more about the behind-the-scenes of the Simpsons and the writing staff. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to see get made for quite some time. Not that I knew this particular book was being written. I didn’t know what it was when I saw it on the shelf at the bookstore. I mean as a concept, I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Simpsons writing staff. This book is at times, about the warts of the Simpsons writers and producers. The Simpsons makes a lot of money and everybody wants their piece of the pie. And it is Hollywood. Everybody’s back has a spot saying “Insert knife here.”
The whole thing was interesting. I’d never been to a book launch before of a real book. In college, a couple buddies of mine got published in some annual short story collection compiled by the school’s resident grammar nazi. I went to the launch to support my friends, bought the book, had them both sign it. This signing though, I forgot the book at home. I wasn’t going to buy it again. And, my copy of the book, well, it’s been in the washroom already. I would feel uncomfortable asking an author to sign his book after I’d brought the book into the washroom.
I did ask the author a question. I asked “What of Swartzwelder?” John Swartzwelder is the man who has written the most Simpsons episodes of any of the writers. He’s no longer on the show. He has also written several novels which are pretty funny. He’s developed a reputation as being a recluse. There really is nothing more interesting that the mysterious. We all know that even though we’ve already won the red snapper, we can’t resist going for what’s in the box!
And my own thanks to Christielli for alerting me to this event. Otherwise, I would have stayed home, ate too much and watched some sucky television.