Saturday, 2 June 2007

Prime Minister in Titles Scandal

So John Major, possibly one of the more human of Conservative Prime Ministers, publishes a book with the same title as my own. I thought I was doing well when More Than a Game got a feature piece on Radio 4’s Open Book, but he gets an entire serialisation. I am green. And he got a better cover. A much better cover. Everyone ever published got a better cover. Oh well.

The whole point of calling the first book More Than a Game was, in retrospect, always going to be a little lost on non-UK readers. It was meant to allude to the following widely mangled statement by Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly:

"Someone said 'football is more important than life and death to you' and I said 'Listen, it's more important than that'." [Source: Wikipedia]

It wasn’t meant to imply something like ‘other than game’, but an excessive state of superabundance in which narrative content takes a game to new, and interesting, places.

It's OK, I rarely talk about games and narrative any more.

I presume Major is making the same gesture towards Shankley, as are all the other authors who have used the formulation over the years. I wonder if the day will ever come when an ex-Prime Minister will retire to write a book about the influence Mario (or, terrifying thought, C&C or DefCon)has had on her or him that will be greeted with same warm British approval as Major has received for his book on Cricket?

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