Elvis Shackleton at Christmas
14 December 2010
As the festive season hurtles nearer in relentless fashion, Long Midnight Publishing's enigmatic marketing legend, Elvis Shackleton, gives his traditional end of year interview to LMP Beat reporter Eldon Crayfish.
Eldon Crayfish: So, let's cut straight to the most exciting story of the year, the news that's all over the web. People are saying there's a possibility that 2011 will see an all-new Barney Thomson title. Can you confirm the rumours?
Elvis Shackleton: It is what it is.
EC: What does that even mean?
ES: There's been some discussion on the matter, but we're still waiting for confirmation. It might happen. But then, there are lots of things that might happen. And some of them won't.
EC: Do you know if Douglas feels any responsibility towards the publishing industry to write an eighth Barney novel? Obviously it would be such a huge publishing event, you could pretty much re-write the profit margins on the year for the entire industry on the back of it.
ES: For sure, but you'd have to put that question to him.
EC: But you only have to study the...
ES: Look, Eldon, we all know what this means, we all know the kind of figures we're talking about. An eighth Barney Thomson book would be like Star Wars VII and Harry Potter 8 combined. Think Lord of the Rings 4 meets Titantic: The Sequel. In purely literary terms, to think of something that could possibly match it, you're probably looking at The Bible 2. Seriously. You just have to look at the numbers. Or maybe a new James Bond book written by a Nobel/Booker/Pulitzer/X-Factor winner, with the genes of Charles Dickens and inhabited by the soul of Shakespeare who possesses Einsteinian intellect and Tom Brady's throwing arm.
EC: Are you implying that Barney Thomson author Douglas Lindsay has Tom Brady's throwing arm?
ES: Well, Douglas has the throwing arm of a snake, but that wasn't what I was saying. But you know what we're talking about here, Eldon, you know what's at stake. Frankly we're dealing with matters we can't possibly hope to understand. The very future of the publishing industry rests on his shoulders. For the moment it's probably best to just let him take his time to make up his own mind.
EC: But the rumour is he's already written it.
ES: Eldon, you and I both know that's not true.
EC: Well, what about those people who say that he ought to just leave it. He's written seven Barney Thomson novels. Seven's plenty. How about he goes off and writes something else?
ES: Yep, that's a fair point. But once again you have to look at the numbers, Eldon. Douglas goes off and creates a detective series, well fair enough. Is it going to be any good? Well, maybe it will, maybe it won't. But how many detective series are there on Planet Earth? How many have there been in publishing history? Hundreds. Thousands. But how many barbershop death-junky series have there been?
EC: Five or six?
ES: One. It's not many people who get to create something truly unique. Why follow it up by doing what everyone else is doing when you can continue to do your own unique thing?
EC: Would you say you were in actual unique territory when you're talking about his eighth book set in a barbershop?
ES: Now you're just playing with words.
EC: This extraordinary speculation aside, what kind of twelve months has it been for Long Midnight Publishing?
ES: Well, there was the spy/sex scandal involving three Russian secretaries in our office in Istanbul; the failed takeover attempt of HSBC which I masterminded out of our office in Nanjing; the arrest of fifteen of our employees in Singapore for their part in an operation smuggling illegal copies of Bob Dylan Christmas music into the country. The charges, of course, were completely unfounded, but that wasn't proven until three of our fellows had been found guilty and executed.
EC: That sounds like some weird and heavy shit.
ES: No one said life was fair, Eldon.
EC: What about the claims of insider dealing on Wall Street?
ES: None of that was true. Not so's that anyone can prove at any rate.
EC: And the expenses scandal in the Sydney office?
ES: A media plot.
EC: Yes, I think we can all see that. So, how do you see next year panning out? More sex, corruption, financial and bribery scandals?
ES: Pretty much.
EC: Have a nice Christmas.
ES: You too, Eldon.