Interview by Mrignayani Mahamahadhenu
During the judging of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, UK media carried stories that Crystal, a novel by Jordan, real name Katie Price, was outselling the entire Booker shortlist. In What Price a blockbuster?, the UK’s Observernewspaper revealed the secrets of creating a modern literary masterpiece. We put the Observer’s points to Khaufpuri street-kid Animal, narrator of the Booker-shortlisted Animal’s People.
1. Don’t read books. It’s a waste of time. Katie Price admits that she doesn’t bother with fiction.
Nor do I. Okay, so in the story I read the first line of Pride and Prejudice. It was just to show off but Sinha complained that two people wrote calling him an ignorant git cos I got a couple of the words wrong. Anyway, what’s the point of fiction when there are so many facts in the world?
2. Employ a ghostwriter. Only losers write their own books. But make sure that you don’t give them any credit or mention their name.
Sore point, bloody. I recorded so many tapes and the story is all my words but that bugger Sinha has got his name all over the book. I am not even mentioned on the cover as the real author.
3. Note the precise usage and context of ‘minging’….
4. Create more believable characters. Angel Summer, from the first Katie Price novel, Angel, who makes a cameo in Crystal talks about her plans for ‘a total fairy-tale wedding, in a castle, and I’m going to arrive in a carriage pulled by six white horses’.
The Kha-in-the-Jar is a very believable character, he has two heads, lives in a bottle and wants to be burnt to life. I’d see him in my mad times. There he was both heads googling out of his jar, says to me, “Saalaa, don’t stare, know what you look like, eyes waving on stalks like snails, even slime do you leave from your nose is unwiped.” Some friend of Sinha’s has written that the Kha is an ‘alchemical symbol’, others say he is a magical realist, I say fuck off, there is nothing magical about madness and if I really do see someone for me that is real. To deny what you do hear and see and believe in what you don’t, that you could call crazy.
5. Know your Gucci from your Prada. Maggie Hanbury, Jordan’s literary agent, says that Jordan collaborates with Rebecca Farnworth, particularly over the matter of brand names.
Gucci-Pucci-Babalucci, for me there is just the Kakadu label. Fantastic shorts, tied by a piece of string. With so many pockets who needs a house? Want fashion? Khaufpur is full of stylish types like Abdul Saliq, the Pir Gate beggar. If you took a skeleton, chopped off one of its legs, removed half its teeth, dressed the result in rags and pissed all over it, this is the impression that Mr Saliq likes to give.
6. “Cocks should be always be ‘rock hard’. This, possibly, is where Ian McEwan falls down.
No problem. Which itself is a problem. I met Mr McEwan recently. He is a very decent man with a kind face. He wished me luck. I am sorry to hear he keeps falling down.
7. Think in colour. Consider having pink, purple and silver effects on your cover and naming your characters so they’ll create a decorative theme for your launch party.
On Holi night when Farouq took me to the bordel, I woke up and my thisthing was covered in blue paint with orange dots.
8. Look out ‘down there’. Keep up with contemporary synonyms for female genitalia. Kimmi, a singing rival, wears ‘skintight silver trousers which gave her a shocking camel toe’, Crystal is said to have a ‘love-heart tattoo on her la-la’ whereas her manager, Sadie, refers to it as her ‘CU Next Tuesday’.
Elli’s blue legs showed ‘everything’. This is better than camel-toe or ‘C U Next Tuesday’ which taste of shame as you say them. Plain ‘cunt’ is best because it’s simple, honest and quickly over. This was before I got a good look ‘down there’, after that the word that came to my mind was ‘grace’.
9. Have more plot. Crystal is a nobody who becomes a somebody on an X Factor-style reality show.
I used to be a nobody. Even the internest did not know about me. Nisha said “One day you will do some great work in the world. Then everyone will know your name.’ So now the sisterfuck internest has 50,000 things to say about me. Farouq says, ‘Saalaa, you are a celebrity.’ So I’m thinking I would like to meet up with Katie Price. We are both fully outstanding, I am ready to show her mine if she’ll show me hers.