Yep, it’s that time of the week again. Herewith be the latest in an increasingly improbable line of Digested Reads, aka the Book du Jour in 300 words. This week: THE JOURNEY by Tony Blair (hey, is it just me, or does Tone look a lot like John McEnroe these days? No?). Anyhoo, roll it there, Collette …
“Tone here, Tony Blair. I haven’t gone away, y’know! Just like my bestest buddies Gerry ‘n’ Martin. Lovely guys. I like them more than I should, really. But hey, everyone makes a few mistakes. Am I right? You know I am!
“So I met Cherie at Oxford. Like an animal in bed, I was. A ring-tailed lemur, to be precise.
“Ah, Oxford. I even played a little pick-up guitar. Rock ‘n’ Roll! Hey, did you know Bill Clinton played sax? I’m just saying.
“So, yeah, New Labour. Jeez, it’s not like I set out to destroy the party. And anyone can make a mistake, am I right? You know I am!
“Gosh, though, when I think back now. The Queen, eh? Lovely woman. I liked her more than I should have, really. But that’s us closet Conservatives for you. Hey, anyone can make a mistake, right?
“Anyway, that whole New Labour wheeze … Look, what I actually said was, ‘Let’s run a Con past the electorate.’ Was it my fault Gordon thought I meant ‘con’? Mandy knew what I meant. Eh, Mand? Down, girl, sorry, boy!
“But listen, while we’re on the subject of Gordon … He was a politician, okay? Of all people, he should have known what a politician’s promise is worth. Caveat emptor, chaps. Am I right? Rock ‘n’ roll!
“So, yeah, Iraq. Look, between you and me, there’s what you know and what you believe you know and what you know you believe you know you believe. And you weren’t there at that meeting. Me, George and God. I can’t reveal the deets, obviously, but let me put it this way - Saddam don’t play no pick-up guitar. Iraq ‘n’ Roll!
“Northern Ireland? Don’t mention it. No, seriously - don’t mention Northern Ireland. Cherie gets a migraine. Big Ian’s accent, apparently.
“Gosh, peeps, it’s been a journey. Not entirely unlike that band, Journey. All together now: Don’t stop / be-lee-vin’ / Hold on to the fee-e-lin’ / Streetlights peeps …
“Rock ‘n’ Roll!”
The Digested Read, In One Line: The Blair Snitch Project.
This article first appeared in the Evening Herald.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.