When I started to write, I had three ambitions. I wanted to be published; I wanted to support myself, and one day my family, through my books; and more than anything I wanted my work somehow to provide the inspiration for a bath or shower product. Sonic Death Monkey is the name of Barry’s band in High Fidelity, but it is also the name of a (frankly peculiar) chocolate shower gel on sale at Lush, and until anyone from Lush tells me otherwise, I am claiming it as the fulfillment of a lifetime’s work – it seems unlikely to me that they hit on the name coincidentally.
If you are a young writer currently trying to whittle your ambitions down to a manageable number, and you’re currently trying to choose between, say, a Best Original Screenplay Oscar and a name on a shower gel, I should warn you there is very little razzmatazz that comes with the latter: you go into a toiletries shop, and there it is. No awards ceremony, no letter, not even a lifetime’s supply of the product that bears your name, or the name of the band that your character plays in, anyway. Not even one free sample-sized bottle. But then, if you’re in the shower-gel naming game for the glory, your motives are all wrong anyway. Knowing I’ve cracked it is all the glory I need.