The Dark Side, from Seattle to New Zealand
By Daniel Simpson at Nov 19, 2012
NEWSLETTER » A ROUGH GUIDE TO THE DARK SIDE
I spent the early part of autumn on a Greyhound, touring around the U.S. to promote my memoir. People said the trip would make a book. Others thought the first should be a film. Either way on either, it was fun.
I spoke in 18 cities in roughly 30 days, which meant I spent more time stuck on buses than elsewhere. The story I told evolved along the way. What began as a talk about "Why I Quit The New York Times To Join Balkan Gangsters" wound up as "Careers Advice I Wish I'd Got At School" (delivered to journalism students).
Among other mutations were "Of Course We're Being Lied To, But Why?" (to Texan sceptics and conspiracists) and "Why I Threw Away My Job To Be An Activist" (in various twisted incarnations).
Though friends offered valuable help, I made up the tour from day to day; few of the dates were booked before I left. Audience participation varied: some venues were packed, others less so; at least when I got there.
Though all had distinctive features, from The Writer's Garret armchairs in Dallas, to a gallery in the melting pot of Hamtramck, my favourite was a poetry bookshop in Colorado. Like many, that event was scheduled a few days beforehand. It still drew a crowd.
A last-minute hostage to fate, the tour was a flashback to Belgrade; as anarchic as the ECHO Festival, but minus Balkan gangsters so less stressful. I even sold books to random passers by, as well as those who came to talks.
Although I was hard on journalists (me included), the media proved surprisingly receptive. Here's a short TV interview about New York Times propaganda.
And here's a lengthier one on Texan public radio, with the focus on my Balkan misdemeanours.
For more on what's wrong with the news business, try this half-hour chat on Radio New Zealand.
And if you'd rather hear my story's bare essentials, here's all you could want (and more) in pithy soundbites.
Archived interviews are available on my website, along with this profile in a Californian magazine.
There's also further in-depth coverage, including this from a former Reuters Belgrade bureau chief.
To set up an interview, or order my memoir for review, please contact me here. I'm also scheduling more talks for the coming months; here's a flyer and information from my agent.
If you've read the book and enjoyed it, please say so on Amazon (.com and/or .co.uk); and share this email with anyone else who might be interested. Thanks.