E Squared

May I direct those of you of a literary bent to this incredible news.

For the rest of you who like funny books that won’t ever win the Booker, E Squared (the sequel to E) is now out in paperback.

It updates all the E characters to a thrusting new agency called Meerkat360. Here is its website.

I laughed, I cried (I didn’t cry). It is very funny, more so if you reside in the land we call ‘ad’ but it’s still a good laugh if you don’t (how do I know that?).

Today I was fortunate enough to have a very pleasant cup of tea with its author Matt Beaumont where he explained some stuff, so I’m going to try to remember it:

1. He waited a while to do the sequel because it gave the characters, and indeed the agency landscape, a chance to change.

2. He was made redundant from McCann’s and used the time and money to finish E. It sold pretty quickly, getting a positive response from one of the first six agents he sent it to. Then it came out (that bit was immensely satisfying) and continues to sell around the world, with sales probably topping half a million by now.

3. He read my ‘you need an out‘ post from a few days ago and agreed with it. His take is that when creatives get into their forties they can often be bored of the process. The novelty of seeing your stuff on billboards or TV will have worn off and because creatives require stimulation, they might find that they want to do something else. The other problem is that if you are removed from your job in your forties it’s quite difficult to get back in to anything decent. He said that he was fortunate to have E to keep him going but it then led to enough other things (eg: more books) but he’s now back at M&C Saatchi where he’s happily doing a bit of advertising.

4. He was once invited to meet the crew of the most recent space shuttle expedition. He had no idea why, but these crews often do PR tours to spread the good word of NASA, and one of them wanted to meet him. It transpired that this spaceman was English but had gained an American passport purely to become an astronaut. When he was on his way to training, his brother gave him E to read. He loved it and passed it around the other astronauts who also loved it. He wanted to take it into space as a personal possession but it wouldn’t fit (you get very little space, ironically enough), so he took a photocopy of the page with Matt’s face on it and then photographed himself holding this page in front of the window to outer space. Then he took it to the International Space Station and got it stamped (they have a passport thingie there). Back on Earth he met Matt and presented him with this piece of paper (Roger Daltrey was at the same ceremony; another astronaut had taken a CD of Who’s Best with him). Cool, huh?

We talked about a bunch of other things but my fingers are tired now.

So Matt’s made a million or so people very happy and continues to do so.

Have a read of both books. They’re funny (rare) and Matt’s a really good bloke.