My new paperback ‘The Last Goodbye’ is out February 2016

 

The Last Goodbye: A History of the world In Resignations is available at all good bookstores from 6th February 2016.

 

A new, updated and expanded ‘reboot’ of F**k You & Goodbye for the mass market, The Last Goodbye brings the tale of human history’s most misunderstood driver bang up to date with revealing insights into some of the highlights of the past two years – from Pope Benedict XVI’s mysterious self-sacking to the will-he-won’t-he resignation antics of FIFA’s former president, Sepp Blatter.

 

The Last Goodbye F**k You & Goodbye Author Matt Potter

The Last Goodbye is published by Little, Brown in the UK and Commonwealth, and Silvertail Books in the USA, Europe and rest of the world. Here’s what they said about the hardback edition last year…

 

“Rage, wit or breathtaking chutzpah that will leave you silently applauding or, maybe, looking to the door yourself” (Metro)

“A hilarious history of the resignation letter… Potter examines our fascination with parting shots” (Daily Telegraph)

“There is a poetry to the best resignations that comes from having nothing to lose” (Independent)

“Will make you want to quit your job immediately” (Buzzfeed)

“Just magnificent – an alternate history of our time” (Monocle)

“A fascinating and profound look at how quitters shape history” (The Current)

“A cracking read” (The Daily Politics)

“The sort of book that makes you think, long after you’ve put it down” (Rev. Richard Coles BBC Saturday Live)

“Celebrates the art of the elegant – or explosive – resignation” (The Week)

 

For any media or rights enquiries, please contact me via my agent, Humfrey Hunter at Hunter Profiles.

 

Resignations as historical force: Jurassic Park, grunge, capitalism and the story of the 1990s

 Tyrannosaurus rex resigns in jurassic Park

There’s a lot of noise about Jurassic World cleaning up in cinemas right now. But what about the real back story? Back in the 1990s, Jurassic Park was – unlikely as it might seem – part of the same global breakdown as grunge and the Berlin Wall.

 

Sound weird? In this short extract from my book F***k You & Goodbye: A History of the Resignation, it gets weirder.

 

With hindsight, the 1990s’ great theme was refusal; the decade’s core act was not the salute, but the shrug. The ironic, the uncommitted, were about to take over the world.

 

Across the world, and in Britain more than anywhere, the coming decade was to be a fruitful time for creative, public quitters. On my return in late 1990, I started collecting resignations and analysing their backgrounds in earnest. It wasn’t easy, simply because over here, too, there were suddenly so many flying around. Thatcherism was imploding, with Michael Heseltine and Geoffrey Howe taking turns at playing Mark Antony and Brutus with their own parting shots. Then, as recession hit Britain and the West, and the eighties achievers’ party hit the buffers, it was business’s turn. These were not the quiet goodbyes of yesteryear, but great, furious, splattering media events.

 

This was the dawning of a great age of corporate dissent.

 

In the West, the slackers wandered off the career path with a shrug – their anti-aspiration the mirror image of all those refuseniks in the East now discovering the joys of consumer society – while Adbusters’ subversive ‘truth in advertising’ defacement campaigns echoed the theatrical marginalia of the Berlin Wall’s Eastside Gallery. Self-empowerment was in, and suddenly no soap opera, cabinet meeting, movie, international summit or AGM was complete without a grandstanding declaration of independence.

 

Climactic, public resignations became a powerful international currency, everywhere from Wall Street to Hollywood. The era’s defining movies – Slacker (1991), The Firm (1991), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), A Few Good Men (1992), Groundhog Day (1993), Clerks (1994), even Jurassic Park (1993), all feature stars plotting and rehearsing their eventual break from the hypocrisy, villainy or empty repetition of their professional roles.

 

(Surely a candidate for least likely resignation speech in history is the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park: Richard Attenborough’s park boss, micro-managing every aspect of the lives of the revenue-generating animals inside his hermetically sealed biodome, is as clear an early-1990s everyboss or Iron Curtain dictator as ever lived, with his insistence that everyone could be bought, and his creation of minutely surveilled spaces for workers, human and reptile alike.

 

It’s great fun to watch it now as Berlin Wall or corporate allegory: the literal iron curtain keeping humans and dinos apart! Jeff Goldblum’s ominous soliloquy on chaos! The heroes’ suspicion of being co-opted into branded ideology! It’s no coincidence that when they rebel, the animals not only wreck the commercial plan, but vandalise his company’s iconic logo. As T. Rex tears apart the logos on the branded Jurassic Park hoardings in the final scene, he becomes the movie’s anti-corporate hero; its Adbuster; he gives his notice with a roar of independence that brings the whole venture crumbling down. The inhabitants have wrestled their own land back.)

 

By 1993, ‘getting on’ in your job had come to look, at least in pop-cultural terms, very much like being suckered. Irvine Welsh’s sarcastic jab at aspirational eighties consumerism in his bestseller of that year, Trainspotting – lifting the slogan of the iconic Katherine Hamnett/Wham T-shirt that symbolised the decade’s worst go-for-it platitudes – lifting the slogan of the iconic Katherine Hamnett/Wham! T-shirt that symbolised the decade’s worst go-for-it platitudes – became a pop-culture mantra, appearing on albums, club singles, and finally on T-shirts of its own: ‘Choose life. Choose a job . . . Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future.’

 

Pop culture’s superstars were Homer Simpson and Kurt Cobain, its key image the swimming baby chasing a dollar. Beck defined the mood with ‘Loser’ (1994), and vowed he wasn’t ‘going to work for no soul-sucking jerk’ on an album that seemed to dramatise quitting jobs (blowing leaves/washing dishes/putting chicken in a bucket with a soda/whatever) over and over again, while Rage Against The Machine created the ultimate ’90s chorus with ‘Killing In The Name’’s “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” (1992).

 

Berlin Wall Nirvana: The grunge take on 1990s history

 

The 1990s revolution was not about the fall of communism: it was about the realization by people all over the world that being a committed swallower of the post-war company line didn’t deliver what it promised. The ’80s contract, here as in the stagnating East, was a dud. The hour of the workplace dissident, the self-immolating truth-bomber, had come at last.

 

Loser by Beck Ceausescu remix

‘F**k You & Goodbye’ is a Waterstone’s Christmas bestseller

 

Just got this stunning news from the people at Waterstone’s who compile the bestseller lists. F**k You & Goodbye is at No.22 the week before Christmas:

 

Christmas Bestseller list for Waterstone's features Matt Potter's Fuck You And Goodbye

Matt Potter’s F**k You & Goodbye at No.22 on the pre-Christmas bestseller list at Waterstone’s

 

Thanks to everyone who’s been so kind about my history of the resignation, and of course everyone who’s bought it. This is the second-best* Christmas present I’ve ever had. You can buy the book from Waterstone’s as a hardback here or ebook at a special price of £4.99 here.

 

*No. 1 is still the Airfix triceratops.

Matt Potter’s ‘F**k You & Goodbye’ is Christmas pick for Waterstone’s, Foyles & more

 

My new book, F**k You & Goodbye: The Dark & Hilarious History of the Resignation, is available to buy now in hardback and ebook, in shops and online.

 

F**k You & Goodbye by Matt Potter

Waterstone’s Christmas Recommendations 2014

 

 

It’s also now been promoted to the recommended Christmas gift buy for Waterstone’s and Foyles, who are offering extra Foyalty points with it as a bonus.

 

The book has been getting a lot of attention. It’s been treated to a four-page feature in The Independent, a 1,200 word piece in The Telegraph, a Buzzfeed viral piece where it became one of their Top 20 hits and hit the front page, been the topic of discussion from Radio 4’s Saturday Live to BBC 2’s The Daily Politics – where Andrew Neal grilled me and Clare Short (whose resignation to Tony Blair over Iraq is featured in the book) at length.

 

The title caused some controversy, too (funny, that): Andrew Neal complained that he couldn’t mention it before the Watershed, so we arranged for the cover to be clearly visible throughout!

 

Buy it at a special discounted price for early birds at Amazon here, or via the Telegraph bookshop here.

 

New book for pre-order: ‘F*** You & Goodbye: The Dark, Moving & Often Hilarious History of the Resignation’

 

 

I’ve been waiting for this day. My new book of non-fiction is finally available on Amazon for pre-order as a print hardback. I’ve just signed off on the cover, and here it is. (Click to enlarge).

 

 

Titled F*** You & Goodbye: The Dark, Moving & Often Hilarious History of the Resignation, it’s out early next year, published in the UK by Constable & Robinson. Using resignations to trace the key stories, social developments and philosophies of the age, it takes in the Reformation, the American Civil War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of celebrity culture, and more. Here’s the publisher’s elevator pitch.

“History is written by the winners. It’s the survivors – the faithful servants, the insiders, the ones who stick around, who can adapt to almost any condition – who get to write the official histories. They publish the memoirs, park in the directors’ spots, erect the statues, form the new governments, wipe out the pockets of resistance, recruit the new starters, set the agendas, talk on the documentaries and retrospectives.

               Yet theirs – the official version – is never the whole story. There’s another side that we only glimpse through the cracks.

               The quitter’s tale offers a far more compelling, and often a more honest version of history. It’s full of self-deception, bloody knives, betrayal, honour, disgrace, disgust, thwarted ambition and shattered hopes, and sometimes a wicked sting in the tail…

              ‘F*** You & Goodbye’ includes famous – and not-so-famous – parting shots from famous resigners such as Richard Nixon, Steve Jobs, Roy Keane, Che Guevara, Wyatt Earp, Geoffrey Howe, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Richard Peppiatt, Tony Blair, General Robert E. Lee, William Faulkner, Mikhail Bulgakov, George Orwell, Roy Edward Disney (Walt’s heir), King Edward VIII, Groucho Marx, John Profumo, Ruud Gullit, the Enron board, Dave Lee Travis, PResident Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Andrew Mitchell, Giles Coren and Charlie Sheen, and countless others.

            It examines the exit wounds they left, and how they changed the world we think we live in, the jobs we do, even who we are – leading the reader on a journey into modern society’s real heart of darkness.”

 

The book is the fruit of a 25-year obsession, and continues the theme of secret history – and the idea that the real story of our time is the one you glimpse between the cracks – from Outlaws Inc. It’s been fun writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Order it early, and let me know by email, and send you a personal invite to the swish publisher’s launch party in London early next year.