Lucky: What happened when I decided to throw away money

 

What follows is a true story. It seems so bizarre to me, even now, that I find it hard to reconcile with myself. Was that really me? Surely I didn’t do anything quite this crazy? But it was. And I did. Though whether it was really crazy or not, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

 

It started with Lisa Lynch. I’ve written before about her. She wrote a fantastic book called The C Word. The planned sequel was to be called Lucky, and while she was writing it, she asked a lot of us for stories from our lives on the theme of luck. As it happened, I had a story – a very strange one. So I sent it to her, and she sent me a note back to say how much she liked it, and planned to incorporate it. When Lisa died, the book remained unfinished. I’ve often thought about posting the story, but the time was never right. Then, the other day, I told it to someone else.

 

It still had a strange, irreducible magic about it. In fact, it freaks me out a bit. So here it is…

 

Danish Kronor nailed to the wall by Matt Potter

I’m a confirmed sceptic, science geek and logical positivist. So I don’t actually believe in luck at all – just average outcomes. This is a bad thing from the point of view of enjoyment, as it means that even when an incredibly good thing happens by chance – I catch a train and get a seat; I find a tenner; I happen across the very thing I’ve been looking for –  I wince.

 

Because I know I’ve just made a withdrawal, as it were, in the bank of average outcomes. The luck bank. And sooner or later, a deposit will be required.

 

So no, luck hasn’t been a great focus of my life. And yet. And yet. The facts still say this all happened.

 

And it all began with the Aphex Twin.

 

I read an interview in the early-1990s in which he put the fact that his noise/chaotic/atonal/uncommercial music had suddenly become hugely successful through absolutely no fault of his own with the fact that he’d recently moved flat. His new basement apartment, he explained, turned out to have been a bank vault before it was converted by the property developer. Aphex Twin, who hadn’t known it when he moved in, said he’d noticed that since the day he moved there, money seemed to keep wanting to come to him. He’d apparently even had a mini-crisis about it, freaked out, got paranoid in a slightly-stoned way maybe, and started trying to avoid making money, even give it away, for fear it was all a wind-up or that it was too good to trust. But the more he freaked, the more unsolicited cheques would arrive, the more cash would be dropped round to his house.

 

I just put that down to being a chaotic bloke who worked hard. He’d obviously forgotten all the productivity (like we all do) and so when records sold, he thought woah, what? Cash? What for? But then it happened.

 

OK, so fast forward to a point, a coupla years later, when I moved into my new house. Completely broke; overstretched; no money. I then split up with my partner, so I suddenly had a whole joint mortgage to pay off on my own, and had just had a job go tits up. As money got lower and lower, then minus, I began living off borrows. Hmm.

 

I was doing a bit of drunk decorating one night (it’s great fun, you get to splash it about like the Stone Roses and stakes is low with a white undercoat in a house you can’t afford to furnish or carpet) and I found an old coin between the floorboards. It was Danish, one of the Krønor with a hole in the middle. So I hung it on a nail over the door, and as I did so, I thought of the Aphex Twin, and then I thought, what the hell, hahahahaha! Then I had another drink. And then, giggling, I went a bit crazy with the old spare holiday currency pot.

 

By dawn, the entire house was a metal detector’s nervous twitch. I had secreted foreign coins inside polyfilla’d walls; wallpapered over old Polish Zloty notes; sealed invalidated French centimes behind skirting; the lot. I had a hangover, and a massive paint headache, I’d fallen asleep without washing and there was white paint on my bed, and I thought, well, that was stupid.

 

Next day was Monday. I got home from a meeting about a job to discover a message on my ansaphone (yeah, that long ago). Some articles I’d written years ago had unaccountably suddenly started selling on syndication, and would I agree to having some cash to let some Brazilian mag print them. But I didn’t think about the Aphex Twin.

 

Then I found a purse, and a diary in a hedge. I called the numbers, the person was happy, she asked me to keep any cash in the purse. There was £30. I didn’t, I just gave it back. That afternoon she came round with £50 to say thanks for everything, and for giving the money back when I could have kept it. In 48 hours, I got an unexpected expenses rebate. A building society got taken over and sent me cash. My phone company said sorry for something I wasn’t aware they’d done, and sent me some cash too.

 

A bell rang in my head. I started to do the Aphex Twin thing, and see what would happen if I actively turned down money. And sure enough, it started coming in.

 

I won’t bore you with details, just to say that the number of odd windfalls was truly freakish, and in direct and inverse proportion to the amount I tried not to earn.

 

On the third day – all this happened in that short a space of time – I  turned down the job offer – which I would normally have jumped at – quite deliberately pricing myself out of it, just because I now figured something would come up anyway, what with my hot streak. Unexpectedly, they came back with a yes. Then an old mate rang to say he’d got a job on a daily and wanted me to do a daily column.

 

It genuinely did start rolling in, the more I tried to waste it. I never do lotteries. But a friend gave me a scratchcard as a joke-shit present, and it won. I never bet. But I bet on the Derby, and made a packet. Before, I’d never say no. But I did, and more and more people came back offering more for whatever it was. I was briefly minted. I bought new furniture I’d never have bought before. I paid off shitloads of mortgage. I even bought a suit and started drinking cocktails. Because I could.

 

Of course, it didn’t last. The momentum, or maybe just the novelty, the sense of liberation, faded. And as it did, I went back to being suspicious of chance, risk-averse, and poorish. I’ve thought about it, and of course it’s the return to the mean – bad luck and good luck are illusory patterns we impose with our minds onto a series of random, or at least disorderly, happenings.

 

But I also think it’s all about an odd ‘cheat’ or jumpstart to your confidence: believing – or even playing without really believing – that you’re ‘lucky’ can give you the balls to make decisions or take paths that you’d otherwise be too craven or risk-averse to take. It’s shamanism, in a way: the berserker’s invulnerability in battle. The hoodoo. The placebo for your sense of adventure and positive risk-taking.

 

It’s not whether you’re lucky at all. (You’re not.) It’s whether you feel lucky.

 

So tell me, punk. Do ya?

 

Where are you, Sue George? Help me to track down the vanishing lady behind the new book!


I have a new non-fiction book out in November, published by Little, Brown in hardback. It’ll be one of the Christmas display books at Waterstones. I guess lots of people will see it, and of course I hope lots of them read it.

 

But mainly, I hope lots of people see the first page… and that someone will recognise the name there.

 

Because on that page I’ve dedicated the book to someone I last saw when I was 10 – some 33 years ago – who probably had more to do with it being written at all than… well, even me. I need to let her know.

 

Who is she?
Back in 1977, I was one of the first intake at a tiny school called Lowbrook Primary, in a small town called Maidenhead in Berkshire. It was an extraordinary place for a number of reasons. It was an experiment, I think. There was a computer, and a smart, 30-year-old headteacher called Graham Sullivan who – in 1978 – was telling us all we’d need to learn to code.

 

But there was another teacher who inspired me personally a great deal there – seven-to-10-year-old as I was.

 

Her name then was Mrs Sue Evans, though she’d been born Susan George. (All the teachers used to laugh about the fact that we had a famous actress in the school, and we laughed too, though we had no idea who that actress was supposed to be.)

 

I remember sometimes I’d answer questions or hand her pieces of language work, and she’d occasionally look as if she’d seen a ghost. Often, it seemed like quite she liked the ghost she was seeing, or found the ghost a very curious creature indeed. This interested me. Once, I said a word she hadn’t expected me to know (it was ‘megalomaniac’) that made her ask if I’d seen her write the word on her pad. I hadn’t. Then she laughed and looked at me funny.

 

I realise now how much these odd, startled reactions meant. I enjoyed getting those reactions, and in the sort of natural, unconscious way that kids adapt, I realise now that I began to strive to make them happen more often.

 

We had an assignment in which we were to compare colours to things we’d seen in nature. When I wrote that a kind of creamy off-white was the same colour as a songthrush’s throat, Susan Evans stopped and put down her book and with a sort of half-smile, said she bet I’d end up being a writer.

 

Well, I realised later that it was from that point that I began thinking of that. When annoying uncles would ask what I was going to be, I didn’t just say a footballer or a soldier or a fossil-hunter any more. Writer was possible. Writer was a thing.

 

Writer is now a thing. And, fool’s errand as it seems, I’m trying to track her down to tell her that I’ve dedicated my new book to her… because it’s partly down to her spark that I’m making a living from writing books 35 years on.

 

Something happened there that opened a tiny chink of light in my head, and that made all the difference. A great teacher at primary age is worth a hundred any time after that, and she was just such a one. And I’d very much like to tell her I’ve remembered her, and what an impact she had.

 

Sue Evans née George is a very hard lady to track down at this remove, though.

 

I think she came from Wales, and I know she lived in Maidenhead. Her colleagues remember her with fondness, but eventually they left the school too – one in 1983, one a year later – and lost touch. Some think she moved back to Wales – her family might have been from South Wales. Others recall she may have split from her husband when she moved away. She’d be in her early 60s now, I expect. Her name might be back to Susan George or Sue George again… or she might have remarried and it might be something completely different again.

 

So this is an appeal to the public, as my other avenues of enquiry begin to peter out. The National Union of Teachers have put a call out in their magazine. I’ve been in touch with records offices (huge numbers of possible Susan Georges born within the date spread, no record of a Sue George marrying an Evans), the school, former colleagues, local papers in Wales, and an extravagant – no, an embarrassing – number of Susan Evanses and Susan Georges and Sue Georges. And even some Sues who are teachers and around the right age.

 

My apologies to all the bewildered Sues.

 

So why am I bothering? That was 33-35 years ago, and I was just another of the saplings. She certainly won’t recall one little kid she inspired from the late 1970s by now anyway. Nevertheless, I wanted to tell her how important her enthusiasm and interest remain… and that I’m prepared to testify to that in the window of Waterstones.

 

So please, spread the word. And if anyone knows her – if you bump into her, or have friends in common, or even suspect your Sue or Susan is this Sue or Susan, then tell her. The things she did mean a lot, more than ever maybe, even now in 2014. As it says on the book: Better late than never.

 

 

Premiere: Official preview clip from ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’

 

There’s a great documentary feature film on arms smuggler Viktor Bout at Sundance 2014 this week.

 

I’m part of it, but don’t let that put you off – it’s by the team who made the award-winning Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer last year. There’s more detail below, but in the meantime, here’s the official trailer for The Notorious Mr Bout.

 

 

I’m available for comment or press purposes around the release of the film. Contact me through the comments here, or on Twitter where I’m @MattPotter. For film or TV work, contact Rebecca Watson at Valerie Hoskins Associates.

 

Film: Feature documentary ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’ to premiere at Sundance

[Update to this story 12/1/14: The Notorious Mr Bout has just been added to the BBC’s Storyville season for 2015/16.]

 

The Notorious Mr Bout, a feature-length documentary film on ‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout – in which I appear and on which I consulted – is to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

 

Matt Potter features in Maxim Pozdorovkin and Tony Gerber's Merchant of Death film about Viktor Bout

The Merchant of Death, behind bars in Thailand (Used by kind permission, from the film ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’)

 

 

The 90-minute documentary is produced and directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Tony Gerber, whose latest film on Pussy Riot won international acclaim and was banned in Russia. Its screening at Robert Redford’s Sundance Festival in Utah this January comes in advance of its international release and tour of European and American festivals.

 

The film follows the rise and fall of Viktor Bout – family man, polyglot, raconteur, and the world’s most notorious smuggler of illicit arms, currently serving time in a US jail – from Soviet military days to Africa, Afghanistan, through his arrest in Thailand for offering to supply arms to Colombia’s FARC rebels, to his conviction in a New York courtroom and beyond.

 

It’s exciting news here, and if you’re interested in organised crime, arms trafficking, the violent chaos of the Soviet breakup, modern terror tactics or the shadow world uncovered in Outlaws Inc, my guess is you’ll love it.

 

It promises to be a great film, and I’m making myself available for interview and comment both around the Sundance schedule and through the year’s releases. Just contact me via the comments, or on Twitter, where I’m @MattPotter.

 

 

1,217 words for absence

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Lena is a close friend. She’s been my friend for more than 20 years now, so I’m lucky. She’s a beautiful, playful, kind, lovably geeky girl/woman – from Uganda by way of North London’s Jubilee line Big Yellow Storage hinterlands, then Gloucestershire, Cambridge and the Big Smoke.

 

We were flatmates for years – the years of back-to-mines and shared laundry runs. Lena married Rich, another of my closest friends – they have a marriage that’s loving and occasionally complex, just like all the best ones – and our close-knit little group, with Lena at the centre, has shared too many nights out to remember. (On one, she developed an obsession with a trance club’s crowd-roaming bongo player, and kept following him through the crowd like a duckling after its mum. ‘Bongo Man’ is our codeword for getting too wrapped up in something, work, whatever. Which, being Lena, happens often.)

 

What you really need to know, though, the key in a way to understanding everything else about Lena, is that so much about her is hugely, winningly incongruous. She’s a fearsomely intelligent polymath without an ego; the sociable introvert who holds our group together; a source of support and advice who carries her own sadnesses patiently; a Russian-, French-, Italian-speaking, law-firm partnering, multi-instrumentalist whose nature is to look up to people, and who seems genuinely baffled by her life’s big puzzle, which is of course that the rest of us love her so deeply. Her learning sits so lightly on her as to be invisible if that’s what she wants; and she wears her reading glasses with the same slightly amused elegance with which she sports her hangovers. I’ll tell you more about her in a minute. You’ll like her a lot.

 

But what I want to tell you first was how it went the day we buried her. Or at least, how it went for me.

 

As the days pass it sometimes seems as if I wasn’t properly there. (Did it even happen? I still catch myself pretending we just haven’t spoken for a couple of months. That Lena’s out there on the other side of town, waiting for the moment to pop up on my timeline.) But then come the joltingly clear memories.

 

The icy blue sunshine and high, painter’s clouds – refugees from the mountains who still haven’t got the hang of blending in among the towers and flats.

 

My last look up at the side of the spire, doing that falling-back thing it does as it soars away from you. At the streets, thinking how out of joint were all the vans and chattering teenagers and shopping mums. The darkness of the threshold. The church, huge, flooded with light, smelling churchy.

 

Then Lena’s family wandering into the church. They moved to all the right places, but looked like they’d lost their direction somewhere.

 

The light that fell across Lena’s mum, dad, brothers and sister. They nodded, and smiled, and sat, and fell silent. They sat across the aisle from the rest of us; her friends, her husband, her in-laws. I felt ashamed somehow, inappropriate: I couldn’t help them. The girl who had died was their daughter, their baby sister.

 

I couldn’t stop looking across at them. Their grief had her bemused, sad-laughing eyes, and a sort of patient, scholarly attentiveness that I’d seen in Lena a million times. Her sister moved her head with the same listening gesture. I remember thinking how their shoes were all polished. My shoes weren’t polished. I worried at it, tried to think of an injoke between Lena and me that would have justified my lapse, made it OK.

 

When I resurfaced, the church was full.

 

I found myself amazed at how many different Lenas we were burying.

 

All this time, I had known just one. Rich, her husband, knew another. Maya and Sema, her BFFs, each had their own, subtly different Lenas. But here was Lena the baby daughter, childhood classmate, little sister, boss, mentor, steadying family influence, benefactor. Those Lenas were all here, you could feel them filling the church, each with her own companion.

 

And for a moment I felt a strange euphoria, seeing my friend as if she were arriving, really becoming whole, instead of departing. All along, she’d been all this. To so many people. And each of us, even as we claimed her as our own, had merely borrowed a little bit of her for what felt, in the end, like the blinking of an eye.

 

So I tried to keep that in my head, but the vicar was talking. I couldn’t focus. I kept looking at my friends now; the ones who had known, more or less, the Lena I had. I wanted to speak with them about this feeling that we were all together in witnessing something extraordinary, the way you try and seek out others who witnessed the same event, saw the same gig. “You saw that too, right?”

 

Or: That was someone very special, wasn’t it?

 

Here were the university friends and acquaintances, too. Some I’d seen in the 20 years since we graduated, but not many, and not often. (I don’t know why, except there’s something in me, or there was at least, that doesn’t live well in the midst of groups and reunions. That fades with age too.) They were good people. I’d been really fond of them back then, in my spiky-young-man way, and I hadn’t seen them in decades. There we stood, smiling, or crying, or attentive, or stony-faced. Together.

 

Inside that church, now deep inside the service – with time slowed to an excruciating thick, dreamlike crawl and nowhere to look but up, down or across – I saw them all clearly for the first time. Not composed for upbeat hellos or wearing expressions of sympathy; not thinking about the clothes or the hairlines or the kids; but naked, and with all their years.

 

Two of my closest, Al and Fi, stood behind me. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear him moving his arm through hers, and her crying softly, just by my left shoulder-blade.

 

Lena’s best friends were speaking; Sema and Kofi read poems, then Maya began her eulogy. They were lightning conductors, drawing all the crackling and confused babble in our minds, the awful mix of emotions, and speaking them out again in a way that couldn’t hurt us. They took it on them, and they fought hard, and it helped.

 

To my surprise, I was ready for the grief, the helplessness and even the guilt. You feel them jostling and bumping into you, trying to get you to look at them. You feel them in your cheekbones and jaw, around your eyes, your chest, your clenched hand. But you are ready. You can stand, and you can fight them fair.

 

What I wasn’t prepared for – and today, looking back, it might even be the dominant note to the day – was an odd kind of tenderness for the people around me in that place. I remembered a story about Neil Armstrong. Standing on the moon, he had looked up and seen the Earth out there in space. For the rest of his life, the feeling never left him. It was of being overwhelmed with love for this tiny thing he suddenly saw as alone, fragile, and infinitely precious.

 

And because I was unprepared, it threw me, in a way that grief could not.

 

I tried not to look that feeling in the eyes, even tried to invite the grief back for a quick go. But that second thing kept creeping over me, in quietly booming waves.

 

It was waiting for me at the cemetery, as handfuls of earth were thrown over Lena, and a bright hailstorm flashed and was gone; it clung to my elbow in the cramped suburban community centre where the wake was held; it slouched at the bar in the dark cocktail club in Soho where the party ended up.

 

I looked at my contemporaries properly for the first time – not the first time that day, but the first time ever. The young women and men – boys and girls, really – I had known at college were all 40 now. They had changed the world in small ways, become notable, achieved what they said they would, or they had not; they had filled out, thinned and thickened.

 

Many had plateaued in the careers they’d dreamed about back then; more had found those careers weren’t for them; others, late bloomers, were still officially biding their time. Some wore the marks of family life, some of fulfilment, some the pristine glow of loneliness. They had suffered disappointments, and sometimes suffered successes more. They had children, divorces, lives, and they looked… Well, they looked beautiful.

 

The saplings don’t see it themselves as the forest grows around them, its slow accretions of bark and scratches transforming them over slow decades. But I saw it now, those same years, scratches, accretions on all of us.

 

The crooked trees were as beautiful as the straight, and the broken as beautiful as the unbroken. The ones I had been close to, the ones I’d hardly known, all stood together. We were together on that tiny, far-away Earth, and one less. How small the differences seemed.

 

As afternoon stretched into evening, the day took on a quiet glow. It ended with the usual sense of drift, the gently mounting sense that there were things to be done elsewhere. Things to be done: for Lena; for her family; for Rich, her husband – and for ourselves, and our families, and for all those we loved but hadn’t spoken with or seen or held in too long.

 

I remember thinking: “Lena will be OK from here.”

 

As if we were dropping her off at home, somewhere safe.

 

I tried, days later, in the stumbling way people try to say the most important thing on their minds, to articulate a strange feeling that comes in small moments amid the dreadful empty powerlessness and loss: that I was happy for Lena. I meant, because she went without knowing. Because she made us all feel like this, and that doesn’t just happen on its own. Because she’s kind, and good, and gone, but not gone at all. Because she is loved.

 

But words got in the way, as ever. And people looked at me and smiled, and said, “But she’s dead.” And I think I laughed at my foolishness, and muttered something about being a klutz. Lena is dead. And I miss her.

 

I’m not surprised I couldn’t explain, not really. These things have a habit of staying where they form, and going with us on whichever bit of our own journey is most private. And if there’s still a little part of each of our love for Lena that remains with us alone and can’t be told, that’s OK too.

 

Still, I thought for a long time about trying again. But it’s something I can’t quite grasp myself. Faint stars always vanish when you try and look at them directly. So I thought perhaps writing it down would help. But even now, after 1,217 words, I’m not sure I’m any closer.

 

News: New book, ‘Parting Shots’ out June 2013

 

I can finally share some details on the next book. ‘Parting Shots’ is going to be the secret history of our times and society, as revealed through resignations.

 

And I’d like your recommendations! Mostly, we’re talking Rebekah Brookses and Thatcher cabinet ministers, but I’d love to quote some unknown examples, too – and spectacular/fun/vicious/poor/epic/drunk/great/unwise resignation letters or speeches. So if you’ve ever sent, received, said or heard any particularly good ones, would love to hear about it. I’ll credit you in the book, and pay in booze/Amazon vouchers for any I quote… I thank you!

 

Watch this space for an update in the next couple of weeks…

News: Catch Matt performing in the Literary Death Match at London’s Stoke Newington Literary Festival, June 2nd!

I’ll be facing off against some of Britain’s best writers and comedians in the 26th Literary Death Match at London’s hipsterest literary festival this June.

 

If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of sampling Outlaws Inc., or enjoyed it but suspect what it might be missing is a live, onstage setting in which its woefully under-prepared author reads bits of it out on stage for a panel of comedy judges, vying with four other authors for a place in the final of some tipsy, nerd-friendly version of a gladiatorial contest, then Stoke Newington Literary Festival on June 2nd 2012 is the place to be.

 

The 26th Literary Death Match sees me lining up against ace novelist Anna Raverat, top comedian Andy Zaltzman, and acclaimed author of 50 Ways To Find A Lover Lucy Ann Holmes. (My performance will be the only non-fiction reading on the bill, so not sure how that’ll go down.) The performances will be analysed, lampooned and otherwise picked apart for the entertainment of the baying mob, by a panel of all-star judges. After each pair of readings, in which authors face off, the judges  select their favorite to advance to the finals based on “literary merit, performance and intangibles” and give their own often hilarious commentary on each story.

 

Literary Death Match is everywhere at the moment. Billed as a “competitive, humour-centric reading series… part way between Def Poetry Jam and American Idol without the nastiness”, it brings together writers from different disciplines with comedians and critics, in a night of live literary performance.

 

Literary Death Matches are now a regular fixture from LA to Berlin. It sounds like a circus, admit the organizers, but “That’s half the point. Literary Death Match is passionate about inspecting new and innovative ways to present text off the page, and the most fascinating part is how seriously attentive the audience is during each reading.”

 

My performance/potential mistimed Pinot Grigio car crash begins at 8pm in the Library Gallery on Stoke Newington Church Street. Tickets are just a fiver each – you can book them from Ticketweb here – and you can bet there’ll be lots of booze and good vibes.

 

If you’re there, do come and say hello. I’ll be the chap who looks like a smaller, slightly drunker – perhaps older somehow – version of my avatar, and reading from a book with my name on it, but which I appear never to have seen before in my life.If you want to contact me, I’m on Twitter as @MattPotter (see what I did there), and you can email me at matt [at] mattpotterbooks [dot] com. I sign books for warm wine, and for crisps I’ll draw pictures too

 

You can follow Literary Death Match on Twitter at @LitDeathMatch, and Stoke Newington Literary Festival at @StokeyLitFest too. The full programme of Stoke Newington Literary Festival is here. And it’s a corker.

 

Video: “Cocaine coffee tables?!” CNN bosses, the craziest cop in Brazil, and me

 

It started perfectly innocently. I was out with a friend on Thursday, and the phone rang. I didn’t pick up – it was ten o’clock, and I’d worked my way through six large glasses of what I remember being an increasingly smooth Italian red, and a couple of bottles of Grolsch for good measure. I’m not a big drinker, and it’s not my usual style, but this guy was over from Sierra Leone, he’s an old friend, and, and… and it explains why I didn’t pick up.

It was a New York number.

The second time it rang, less than a minute later, I picked up. It was CNN. Could I make it to their London office? They had some story kick off with Brazilian smugglers in a plane, they’d been brought down by a cop using only his cujones and a Toyota corolla, and could I comment?

Not a chance. I’m a little tipsy. No way. Nope. Find someone else, someone who isn’t afraid, I mean really afraid, of making a lemon of himself on a prime-time network news show. I gave them my final ‘No’. Put the phone down. That was a close call.

 

 

Well, here’s the interview. I guess they got more than they bargained for, and the show’s bosses sent out a tweet within the hour hashtagged #justtobeclear, clarifying that they do not condone the use, possession, sale, purchase or production of “coffee tables made of cocaine”.

 

 

What can I say? They’re persuasive people.

 

News: Australia wakes up to Outlaws Inc after “sensational” ABC Breakfast show interview

This morning I was a guest on Australia’s no.1 breakfast show on ABC. During the link-up interview with host Mike Rowland (a still from the show, above), we talked about how the cut-throat economics of the global marketplace in everything from aid delivery to the food in our supermarkets feeds a shadow industry of mercenary pilots, smuggling narcotics, weapons and diamonds.

 

 

Viewer verdicts, via the channel, to Mike direct and over social networks, ranged from acclaim (“Sensational interview!”) to outrage (“… can’t believe our Western governments don’t care!”) and requests for more info. By lunchtime, the channel had released a clip in response to calls to share it. Mike Rowland himself finished the show’s slot with the words, “Well, all I can say is: we await the inevitable Hollywood movie of this one.” You can view the interview here: Matt Potter on ABC Breakfast show, 2nd August 2011

 

Meanwhile, the media schedule in Australia is manic, with the newly launched Maxim Australia running a four-page feature on Matt’s adventures with what they call “Air Don’t-Give-A-Fuck”, great banter with John Safran and Father Bob Maguire on ABC TripleJ’s legendary Sunday Night Safran cultural chat show, trading repartee on Evenings With Robbie Buck and co, and more radio and print stuff.

 

Meanwhile, Melbourne & Victoria daily the Herald Sun has announced it will be serialising Outlaws Inc in August, with extracts also pushed to subscribers to its iPad app, and content available online.