Sunday, 15 July 2007

Harry Potter

Hi. It's Justin. I’’ve got a bit of a hangover... Bit?... Actually, it feels like Armageddon’s just started between my ears!

Anyway, I heard about this bloody silly competition in one of the national newspapers, to write the ending to the new Harry Potter novel, when I was down at Annabel’s early this morning (I think it was about 3am; but I’d downed a couple of bottles of vintage Krug and a few armagnacs by that time, so it’s all a bit hazy).

My lawyer had a bet with me (double or nothing his last bill) that I couldn’t write an ending to this Potter nonsense and win the competition. I needed a financial incentive 'cause the newspaper’s too tight to stump up for a prize.

So, here goes.

While this spotty, four-eyed, little swat, Potter, was flying round on his broomstick, massacring his school friends, and posing for the media, a meeting of the gods of Bloomsbury was taking place in a secret location.

Pause there. Why didn’t this Rowling woman, the one who wrote this load of old tosh, send him to a decent school? I looked up Hogwarts in the ISIS list, and nothing. So it must be a state school. Pretty poor role model if you ask me. At least Eton would have taught him to speak properly. Mind you, if old Cameron’s “man of the people” accent starts to catch on, all that will go down the pan too.

Where was I? (God, I need a strong coffee and a couple of aspirins!) Oh yes! Gods of Bloomsbury. “So,” the head god says, “what are we going to do about this Potter nonsense? We managed to get the oiks to start buying books for their ‘kids’, as they call them, for a while. And some of them may even have read a chapter or two before their attention wandered back to vandalism. But now they’re listening to brain-dead pop music on their I-Pods again, and staring into space with their mouths open.”

“Well,” said the beautiful, blonde goddess Row Ling, “we can’t keep churning out the same boring old stuff. Potter will have to leave school soon. What are we going to do then? Send him to a red brick university? Make him a Lloyd’s underwriter, or a City broker?. If you think I’m going to write ‘Potter Takes a Gap Year’, you can think again.”

“That’s a problem, chaps” said the head god. “No Potter, no money!” All the gods leaned forward to listen to what the head god had to say next.

“Suppose we start to kill off a few of the more boring characters? You know, nothing permanent or disfiguring, in case the oiks start whinging. Just disappearing in puffs of smoke. If you can magic them away, you can always magic them back in one piece when you need them.” All the gods were nodding with approval at that point.

“And we can announce that the latest volume is the last book,” sharp intakes of breath and horror-struck faces all round.

“That will attract a shed load of publicity. Then, when we release the next instalment ('Potter Gets an ASBO'?) our change of heart will be another headline story,” sighs of relief all round.

“That way, we can keep churning out the same old stuff for another few years, and I can buy a new Lamborghini.” Which is how it came about that the first of a series of "last volumes" was published, in which a couple of Potter’s class mates were zapped by reversible magic spells. You know, the sort that don’t leave a scar.

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