28 September 2006

We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful

Do we? When I was a more devout Morrissey-listener, I tended to take on faith whatever the man said, and since being envious of our friends' success and morose about our own lack thereof seemed intrinsic to the Mozzer's miserabilist and misanthropic world view, I assumed that was the natural state of affairs.

But now that I've had a few friends become successful, some very successful indeed, I've found it's a bit more complex than that. I think it would be a denial of human nature- well, my nature, anyway - to claim that thoughts like, "If only it could have been me," never crossed my mind. And there's another aspect, too: once friends become famous, it's almost as though they've acquired thousands - or millions - of new friends with whom you have to compete for attention. Someone who once had endless amounts of time to lounge about the café or the bar having free-ranging discussions about the nature of everything suddenly has a personal assistant shepherding him or her through a demanding and never-ending series of appointments with, if you're lucky, "friend time" pencilled in from 3:45 to 4:15 two Saturdays from now.

Of course a miniature version of this takes place even if your friends are neither rich nor famous, if they've done nothing more "successful" than grow up, get jobs and maybe serious relationships or marriages. But it's multiplied many times over when the kind of work they do makes them more or less public property. I've often said how it felt the last time Green Day played at Gilman before setting off on their first major label tour, the one that would launch Dookie: that the once "little" band that had been at the heart of our happy scene was ours no more, that now they belonged to the world.

What brought this on, by the way? Why, simply the news that Dr Frank's (aka Frank Portman) brilliant and best-selling novel King Dork may be about to become a major motion picture. Well, the rights have been purchased, anyway. It's no guarantee that the film will actually be made, as the scriptwriter in the family constantly reminds me; e's been making a very good living since 1995 writing and rewriting film scripts, exactly none of which have ended up being made. Well, one was, but only for television, which apparently doesn't count.

But there seems to be a shining star above, guiding and illuminating the progress of King Dork, so my bet is that not only will the film be made, but that it will be hugely successful. Epoch-making, even. But the funny thing is, I wasn't nearly so envious of Frank's upcoming foray into Tinseltown (my own very limited experiences in Hollywood have led me to believe it might not be exactly my ideal milieu) so much as I was of this account of his rather triumphant appearance at a high school near where he grew up. Maybe it's just me, but I suspect anyone who was more or less a geek or loser in high school days harbours fantasies of coming back as a conquering hero. Not to imply that Frank was a geek or loser in high school - though perusing the pages of King Dork would indicate he certainly knows the territory - but I sure was.

Anyway, congratulations to Frank, who's now hard at work on his second novel, Andromeda Klein, and if you want to join in the Pop Punk Bored discussion of who should star in King Dork: The Movie, go here. I'm sure Hollywood's movers and shakers will be watching with bated breath.Link


Jim Testa said...

where have I heard this before? oh wait, I know...

my friends are getting famous
they're all on mtv
interviews in rolling stone
and I'm in Jersey Beat

lefty said...

i've been waiting for frank to figure out where his obvious love for teenagers and teenage dorks (because really, the secret is that all teens are dorks, whether they know it at the time or realize it years later) since i interviewed him ten years ago. good on him!

lefty said...

uh, that would be, "where his obvious love for teenagers was going to take him..."