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  • Writer's pictureKate Clarke

The Wicked Witch of the West

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

The vast sea of ex-journalists who are trying to scratch a living out here, put their cuttings and old interviews on their blogs, don't they? I know I should do this myself.

But the idea of it makes me shrink like the Wicked Witch of the West when she gets a drenching in the Wizard of Oz. The narcissism of self-promotion.

The neediness of it all. The sense that somebody else's story is important because they told it to you at some point, or that you are worth something extra because you have spoken to some famous people.

They have to talk to you. It's part of their job. Don't trip over your fandom and you should be okay. We might pretend to keep our cuttings because they help us to get work, but most hacks do it for the validation. Similarly, when one of the greats dies, a hundred old journos trip over themselves on social media to say: "I spoke to her once, she told me...."

I have done that, too.

I check myself before I do it because, really, who cares? I'm not important because I have spoken to 'important' people. Nobody is important and we are all important.

I might post an anecdote to Twitter if I think it will underscore someone's admiration for the deceased. So, mostly I'm confirming what you already suspected or wanted to believe - talk about being an original thinker. Mostly, when one of the greats passes I just hope hard that they were loved enough and that they knew it. And that they made enough cash to buy that Gretsch white falcon, or whatever twangy bauble they coveted. And you know that sentiment goes double for Billy Joe Shaver.

Terry was the same, of course, when it came to marketing his work and himself. He was happy to spend all day and night playing with words he loved, like a kid in a sandpit, and finding new ways to make them sparkle. He was in his element in the studio, recording with producers he loved and respected, and he was beautiful when he was enjoying a gig. But marketing and selling his work? He didn't have the ego or the artifice for it. How many times did well-meaning, or not so well-meaning music business people tell him: "When you do this interview, make sure you talk about the fact that so-and-so was a big fan of yours."

He usually didn't. But he always gave the most interesting, conversational, illuminating interview, nonetheless.

Now I have this new album of Terry's to promote. I thought I might be ok at it since I'm dealing with his work and not mine. Heaven knows I'm the biggest Terry Clarke fan.

Perhaps I should do one of those unboxing things that pouty girls do over on Instagram? I don't really have the tits for it.

Anyway, I have this album to promote. It's very good. It has many of those Terry Clarke hallmarks. Have I mentioned that I work in PR these days?

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