How to make your life into a best-selling autobiography

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The Independent Online
SOONER or later we all wonder if it is time to write our autobiography and, if so, whether to mention our short-lived fling with the Prince of Wales or Baroness Thatcher or Lord Archer or, if we never had such a fling, to suggest strongly that we did. Then we say: No, it's ridiculous to write our life story just yet. Then Sir David Frost writes his and we say: Blimey, if he's done his . . .

Relax. Now you can find out if it really is time to get down to your life saga. How? By answering the following questionnaire. If you can answer Yes to more than 75 per cent of the questions, it is time to flog your story to a publisher.

1. Do you have an earliest memory of either the birth of the Second World War or the outbreak of TW3?

2. Can you remember clearly when you (a) started using drugs (b) stopped using drugs?

3. Were your parents good friends of any one of the following: (a) Muggeridge, the Webbs, Laski and Orwell (b) the Royal Family (c) a man with an odd-sounding title who turned out to own lots of newspapers (d) Hitler.

4. Did you go to the same school as any of the following: (a) the Richard Ingrams Private Eye gang (b) the Kray gang (c) Lady Diana Spencer (d) a taxi driver owed thousands of pounds by the Marquess of Blandford (e) the Marquess of Blandford.

5. Did you grow up in (a) Penarth (b) penury?

6. Have you ever been talent-spotted by one of the following: (a) Ned Sherrin.

7. Was your household, when you were young, perpetually visited by one of the following: (a) creditors (b) a future Beatle (c) tuberculosis and frequent death (d) varied members of the Huxley family.

8. Have you ever met Sir David Frost and are unable to remember anything at all about the encounter?

9. Would this prevent you from describing the encounter in detail?

10. Have you got a title?

11. Was this in return for (a) having a father who had the same title (b) backing Margaret Thatcher at the time of her fall (c) being an ambassador or something?

12. Did you ill-advisedly accept a title in a job lot from Harold Wilson?

13. Did you know any of the following before they changed their name? (a) Elton John (b) the Joan Collins Fan Club (c) John Major (d) Screaming Lord Sutch (e) Leningrad (f) Tony Benn.

14. Do you have a childhood memory of (a) being kissed by Churchill (b) dancing with Harold Macmillan (c) having a date with Julie Burchill (d) winning a talest contest doing a Cliff Richard imitation?

15. Do you have a sufficient stock of photographs showing you (a) with Mick Jagger (b) being interviewed by John Freeman (c) in the crowd at Lord's or White Hart Lane (d) being presented to Princess Margaret at a command performance and looking as if you're bending over because she is so small and not because you are bowing obsequiously (e) comimg out of court after a triumphant acquittal . . .

16. If your memoirs were serialised in the Sunday Times, which headline would most probably be used? (a) 'How Thatcher Really Fell' (b) 'Why I Turned Down the Part of James Bond' (c) 'Me, Oliver Reed and the Queen Mother' (d) 'Lloyd Webber: The Missing Years' (e) 'A Night on the Tiles with Ian Botham' (f) 'How I Helped Rethink Tory Party Transport Policy During the Years of Opposition'.

17. Do you have a sufficient stock of anecdotes showing up the late Laurence Olivier in a bad light?

18. Have you ever (a) been beaten up by Dudley Moore (b) out-argued Jonathan Miller (c) reduced Clive Anderson to silence (d) completed a novel by Roy Hattersley?

19. Can you remember where you were when (a) Kennedy was shot (b) the Pope was shot (c) Ronald Reagan was shot (d) Laura was shot (e) Jaws was shot (f) the opening shot in the Falklands war was shot?

20. Are there certain aspects of the real you which (a) the general public is longing to hear about (b) you would be mad to tell anyone (c) you would rather save up to tell Dr Anthony Clare in the privacy of Radio 4 (d) you are happy to invent if it will help to sell the book (e) only your previous spouse knows about, and no one would believe them?

21. Will the major omission from your autobiography be (a) your drinking (b) your frequent appearance, under a pseudonym, in Alan Clark's diaries (c) your first marriage (d) your complete inability to remember anything really interesting that you've done?