What have we here? An unmissable opportunity to join the Millennium Hall of Infamy

Related Topics
As far as fame goes, I am happy to have remained in the shallow end of public recognition, down among the paddlers and the non-swimmers, where the worst that can happen to you is to get occasional letters from charities who are putting fund-raising books together ("We would be tremendously grateful if you could let us know your favourite recipe/ dream/travel story/childhood memory. We have already had contributions from Jeffrey Archer/Edwina Currie/Gyles Brandreth ..." )

Which is why I was slightly startled to receive a letter this week which began thus:

"Dear Mr Kington, It is indeed a great pleasure to enclose your invitation to be a distinguished biographee of the MILLENNIUM HALL OF FAME which will showcase the lives of men and women who have made this century great. The volume will be published in mid-1998. The Governing Board of Editors has nominated several hundred individuals from its vast international Who's Who archives to be featured in this history-making event. Congratulations on your nomination."

As you can imagine, my cheeks went a gentle hunting pink and my eyes stole shyly to the top of the letter to see who could possibly be such a misjudge of character. It was the dear old American Biographical Institute.

No, I don't know, either. But apparently they have been publishing biographical reference works since 1967, and they live in Raleigh, North Carolina, and they think so highly of their forthcoming book (THE MILLENNIUM HALL OF FAME) that they would like me to have a copy.

Well, to buy a copy.

"As a nominee for the MILLENNIUM HALL OF FAME you have the option of reserving a copy of the volume for your own personal library. Your biography will be compiled by our Senior Editor who will mail you a proof of your life's story prior to the publication's release ... It is certain to be one of the most sought-after reference works of the past one hundred years."

And that is not all.

"Biographees are also eligible for the MILLENNIUM Statue appropriately honoring those invited to be a part of posterity. A beautiful HALL OF FAME TESTIMONIAL PLAQUE is available as well. I have put together a special package option of all three items at a reduced cost than when ordered separately."

Gliding swiftly over the doubtful grammar of that last sentence, I turn to the special package option, a green leaflet illustrating the Hall of Fame Statue - which looks exactly like a gravestone with one's name on - and giving me more details of the book, or rather of "... this everlasting, interesting and motivating volume on global bookshelves ... in which you can document the legacy of your accomplishments - at least one page, if not more, will be dedicated to you and your portrait as well as your philosophies."

The letter ends, before giving details of payment, "I would like to thank you, on behalf of the Institute, for your many contributions to humankind," which convinces me, if I didn't know it before, that they have got the wrong man. But I can also feel a thank you letter forming in my mind. It goes something like this.

"Dear ABI, Tempted though I am to order your Statue at only US$375, or indeed the Hall of Fame volume itself, which I note is also US$375, I feel you should know that the philosophies which I have evolved during this great century would not make me feel worthy of inclusion in the MILLENNIUM HALL OF FAME.

"First, I note that you intend to include only living people, and thus to exclude such great figures as Einstein, Lenin and Stephane Grappelli. Why invite me, and not them? Could it be that I am alive, and thus able to send you money, while more famous people, no matter how revered their achievements, are dead and thus unable to make you richer?

"Secondly, I feel it is unwise for me to put money in the hands of people who habitually use the words `biographee', `inductee' and `honoree'.

"Thirdly, I do not wish to join posterity until I am dead.

"Fourthly, I do not wish my biography to be written by your Senior Editor. I want it to be written either by Michael Holroyd or, failing that, by The Independent's Obituary Department.

"Fifthly,the only decent portrait I have of myself, I sent about two years ago to a glossy magazine which wanted a black and white mugshot to go with an article, and they haven't sent it back yet.

"If this response disappoints you, may I suggest that you get in touch instead with Jeffrey Archer, Edwina Currie and Gyles Brandreth? I enclose their addresses.

Yours sincerely ..."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Pricing Analyst - 6 months / 1 year analytical experience

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Maths Teachers needed for roles across Berkshire

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ar...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

IT Specialist for a one month cover role

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IC...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits