Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I was rappin’ in my club the other night,
When nothing I said was coming out right,
The crowd got angry,
And this one man,
He was gonna throw a bottle,
He was gonna chuck a can…
…chuck a can…
…chuck a…
…chuck a…

- Stutter Rap
- by Morris Minor And The Majors (1987)

Tony Hawks is fast becoming my second favourite author, after Douglas Adams. I know not whether he actually wrote the above lyrics, but he was one of the song’s three performers, and therefore a bit saddened when his first hit record, in 1987, also turned out to be his last.

Fifteen years later he climbed out of his musical box and read the label on the outside – far from being a well-remembered pop legend, Tony was in fact just another forgotten one hit wonder.

But Tony Hawks is a man who believes in the impossible.

In recent years he has optimistically taken on bets to beat the whole Moldovan football team at tennis, and to hitchhike around the entire Irish coastline with a fridge.

So could he, 15 years after the first one, become a TWO hit wonder?

In his latest book One Hit Wonderland, Tony accepts the challenge to have a second top 20 hit anywhere in the world… but within a 2 year time-limit.

To a certain extent, this time-frame is the book’s downfall. We all know that if he does succeed, it’s not going to happen until the end of the book. But Tony knows from his previous books that the joy of his ambition lies in the journey.

And this time ‘journey’ is definitely the correct word.

Nashville, Amsterdam, Sudan, Romania and Albania all play host to his relentless optimism that, in an industry of fierce competition and disappointment, he can still somehow make it all come together in the end.

The book’s slowest section is in Sudan, mainly because, while fascinating, the bet is just not the reason for his presence there. However, by the time Tony reaches Albania, the clock is ticking faster, and it’s become an all-or-nothing scenario.

For me, Tony Hawks’ books hit the mark for 2 reasons:

First, his honed understanding of comedy is an absolute breath of fresh air.

Second, he’s always far away from home attempting the impossible.

To that end I find his books highly encouraging.

But the final reason why I enjoyed One Hit Wonderland so much, is because at one stage he actually gets together to record a song with Norman Wisdom.

I mean - Norman. Wisdom.

He may be older these days, tireder, and less exact with his delivery, but he’s still producing new material, and I wish that more people would recognise the value in that.

Think of a sprightly old person that you know. They’re great, aren’t they? So why does everyone say that Harrison Ford, The Rolling Stones, and the original cast of Star Trek are now “too old” to appeal?

Available here.

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