Last night’s #SJsTwitterBookClub featured author, journalist and all round lovely person, Matt Cain (@MattCainWriter), who joined us to talk about his brilliant novel, The Madonna of Bolton. Matt gave us a (spoiler-free) introduction to the book. ‘It's about a boy growing up in 1980s Bolton who has a hard time because he's gay and takes refuge in Madonna and her work, using her as an emotional crutch and spirit guide to get him through. But then he has to learn to let go to be true to himself...’
From there we chatted about how autobiographical the story is, and why Madonna is such a huge inspiration to so many, particularly those in the LGBT+ community. ‘A lot of the details of Charlie's life are from mine,’ said Matt, ‘but I did change lots too. I'd say the skeleton of the story is autobiographical and the emotional journey is very much so...’ On Madonna herself, he went on to say, ‘…it was her message of having been hurt but strapping on costumes like armour to power through it. She was all about strength and self-determination. As a sex positive woman, she was a fellow sexual outsider and stood up for gay people when very few did.’
We talked a little about meeting idols (Matt said he’d never met Madonna, despite having had the opportunity to via his work as a journalist) and how some of them can be massively disappointing. (Except for authors who, we decided are ALL LOVELY). Matt told us that Liz Hurley ‘was very nice but stank of fags1’ and I revealed that Nicole Kidman ‘…did smell sublime. I asked her what she was wearing, fragrance-wise, and instantly forgot her answer.’ No other celebrity smells were discussed, but if you have any olfactory anecdotes, then why not share them here?
It was great fun, and Matt even wore his special T-shirt for the event!
‘Fags’ are cigarettes, for any US readers!