Annale anglais : texte de bill bryson

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« Ten years ago this month I got a phone call from an American publisher telling me that they had just bought one of my books and were going to send me on a three-week, sixteen-city publicity tour. "We're going to make you a media star," he said brightly. "But I've never been on TV," I protested in mild panic. "Oh. it's easy. You'll love it," he said with the blithe assurance of someonewho doesn't have to do it himself. "No, I'll be terrible," I insisted. "I have no personality." "Don't worry, we'll give you a personality. We're going to fly you to New York for a course of media training." My heart sank. All this had a bad feeling about it. For the first time since I accidentally set fire to a neighbour's garage in 1961,I began to think seriously about the possibility of plasticsurgery and a new life in Central America. So I flew to New York and, as it turned out, the media training was less of an ordeal than I had feared. I was put in the hands of a kindly, patient man named Bill Parkhurst, who sat with me for two days in a windowless studio somewhere in Manhattan and put me through an endless series of mock interviews. He would say things like: "OK, now we're going todo a three-minute interview with a guy who hasn't looked at your book until 10 seconds ago and doesn't know whether it's a cookery book or a book on prison reform. Also, this guy is a tad stupid and will interrupt you frequently. OK, let's go." He would click his stopwatch and we would do a three-minute interview. Then we would do it again. And again. And so it went for two days. By the afternoonof the second day I was having to push my tongue back in my mouth with my fingers. "Now you know what you'll feel like by the second day of your tour," Parkhurst observed cheerfully. "What's it like after twenty-one days?" I asked. Parkhurst smiled. "You'll love it." Amazingly he was nearly right. Book tours are actually kind of fun. You get to stay in nice hotels, you are driven everywhere in bigsilver cars, you are treated as if you are much more important than you are, you can eat steak three times a day at someone else's expense, and you get to talk endlessly about yourself for weeks at a stretch. Is this a dream come true or what? It was an entirely new world for me. As you will recall if you have been committing these columns to memory, when I was growing up my father always took usto the cheapest motels imaginable – the sort of places that made the Bates Motel in Psycho look sophisticated and well-appointed – so this was a gratifyingly novel experience. I had never before stayed in a really fancy hotel, never ordered from room service, never called on the services of a concierge or valet, never tipped a doorman. (Still haven't, come to that!) […] In one five-day period, Iflew from San Francisco to Atlanta to Chicago to Boston and back to San Francisco. I once flew from Denver to Colorado Springs in order to do a 30-second interview which – I swear – went like this: Interviewer: "Our guest today is Bill Bryson. So you've got a new book out, have you, Bill?" Me: "That's right." Interviewer: "Well, that's wonderful. Thanks so much for coming." […] In three weeks Igave over 250 interviews of one type or another and never once met anyone who had read my book or had the faintest idea who I was. At one radio station the interviewer covered the microphone with his hand just before we went on and said: "Now tell me, are you the guy who was abducted by aliens or are you the travel writer?" The whole point, as Bill Parkhurst taught me, is to sell yourselfshamelessly and believe me, you soon learn to do it. I suppose all this is on my mind because by the time you read this I will be in the middle of a three-week promotional tour in Britain. Now I don't want you to think I am sucking up, but touring in Britain is a dream compared with America. Distances are shorter, which helps a lot, and you find on the whole that the interviewers have read the book, or at...