One on One

By Craig Brown

101 chance meetings, juxtaposing the famous and the infamous, the artistic and the philistine, the pompous and the comical, the snobbish and the vulgar, each 1,001 words long, and with a time span stretching from the 19th century to the 21st.

Life is made up of individuals meeting one another. They speak, or don’t speak. They get on, or don’t get on. They make agreements, which they either hold to or ignore. They laugh, they cry, they are excited, they are indifferent, they share secrets, they say, “How do you do?” Often it is the most fleeting of meetings that, in the fullness of time, turn out to be the most noteworthy.

‘One on One’ examines the curious nature of different types of meeting, from the oddity of encounters with the Royal Family (who start giggling during a recital by TS Eliot) to those often perilous meetings between old and young (Mark Twain terrifying Rudyard Kipling) and between young and old (the 23-year-old Sarah Miles having her leg squeezed by the nonagenarian Bertrand Russell), to contemporary random encounters (George Galloway meeting Michael Barrymore on Celebrity Big Brother).

Ingenious in its construction, witty in its narration, panoramic in its breadth, ‘One on One’ is a wholly original book.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 22 Sep 2011
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0-00-736062-8
Craig Brown has been writing the Private Eye celebrity diary since 1989. He has also written parodies for many other publications, including The Daily Telegraph, Vanity Fair, The Times and The Guardian. He is the author of several books, most recently ‘The Lost Diaries’ and ‘One on One’.

”'The book describes real encounters. Truth being stranger than fiction, many of them are every bit as bazaar as Brown could have invented, and some are as funny… This is much more than a comedy book” - Beavis Hillier, Spectator

”Marvellously inventive and witty book … it’s hard to imagine anyone could do it better. He has an acutely attuned comic ear, an unmatched eye for spotting the absurdities of human behaviour and a bloodhound-grade nose for sniffing out phoniness and pretension. You couldn’t wish for a finer exponent of this literary parlour game” - FIVE STARS Mail on Sunday

”'For those who know Brown as a parodist, this book will come as a surprise. Though often very funny, it’s a work of straight non-fiction whose great virtue is not excess but restraint… A hugely enjoyable book that looks with affection and melancholy on the whirring roundabouts of history and celebrity, and reminds us that the paths to glory lead, handshake by handshake, pratfall by pratfall, to the grave” - Sam Leith, Guardian

”'It is partly a huge karmic parlour game, partly a dance to the music of chaos - and only the genius of Craig Brown could have produced it” - Evening Standard

”'One on One is entirely a work of non-fiction, and very thoroughly researched one, too, while still as funny and perspective as anything else Brown has given us…Those who find gossip not only highly entertaining but also highly revealing about the most complex things we know of in nature will relish One On One from first chapter to 101st.” - Sunday Times

'wistful and moving, as well as howlingly funny'. AN Wilson Books of the Year -

Philip Hensher, Books of the Year, Spectator:'a beautifully original and gripping approach to biography.' -

”'The reader is made to feel like the most priviledged fly on the wall, not wanting to miss a word” - David Robson, Sunday Telegraph