60 Seconds with Nick Hornby

Got a minute? Nick Hornby, the voice of sensitive males and author of a new novel, Juliet, Naked, explains why he no longer writes about sports and how he was artistically inspired by Levi Johnston.

Nick Hornby.jpg

Photograph by Sigrid Estrada

Q: I thought High Fidelity was the final word on maladjusted music obsessives. Why are you revisiting them in Juliet, Naked?

A: For me, most of the book is about the relationship between an artist and this woman, Annie. The music obsessives are a smaller part of it. But the world has completely changed since the last time I wrote about music, in '95. That was pre-Internet. The Internet affected music more than anything else.

Q: Is there anyone you would go on music chat boards for?

A: No. I mean, I've looked at fan sites a lot—partly for the book and partly because I was just curious. But, no, I love music but don't have any big obsession with any particular artist.

Q: What do your own fans always think about you that isn't true?

A: People think I have a million vinyl albums, but I don't have any anymore.

Q: I've heard you don't write about sports anymore either.

A: Yeah, pretty much. I haven't written about it a lot since Fever Pitch. For a long time, I was frightened about being stuck. It wasn't what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and the initial offers that were made when Fever Pitch came out were all football-based. A kind of siren went off in my mind, thinking, "If I start picking these up, that's it." No one⿿s going to let me write a novel or movies about young women in 1962. Also, English soccer is so grotesquely commercial now in a way that it wasn't when I wrote the book. But I still don't miss a game.

Q: I listened to the song you wrote with Ben Folds about Levi Johnston. What inspired you about him?

A: I wrote it at the time the pregnancy was announced pretty much. It just seems to be an amazing story of your life no longer being within your own control. I was watching that chap walking around with the family and feeling sorry for him. The chorus was pretty much taken from his Facebook page. The kind of bravado of that set against the actual situation that he was finding himself in seemed like quite fertile territory.

Q: Is it true you and Ben are recording an album in three days?

A: No, that didn't happen. It's more like we're recording an album in 300 days.

Kayleen Schaefer

Ben Folds sings "Levi Johnston's Blues"


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