Blur bassist and celebrity cheese maker Alex James is the first of 52 celebrities to contribute to a children’s story book set to be auctioned to raise funds for British charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
The project has been launched to coincide with a new directories telephone number, 118 520, which will support the NSPCC, with nine pence from every call going to the charity.
If every one of the 378 million calls made to directory enquiry services in the UK every year was made to 118 520 instead of other 118 numbers or free directory enquiry services, the public could help raise more than £34 million pounds for the NSPCC.
To help promote the new 118 520 number and raise as much money for the charity as possible, each celebrity will be tasked with writing 10 lines of the ‘Once Upon A Time’ enchanted tale before passing it on to the next celebrity in line.
The priceless 118 520 tale is expected to be completed by October and will be unveiled at an exclusive story-telling event where it will be auctioned to raise funds for the NSPCC after its first ever public reading.
Other celebrities who have so far signed up to contribute to the book include Radio One DJ Sara Cox, Scottish songstress KT Tunstall and champion sprinter Linford Christie.
Of course, this isn’t the first occasion that musicians have flexed their literary muscles. Leonard Cohen was actually a published poet some years before his musical career blossomed, while Bob Dylan’s 1966 work Tarantula – eventually published in 1971 – isn’t exactly light reading.
Witness the opening sentence of Tarantula for a masterclass in engaging the reader: “aretha/ crystal jukebox queen of hymn & him diffused in drunk transfusion wound would heed sweet soundwave crippled & cry salute to oh great particular el dorado reel & ye battered personal god but she cannot she the leader of whom when ye follow, she cannot she has no back she cannot . . .”
Other musicians who have made the transition from songwriter to typewriter with varying degrees of credibility and success include Iron Maiden’s commercial pilot and swordsman extraordinaire Bruce Dickinson, former Sleeper frontwoman Louise Wener, and Madonna.
For more information on the NSPCC, visit the official NSPCC website.