The Rule of Jefferson Hack

KIRSTY ALLISON*:  What should I do?

JEFFERSON HACK:  Fill this book …(Jefferson presents a snow-white, well-bound blank notebook with high quality paper, he makes an artistic scrawl on the hard cover: “THE HOUSE STYLE* RULES”)

How long does it take to write a book?

This was in around 1994/1995 in the Dazed & Confused offices in Old Street.  They’re celebrating their 20th anniversary, which prompted me to dig out this book from a boxful of notebooks stashed amongst my past.

The first pages are scribblings and relatively organised details for PRs representing bands I liked, the next entry is a note from a man called Al, whom I met under a tree in Portobello Road.  I fell in lust.  Hitchhiked to Glastonbury with him, so fast did we run away, we took no sleeping bags, no tent, just a sheet he’d bought back from India.  I went over the fence rather than collect my press passes, and disappeared into the horizon, down to Penzance for a month.  The book went with me, when I returned to write for Sky magazine, who paid better than Dazed could then afford, and Muzik, and Blah, and Mixmag, and The Face, and Scene, and NME, I soared as a young taste-dictator, soon presenting on late-night television.  The book stayed around.  I continued to contribute to Dazed and soaked up the world as I began to DJ.  When I started writing Medicine, and there is definitely a search for a book within the pages of this notebook, the ramblings became a springboard for the protagonist.  It’s bonkers to look at how far the novel’s come, the characters now dancing across the pages as individuals rather than portraits of different sides of my confused and dazed young-self.  Or, more honestly, is it impossible to write beyond the limits of our souls?

I love iPads, phones, laptops, apps but I love notebooks -oh, so much more.

This sells at around a pound a year…


*Kirsty Allison had recently left art school after an exhibition on Portobello Road, and was just starting out, working on X magazine and as the only female journalism trainee on Loaded.

*House Style – the words, language, sentence structure, tone and topics of a publication.

Over the years, my personal house style was truly basterdized, having whored my skills across so many pages, I forgot who I was.   Re-writing a book over a thousand times has helped remind me who I am again, as does going on the road.

Photo of book: Alexander Snelling

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