Episode 188 – Hayley Campbell

Virtual Memories Show #188: Hayley Campbell

“I love finding people who are obsessed with things. People who devote their lives to things are my obsession.”

Writer and Twitter provocateur Hayley Campbell joins the show for a conversation about her inability to describe her job (don’t call her a “content provider”). We talk about growing up in comics royalty (her dad is the great cartoonist Eddie Campbell), Alan Moore’s magic tricks, nearly losing a comic-shop job because of her lack of a college degree, the celebrity retweet she’s proudest of, and having an accidental career path, no fixed home, and a traumatic brain injury that gooses with her memory (and whether those three things are somehow connected). Also, we get into how she recently embarrassed Jonathan Safran Foer, and more! Give it a listen! And go buy her first book, The Art of Neil Gaiman (Ilex/Harper). And for God’s sake, go follow her on Twitter!

“I think I’m more of a loser in real life than I am on the internet.”


We also get into her obsession with obsessives, becoming the oldest person at her BuzzFeed office in her early 30s, the insanely creepy Moebius comic she read as a kid, the glories of Australian dentistry, digging through old girlie magazines to research her book on Neil Gaiman, and why she loves writing about boxing. We also compare notes on doing interviews with people whose work you love. Now go listen to the show!

“Dad won’t join Twitter because he’s afraid I’ll have more followers than him, and he’ll be ‘Hayley Campbell’s dad.'”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

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About our Guest

Hayley Campbell writes for a bunch of places but then who doesn’t. She’s written a book about Neil Gaiman (The Art of Neil Gaiman, Ilex/HarperCollins) and if her face looks familiar it’s probably because she sold you comics once. Find her stuff on BuzzFeed, New Statesman, VICE, McSweeney’s, the Guardian, The Debrief, The Comics Journal, The Rumpus, Channel 4 News, Front, Planet Notion and Boing Boing.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission of the artist. The conversation was recorded at a pal’s apartment in NYC on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. Photos of Ms. Campbell by me.

What It Is: 6/14/10

What I’m reading: Less Than Zero. I never read it before, but there was a neat interview with Bret Easton Ellis in Fantastic Man a year or two ago, and I thought it’d be interesting to read this one and then the 25-years-later sequel that’s coming out next week, Imperial Bedrooms.

What I’m listening to: The Singular Adventures of the Style Council, The Things We Do, Green, and Meet Danny Wilson

What I’m watching: I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale. Because when you only made 5 movies before your death, and the weakest one was The Conversation, you deserve a documentary. The other four? Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter, and the first two Godfather movies. Wonderful documentary, albeit too brief at 40 minutes. Bizarrely, Israel Horowitz looked younger than just about every other interview subject, esp. Al Pacino, who seems to be heading toward the Phil Spector level of odd looks. Also, we watched the deleted scenes from In The Loop, after I stumbled across this totally NSFW montage of great Malcolm Tucker moments from the movie:

Most of the deleted scenes warranted cutting, but there are one or two that would’ve made the movie even more awesome. I admit that Jamie “The Crossest Man In Scotland” McDonald’s great monologue about There Will Be Blood is tremendous, but it would’ve just eaten up too much screentime.

What I’m drinking: North Shore #6 & Q-Tonic

What Rufus & Otis are up to: Handling a couple of days without their dad while I was at a press event in Chicago (and Madison, with a stop in Milwaukee on the way home). Also, Otis demonstrated his complete disregard for my authority when I took him to a kiddie-park and threw a squeaky tennis-ball about 50 feet away. He chased it down, caught it on a bounce, and proceeded to run all over the park, squeaking and leaping. Not once did he listen to me when I called his name. Eventually, he settled down and chomped on the ball while Rufus & I watched. A day later, he and Rufus did a bang-up job as ambassadogs at our local farmers’ market.

Where I’m going: Nowhere! I mean it!

What I’m happy about: That I stayed in the same hotel in Chicago as Common and Kanye West last week. Also, that my room had a Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin stereo. The sound quality was awfully good, so I plugged in my iPod and listened to some good music while I was working/showering/ironing/otherwise-ing. Here are a couple of pix from the trip (non-hip-hop).

What I’m sad about: That Zeppelin speaker is $600.

What I’m worried about: As ever, getting the Top Companies issue done in time.

What I’m pondering: Why Less Than Zero was a success. I’m about halfway through, and it’s a remarkably flat piece of writing. I mean, I get that that’s the point, that 18-year-old rich kids in L.A. led flat lives in the 1980s, and I enjoy some of the time-capsule aspects of it, but it’s simply not a very interesting narrative and the prose itself is artless. Maybe it gets better in the second half. Or maybe our literary standards were just as shitty 25 years ago as they are now. Maybe I’ll find out when I read that sequel.