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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Wed 17
Nov
2010

Famous Friend

Writing Some people think it must be cool to have a famous friend. You’re imagining hanging with someone like, say, Keanu, and Keanu telling you things he doesn’t tell anyone else, and you ragging on him for sucking at PlayStation. That would be cool. But what it’s actually like is one of your friends—your real friends, say your best friend—and he’s exactly the same only everyone thinks he’s wonderful. Do you see how annoying that is? Because, sure, he’s a good guy, but he’s not perfect. He’s not God. But now everyone fawns over him and tells you how lucky you are to know him. That’s why they pay attention to you: because you might help them get closer to him. And whenever you spend time with him, just the two of you, you both know he could be somewhere else, listening to people flatter him or take him cool places for free or sleep with him, because he’s famous. Being friends with a famous person is the worst. And that’s why when the magazines come sniffing around, asking just off the record, just for background, is he really happy, and does he drink or ever do drugs, and did he really hit that girl, you tell them everything.

Comments

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Machine Man subscriber Charles Thiesen (#3)

Location: Dorchester, MA
Quote: "Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off till the day after tomorrw."
Posted: 1383 days ago

That's what it's like being Max's friend. Except that all my novelist friends and friends who've read Max's books (they're the folks who think Max is a god) know I'm here in Boston and Max is there in Australia, so they know I can't get them close.

Machine Man subscriber Mapuche (#1184)

Location: Darwin, Australia
Quote: "Inconceivable!"
Posted: 1383 days ago

Who is this Max person really? I know he dresses his kids in refrigerator baskets instead of shoes...

Narain (#824)

Location: Los Angeles, right between civilization and a desert
Quote: "NI!"
Posted: 1383 days ago

So are you the famous person, or the famous friend? I think you owe it to all your loyal blog readers to give us the dirty details, as long as we pinky-swear not to tell any of the tabloids, no matter how much drugs or easy women they give us.

Brittany O. (#1688)

Location: Montana
Quote: "My love calls me Boom..."
Posted: 1383 days ago

I had to read this twice and still came out totally confused.

Karan (#1376)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Quid Quid Latine Dictum Sit, Altum Viditur - Anything said in Latin sounds important"
Posted: 1383 days ago

I assume this is in reference to Max's Famous Friend Wil? (http://twitter.com/wil_anderson for the non-Aussies)

Can't wait to read that magazine interview!

Machine Man subscriber Scolopendra (#3998)

Location: San Diego, CA
Quote: "Hrowar!"
Posted: 1383 days ago

I know it's tough being my friend, Max. Hang in there, though.

~The TC

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 1383 days ago

Not about Wil! Just a blog. You know. I imagine what things are like. I write.

Simon (#3192)

Location: Melbourne
Quote: "I'd rather be arrogant than wrong"
Posted: 1383 days ago

Come on it's Jennifer Byrne isn't it?

Machine Man subscriber Stygian Emperor (#2947)

Location: Austin, TX
Quote: "Hope is but the first step down the path to disappointment."
Posted: 1383 days ago

It's fictions you ducks. Keep writing these shorts, Max!

Machine Man subscriber Arnab (#3918)

Location: Brisbane
Quote: "Now, I don't know Max, I've never met Max, or know anything about him, but I have it on good authority, that he is, in fact, a werewolf."
Posted: 1383 days ago

Yeah, but when you have a bad day or something, like you stub your toe, then your Famous Friend can cheer you up with a Maserati. No wait, two Maseratii.

That's a thing that happens, right?

Machine Man subscriber Ballotonia (#4030)

Location: Netherlands
Quote: "Vote Early, Vote Often"
Posted: 1383 days ago

How difficult is it to just say 'no comment' ?!? Simple solution to the problem put forth: don't talk about ones famous friend. That way people won't treat you differently either. That's assuming of course one doesn't seek to be treated differently in the first place :p

Ballotonia

Mlaz (#5134)

Location: Nether-lands
Posted: 1383 days ago

Who'd you hit, Maxx?

Machine Man subscriber Michael Harrell (#2372)

Location: Olathe, KS
Quote: ""Every day we must persevere. For we are engaged in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."Adapted from the masthead of "The Economist""
Posted: 1383 days ago

This is great. It feels real. I just don't know.

Machine Man subscriber Russell (#3897)

Location: USA
Quote: "O Lord, Protect us from those to whom you speak directly"
Posted: 1383 days ago

its tagged under writing, Max has indicated he's starting something new, his last blog regarding Ayn Rand n whatnot included a hint, methinks we are getting sneak peeks into an upcoming book.

and i'll be honest, i'm kind of excited.

Machine Man subscriber Keith (#4156)

Location: Ballston Spa, NY, USA
Quote: ""You're more than just a naive moron to me""
Posted: 1383 days ago

"Famous friend" sounds like a euphemism of some sort.

Like "I had Taco Bell for dinner and then my famous friend came for a visit"...

So, yeah, having a famous friend sucks.

Machine Man subscriber Stygian Emperor (#2947)

Location: Austin, TX
Quote: "Hope is but the first step down the path to disappointment."
Posted: 1382 days ago

I think "Hint" is what you call fiction that's 25 words or less. I don't think there was more to it than that. But he has given us tricky hints in blog post titles before, such as in "Machinations".

Machine Man subscriber coolpillows (#3749)

Location: new york general sort of vicinity
Quote: ""It's not working" -- Joseph Clark"
Posted: 1382 days ago

This is the reason I'll never tell Max all about the really juicy parts of my life. Of course, there are several reasons:
- I'm not Max's friend (although we have communicated on friendly terms)
- I didn't do anything bad
- I'm not famous

But maybe this is the beginning of some new fiction. If so, when does he cut off his friend's leg?

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 1382 days ago

Not a sneak peek either, I'm afraid. Although I do often blog about themes and concepts relevant to whatever I'm working on. In this case, though, it's just a thought. Honest.

jessica (#3063)

Location: austin, tx
Quote: "You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart."
Posted: 1382 days ago

Too bad it's not a sneak. This seems like a great start of a juicy tale. =) I can relate to this story a wee bit. Not on a Keanu level but on a local F-class celebrity level. My bf is a radio rock jock, so that makes me the one that friends and co-workers ask for tickets to shows. My bestie, who is also a behind-the-scene maven, has a name for us chicas, "The Sig O's," or the significant others. When people ask what band we're in or who we work for we jokingly say we're "The Sig O's." It's fun meeting famous bands but to actually know them would be a different story altogether.

jas (#4698)

Posted: 1372 days ago

It's about your unconjoined quasi-half-step-cousin Dave in Miami isn't it?

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