Literature: Dave Hill - Tasteful Nudes Interview + Giveaway

Journalist, actor, comedian, guitar God and now writer - Dave Hill is everything.

Should you be in search of a thought-provoking, intellectually challenging novel, maybe read this post about Kafka and buy a copy of "The Trial". "The Judgement" and "Metamorphosis" are also great if you are looking for short stories. There are a ton of books out there for you - this is not one of them.

Should you, however, be looking for a light summer (or autumn, or winter...) read that will make you smile, chuckle and even laugh every now and again "Tasteful Nudes" is the way to go - with a bit of luck, I will even send  you a copy!

My expectations for Tasteful Nudes were pretty big. Partly because of the mass of good reviews, partly because of Dave's completely shameless self-promo, that no bad author could ever get away with. He even has a blog to share pictures of people reading his book and judging by the amount of sent in nudes, I figured it had to be good. When was the last time you loved a book so much you decided to share it with everyone on the internet - naked?

by Poppy

Despite being a little disappointed by the introduction for consisting of everything I had read online before, crammed into six pages (shameless self-promotion, prophanities, good jokes, bad jokes and anything to raise expectations to the highest possible level), the essays themselves are extremely well-written and even the most awkward situations are charmingly illustrated. Whether he is referring to a nudist's "Senior Vice President" dangling just a bit too close to the buffet or having lunch with a prostitute aka The Hottest Lady on The Internet, Dave gives everything a fun twist. He can, however, also write about serious subjects such as depression and death, adding a bit of variety to a book otherwise filled with lighter themes and making it easier to relate to the author.

It's safe to say, there should be an essay for everyone in Tasteful Nudes. From first love to japanese toilets, Dave pretty much covers every subject worth writing about.

Dave Hill kindly took the time to answer a couple of questions for PQ.

What sort of books do you usually tend to read?

I read non-fiction mostly, though I’m trying to get myself to balance things out with a little more fiction as I think it might be good for my brain or something. I read a lot of essays, both humorous ones and gravely-serious-to-the-point-of-being-so-depressing-I-want-to-cut-myself ones. When a writer can combine those two things, I just love it. My friend David Rakoff was great at that.
Being a rocker and all, I like reading rock books a lot too if they are well written, which is rare.  But I thought Keith Richards, Bob Mould, and Duff McKagan all put out great books. I also like books about crime and Japanophilia, especially when those things are combined like in Jake Adelstein’s “Tokyo Vice”.
Lately, I’ve been finding myself reading a lot of plays - stuff by Wilde, Shaw, Ibsen, etc.- too, which is strange since I rarely see them. Life, right?

How did it feel to write a whole book? Did you enjoy it and was it like you expected it to be or harder/more stressfull?

Writing a book felt good.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.  I don’t have a lot of specific goals in life- I’m more open to possibilities than feeling like something really specific has to happen or I’ll be devastated.  That said, writing a book is one of the few specific goals I’ve had, so it was nice to check it off the list.  If I can get one of those huge Newfoundland dogs next, all my life goals will have been reached.  It feels doable.  I imagine I just need to go on Craigslist or something.
Once I got into the groove of things, I did enjoy writing the book.  It was slow going at first as I struggled to find the happy medium between my comic voice and storytelling voice.  It had been a while since I’d written any longer form essays, so I kind of had to relearn things.  It’s very different from writing for the stage, where it’s a bit more anything goes. 

Can we expect more books?

Yes. Or at least I hope so. I’d like to write a few more before I die. I had fun writing this one and would love to get cracking on another one soon.  Hopefully my publisher will agree with that idea.  If not, I’ll just keep typing anyway.  But it’s nice to know that the writing already has a destination when you’re sitting there in your underwear staring at your laptop all day.

What sort of reactions did you expect from loved ones, readers and critics?

I supposed I expected general support from loved ones as it’s that sort of thing that got them in the “loved one” category in the first place.  As far as readers and critics go, I expected a more varied, more love-hate reaction.  I’ve been thrilled that the reaction has actually been way more positive than I had anticipated.  I imagined some readers and critics would like my book and others would think it’s just a waste of trees.  But the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, glowing even (with, of course, one or two exceptions that I’m aware of).  And, as best I can tell, readers really like it.  I shouldn’t admit to reading customer reviews and all that, but I do and the majority of them have been very nice.  I’ve gotten lots of lovely emails too, which I always like.  One thing that’s been particularly nice to read is that people find the book to be touching.  I didn’t necessarily set out to do that, so if people can get something more out of it beyond some laughs, that’s great.

How have the reactions of family and friends been after reading your book?
Some members of my family wish I didn’t use profanity in the book, but other than that the reaction from family and friends has been really nice.  My sister told me my dad called her the other day and said the book is “growing on him,” which I’ll take as a compliment.  I was worried he might hate it and ground me or something.  Generally, though, I find those closest to me say the least about the book.  It’s kind of like that with everything though.  It’s the job of those closest to me to make sure I don’t get a huge ego or something, so they tend to not be over-the-top about anything I do, which is for the best.  When my hair looks good, though, they usually tell me and I really appreciate that.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

How and when did you begin performing as a comedian and how did you get the idea to do so?
I was a bit of a late bloomer with comedy.  I didn’t start performing until I was already in my ‘30s.  Most of my peers started in college or shortly after.  I got started just because my friend Tony Carnevale was running a weekly show in the back of a bar on the Lower East Side in New York City and asked if I wanted to try doing a spot one night.  I did and it went well enough that no one pelted me with anything, so I decided to show up again the next week.  It kind of grew from there.

I like the way you dress, is there anything you would not be seen dead in?

Thank you.  I probably wouldn’t wear Crocs under any circumstances.  I also hate pre-distressed or fake vintage clothing, so I avoid that whenever possible.  I almost never wear shorts either.  It’s just not rock-n-roll.  I’m not anti-shorts, though.  They’re just not right for me and my dark world view.  If I go swimming or something, though, I’ll give in and wear some shorts.  I’m not a goddamn animal.

It seems you have already done pretty much everything worth doing. Is there anything you haven't done yet, that you are dying to try?

Not really, though I’m pretty much up for trying anything once within reason.  But I tend to do all the stuff that interests me- comedy, writing, music, and visual art.  I just wish there was more time in the day to do more of it.  Other than that, sometimes I think it would be cool to go study Eastern medicine and learn how to do acupuncture and all that.  I get acupuncture pretty regularly and am fascinated with how it all works.  I also like anything that undergoes some sort of aging or fermentation process, so it might be cool to get into the beer, cheese, or smoked meat business at some point.  I imagine all of those things can be cruel mistresses though, so I would definitely proceed with caution.  There are some real bastards in the beef jerky business, I’m told.

If the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do right now?
I wish I had a great answer, but I’d probably just hang out with family and friends and eat and drink stuff.  I guess I’d probably send out a few booty texts too, just to see what happens.

Random quick fire questions:
 Favourite drink?
I drink beer mostly, but I like wine and the occasional scotch.  I rarely have mixed drinks, but I like Negronis and Pimm’s Cups a lot.  I think I might have already overanswered this question, which defeats the whole “quick fire” thing, I guess.  Okay, my favourite is probably a good India pale ale or Laphroaig scotch, neat.

 Worst hair cut you had?
Two years ago, some guy at one of those bullshitty hair salons that pretend to be an old timey barber shop just cut all my hair off for some reason.  I looked like a soccer hooligan.  I used to not tell the person cutting my hair much other than something like “Make it look nice,” but since then I’ve started to be more specific.  Seriously, I almost punched the guy in the face when he was done.  I looked like an anus.
 Most embarrassing thing you said?
I was at a party once and a guy burst through the front door with another guy on top of his back.  They were both laughing hysterically, so I assumed the guy on the back was wasted.  I said something stupid like “And the award for drunkest guy of the night goes to this guy!”  A second later, a third guy appeared in the doorway with a wheelchair.  It turned out the guy was being carried up the stairs because he couldn’t walk.  So, yeah, that might have been the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever said.  I’m sure there’s worse stuff too, though.  I’m just blocking it out.

 Favourite musicians?
Oh man, there are tons.  But off the top of my head, I’d say Jimmy Page, John Lennon, Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Ray Davies, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Paul Westerberg, Angus Young, Eddie Van Halen, J Mascis, Bob Mould, Suzzy Roche, Elvis Costello, Barry White, Daryl Jenifer from Bad Brains, Alex Chilton, Ronnie James Dio, John Kimbrough, Rufus Wainwright, Joe Perry, Noddy Holder, Phil Lynott, Rick Nielsen, Joe Perry, and then some of the other ones too.

One song you really hate?
“Are You Gonna Go My Way?” by Lenny Kravitz.  No, Lenny- I’m not, so stop asking.

Do you want to get a copy of Tasteful Nudes for free?
Then today might just be your lucky day because I am sending one reader a copy and that reader could be you!
Just follow these simple steps:

1. Write a comment on this post with your name and email address!
2. For extra chances you can:
TWEET about this giveaway (be sure to tag @Project_Quality),
BLOG about this giveaway (don't forget to add the link to your comment)!

Make sure to write it in your comment if you liked/followed/tweeted/blogged.
The giveaway ends September 20th at 8 pm CET. Good luck!