Skinema Review / Interview
[ by alex godfrey ]
Chris Nieratko has been writing for Bizarre since 2002, regaling us with tales of his ridiculous life in our sealed section, under the guise of porn reviews. He has now collected these stories, with others he wrote for some other magazine, in the oddly compelling page-turner Skinema, which is both disgraceful and endearing. Readers of his column will know Chris is now happily married, doesn’t do drugs any more, and doesn’t get into much trouble nowadays. But it wasn’t always like that. I called him to see if he remembers me now that he’s a famous author.
Chris, I couldn’t find any mention of myself in the acknowledgements. I’m assuming this was a terrible mistake that will be rectified in future printings?
Yeah, the second printing. You know what it was… page constraints. The first draft had a 50-page ode to you and they were like, “Can you just do a blanket thank you to all your friends?”
OK, good. I know how the business works. I think Skinema is actually a self-help book. Have you had any feedback yet from people who have read the book and learnt from your mistakes?
It’s very strange because the overall reaction is laughter and joy when they read stories of miscarriages or girls almost dying on me during sex. Someone said, “When the girl almost died on you, that was hilarious.” I said, “You know what? Not to me. Not really.” Honestly, I can’t read this book again. I read it once when I put it together on my honeymoon and I’ll never read it again.
What was the cumulative effect of reading all these terrible things about yourself?
It was like Ewan McGregor going straight in Trainspotting. Just reading these stories, it was like, “This person’s such a fucking asshole… God, it’s me! I’m the asshole!” It was painful to relive some of these memories I truly didn’t remember, because a lot of this stuff, I was living in my office in LA and I’d come home, to the office, at 3am, totally blacked out after some misadventure, and somehow I was smart enough in my stupidity to take notes and rattle off 300 words on it, and that would be the reviews I’d send you. So, it was terrible.
I was going to ask if it was maybe therapeutic, but it sounds the opposite.
You know what, it was good, I needed it, it was a good smack in the mouth, but what I felt bad about was my wife had to read it. She just looked at me in disgust when she got to the final page, and said, “God, you’re a fucking slut.”
What’s it like for her, having these stories in a book, many about her personal life?
She’s happy for me, she doesn’t care. Fuck, she married me, she’s gotta have a good sense of humour. She rolls with it, people come up and say, “Did he really try to put his entire hand up your butt?” and she says, “No. Just most of it.” She rolls with the punches. A lot of emails I get, and that people send to her MySpace, are those of pity. And I laugh, because those people are spot-on. They should feel really bad for that poor girl.
In the blurb on the back of the book, it says your life is like a collection of hilarious bar stories and it’s impossible not to grab a beer and listen to the whole thing. Is it an audio book?
Yeah… let me just say there were a lot of… problems in getting this book out. And I don’t think the blurb was on anybody’s priority list.
c/o Bizarre Magazine
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© 2007 chrisnieratko.com