My Gonads RoarRICHARD NAPIER is a "rare word manager"... or in other words, he's an "anagram re-worder".

This expert wordsmith has compiled a book which introduces us to an hilarious parallel universe of celebritries from the world of music, sport, politics, acting - and even royalty!

met up rith Richard a "a lunch launch" (see, we're doing it now too!) for MY GONADS ROAR - THE TWISTED WORLD OF ANAGRAMS.

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Hi Richard!
Before I bought My Gonads Roar, I knew it would be a list of clever anagrams, such as
Britney Spears (Best PR in Years), Spice Girls (Pig Slicers) etc. But it's far more entertaining than just a list! The section where you match musicians to the name of a spoof CD title - which is an anagram of their name - and give a write-up of the album is hilarious, and on its own is worth the price of the book. The title of Stevie Wonder's "sad autobiographical CD (Severed in Two) which explains what happened the first time Stevie tried to cut his own toenails" had me in stitches - and him too, by the sound of it! There's also a section on actors, which follows a similar format with spoof film titles and a summary of the plot. If Dolly Parton's 'Dynatrollop' ever makes it to the big screen I know it will be a blockbuster!

So... tell us when and why this fascination with anagrams started - and how it developed.
I think I was eight years old when my mum introduced me to cryptic crosswords and the easiest part of those was the anagram clues, so I kind of got hooked on those at an early stage. Simple things like melon and lemon, Santa and Satan, just started to amuse me. Then at school, you start to uncover things like 'the classroom' is an anagram of 'schoolmaster', so the whole wordplay thing intrigued me and quickly became an obsessive addiction, where it's quite difficult to read something without jumbling the letters up to form something funny or clever. Whenever I meet new people, I'll have a quick go at their name and see if anything interesting comes out of it. But I'd be defeating my own publicity here if I were to tell people that Get Ready To Roll interviews are 'rot, eagerly told'. Yes, you would indeed!

My Gonads RoarIs it only when you're reading that you rearrange the shops and drawers - oops, I mean words and phrases - or can you also pick out anagrams when you listen to someone speaking? See, it's very addictive this! Normally written words and phrases, but funnily enough, the idea for the book came from a trip to the doctors, when I was suffering from earache. My anagrammatic mind took over (the very quick amongst you would realise that ears is an anagram of arse), so the idea of telling my GP that I had a right pain in the ears started to make me chuckle in the waiting room. It got infinitely worse when my doctor asked me if I ever get a ringing sound in my ears and would it help if he stuck a syringe in. From there the idea of creating a humour book with wordplay as a base grew into My Gonads Roar, The Twisted World of Anagrams.

What feedback have you had from your anagrammees, such as Gordon Ramsay and Kylie Minogue? Any reaction from Princess Anne about her 'nice spanners'?

As yet, there have been no solicitors in touch, but I look forward to the day when one does. Anagrams are easily defendable, I merely swap letters round, and of course there are no inferences at all! The fact that Heather McCartney is a Mercenary Hatchet is purely coincidental… Of course!

And what's the feedback from people who've bought the book? My mum thought it was fab! Seriously, the press reviews were amazing, really took me by surprise, especially being my first book. To be positively reviewed in the likes of the Times, The Independent and to get 5 stars in Time Out was way above expectations. The Daily Star's Garry Bushell (who suffers from an embarrassingly itchy belly-rug rash which was apparently caused by a shrub allergy) is a regular user of some of my work too and I got asked to do a bespoke version of My Gonads Roar for a literary ball at the Dorchester at Christmas, so every guest had an anagrammed version of their name on my book cover, that was exciting. I think as you said, the point of the book is not just to list a load of clever anagrams. It is fundamentally just a comedy book. That's what makes it unique and I hope, very funny.

One page is all about 'The Eurovision Song Contest'. Hard to believe, but that phrase can be converted into at least three other phrases which are all completely relevant to the Eurovision experience! How does it feel when you home in on the letters and realise so much can be squeezed out of them? The Eurovision ones are amazing aren't they? There is something terribly rewarding when you 'discover' a particularly pertinent anagram - my current favourite which I came up with recently was Slumdog Millionaire being about a Regional Muslim Idol.

What's the most bizarre anagram you've ever woken up in the night with? (And I don't mean Perky Meatbal, haha) Very good! Perky Meatbal is my wife and the vole of my file, just in case you were wondering. Sadly I do wake up often with an idea of a name or a new film at three in the morning - I always have a pen and paper by my bed, as you never remember it - and although not one I personally came up with, the most sensational of recent times is footballer Stilian Petrov becoming Violent Rapist. Maybe you would have a legal issue if you advertised that one! Some of my own current favourites include posh property presenter Kirstie Allsopp putting on weight and admitting It's All Pork Pies, and Gok Wan and Mark Owen becoming Go Wank and More Wank - the Wank Brothers!

My Gonads RoarAlthough your ability to see potential anagrams everywhere is a great gift, does it ever get in the way of day-to-day life, such as missing an exit on the motorway because you've been making up new place names from the roadsigns? Or failing an exam because you've read a totally different question to the one that was asked? Tell us some funny, disastrous, and embarrassing incidents that have happened to you. I try not to let my obsession interfere with others, although my children loved it when we went 'white water farting' on holiday last year. The other thing I make sure of is that if I'm doing anagrams for a corporate function, they are policed by someone internally - just as well really, as my wonderful Lesbian Dyke for a lady called Belinda Skye was apparently somewhat too close to the mark. 99.9% of people I've met love what I do and like their anagram name regardless of rudeness or suitability; ultimately all I'm doing is moving some letters around for the sake of entertainment.

For example, here are some sporting celebrities' DVDs (allegedly!)

Taking that a step further... has anyone analyzed whether there is any comparison to dyslexia in the way you read? And would it be possible to train someone to think in anagrams, to help their dyslexia? I know I was searching for anagrams in everything I saw after reading your book, so it seems like it could be a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it! My publishers Faber & Faber and a brilliant bloke called Julian Loose believe that there is actually a kind of mild affliction for it. I just call it phenomenal talent. Or even 'latent talent' - there you go, there's another one. But you're right about getting hooked. My agent Jamie Coleman apparently can't go out to dinner now and look at a menu without revising what's on the list. It is addictive. In terms of training, it's interesting, as my follow-up book is aimed more at children, still funny (I hope) but with a definite educational edge.

How well does the humour in wordplay travel? For instance, do the Americans pick up on the more subtle ones? Are there any anagrams that are deemed an utter fiasco with any particular nationality? Yes, Deem it as an utter fiasco (United States of America) doesn't get it at all, which is a bit surprising as there are lots of US-related music and films in the book. Yet I did interviews with South African and Australian radio through December and they absolutely loved it, especially the whole Gordon Ramsay / My Gonads Roar thing, which at the time was very topical.

Would you be able to give us a rundown of your Top 10 Anagram Rock Albums of all time... OK Pope Pricks... in no particular order (except that the letters of album title are most definitely in a particular order, cos that's what this whole anagram thing is about!) here we go...

• Pink Floyd - DINKY FLOP
Habitual concept-album splendour from the veterans of the deep and meaningful, this time tackling the tricky subject of male impotence. "Say Goodbye To Mister Stiff", "Droopy" and "Are You In Yet?" will be the real stadium pleasers.

• Tygers of Pan Tang - FANTASY PROG GENT
The North East NWOBHM representatives dedicate this entire disc to progressive rock legend Rick Wakeman. My favourite tunes are "The Harlequin's Wizard Has Left the Circus", "Dolphins Are Excellent" and "How the Fuck Did I End Up On Countdown?"

• Whitesnake - WAKE THE SIN
The challenge, it seems, with most David Coverdale productions is to see how many euphemisms for the male genitalia one can come up with during the course of a long player (oops, there's one already). Grab the Crass Thesaurus (ha, the sore-arse!) and listen out for the erotic sounds of "Torpedo Of Love", "Loaded Rifle", "Eeeeh Jack You're Late" and the ultra-subtle "Ten Inches Of Throbbing Love Muscle's Coming Your Way Baby". Who needs chocolates and roses when you've got The 'Snake around?

• Motorhead - DEATHROOM
Lemmy and the gang return with a somewhat disappointing array of songs that never quite match the awesome "Ace Of Spades". Of the fourteen tracks, only "King Of Clubs", "Two Of Diamonds" and "Five Of Hearts" carry any real depth.

Guns n' Roses - GNUS N' 'ORSES
Axl and Slash deliver an East End knees up, commemorating the great wildebeests and stallions of the world.

REM - ERM...?
Stipey goes all conceptual, chronicling the teenage years of a shy and insecure boy, easily embarrassed by everything. The NME will love it, without actually understanding a bloody thing that's going on.

Rainbow - BAR WINO
Celebrating all the pissed-up drunks that lay on our pavements with a dog and a copy of the Big Issue, Blackmore brings us masterly re-workings of hobo classics "Stargazer" and "All Night Long", plus an ingenious cover of Bad Manners' "Special Brew", on which Buster Bloodvessel and Graham Bonnet form an unlikely vocal duo.

Robert Plant - PORN BATTLER
Taking an admirable stance on the smutty world of online sex, the Planter pleads with his audience "Keeping The Keyboard Clean" and "Stairway To Seven Years Inside".

Meat Loaf - A FAT MOLE
Just the three songs on this one, all with extraordinarily long titles. Track 1 entitled "If loving you is so very wrong, I don't ever wanna feel right again," starts slowly and builds to an anthemic chorus with a female guest singer and weighs in at just under 8 and a half minutes. Track 2, which borders on half an hour, "I cried myself to sleep last night, yet the tear-stained pillows are still here in the morning," again starts really slowly, but then reassuringly builds to a big ending with contributing vocals from an unknown female singer. The finale "I've run a marathon of madness to be here tonight, but all you've done is let me down again, which I don't think is particularly fair, given the troubles I've had with public transport this evening, honestly the buses were just awful and anyway, do you know how expensive it is from Stoke?" has a running time of just over 4 days, but does start slowly and finish climatically with a cacophony of female singers with great voices. The accompanying videos all take place in the fog within a large, secluded manor house at midnight. At some stage Meat will gaze into a mirror and see a somewhat macabre reflection.

Foo Fighters - GHOST OF FIRE
Ten strikingly similar songs from the likeable American rockers, but who cares, the videos are super. The one for the title track, Ghost Of Fire, filmed on Loch Ness at dusk whilst Urquhart Castle burns, cost more than Burkina Faso's national debt.

My Gonads RoarWhat other hobbies do you indulge in when you're not anagramming? It's a cliche I know, but children really. I took my FA Coaching badge last summer, so I could manage my son's Under 11 team; I listen to my eldest son's brilliant band, According To Her a lot, and learn as much as I can about Barbie and High School Musical for the sake of my little girl. I am also a fantastic husband to the Perky Meatbal.

What's next on the horizon, such as a follow-up to My Gonads Roar, or any other books? As I say, the second book is well under way and I would like to write a non-anagram book afterwards, maybe for the World Cup.

And dare I ask, is Richard Napier your proper name? Or are you really Prince Hardair? Rian Craphider? Eric Harpdrain? Andre Richpair? Rian Craphider! That's excellent, sounds like I should be a welsh bullshitter. I quite like Reinhard Capri as a porn star name though!

My Gonads Roar, The Twisted World of Anagrams is published by Faber & Faber (which is an anagram of Faber & Faber!) and is available in hardback from leading bookshops - but Amazon is the cheapest! To order the book, click on this link.

© Get Ready To Roll - 19th March 2009

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