The Self-Porter Press Society, by Matthew Field
When Philip Porter and I first sat down to chat about the possibility of producing a book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Italian Job – neither of us could have imagined the incredible journey that lay ahead. Throughout 2019 we toured the UK and beyond presenting the book at many prestigious festivals and events. Here I would like to share some of my favourite memories from the promotional tour….
The book was first unveiled exclusively to members of the Royal Automobile Club in London on 30 May. As guests entered the grand HQ on Pall Mall, they were greeted by three Italian Job Mini Cooper replicas displayed in the rotunda. I love this photo because the Minis looked like Dinky toys when viewed from the balcony above.
We were lucky to be joined on the promotional tour by Oscar-winning producer, Michael Deeley, David Salamone (played Dominic, driver of the red Mini, and also sourced all the vehicles needed for the movie) and Hazel Collinson, widow of the director Peter Collinson. We soon christened our travelling Italian Job Q&A “The Italian Job road show.” This photo was taken at Brooklands Museum in Surrey. Hazel was a hit wherever we went, always bringing the house down!
The Curzon cinema in Mayfair, London played host to a special screening of The Italian Job organised by the renowned classic car dealer, Simon Kidston. In this photo our “road show” pose with the original Aston Martin DB4 used in the movie, with Simon standing behind.
The official launch for the book took place on 19 June at the MINI plant in Oxford. Not only did 2019 mark the 50th anniversary of The Italian Job, it was also 60 years since the first Mini rolled off the lines at Oxford. This time the “road show” was also joined by actors Robert Powell and John Morris, crew members Terry Apsey and David Wynn-Jones and the families of the late writer Troy Kennedy Martin and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe. Here are some of the cast and crew and their families reuniting for the first time since 1969 while touring the MINI production line.
Paul Swift and his stunt display team recreated scenes from the movie in the grounds of the MINI factory for the press. It was fun shooting this publicity photo with the drivers in which we swapped out gold bars for copies of the book!
Michael Deeley and me discussing the book on Sky News.
“You’re only supposed to sign the bloody book.” Philip and me on the Porter Press stand at Goodwood Revival.
Here we are at the Cheltenham Literature Festival which is usually reserved for ex-Presidents and Booker Prize winners. The pure love Britain has for The Italian Job must have appealed to the organisers! This was by far the most daunting event. We walked on stage to be greeted by more than 900 people!
“On Days Like These.” Working on the Octane Italian Job photo shoot, which was one of the highlights of the incredible coverage the book received. This was the first time the three surviving cars - the Miura, DB4 and E-type - had been united.
While on a trip to Los Angeles, I presented a copy of the book to one of the actors who appeared in the movie and was among my many interviewees. Can you guess who it is? It’s the man who blew the bloody doors off…Arthur…played by Michael Standing.
“I like ‘em big!” David Salamone discovers this Italian Job themed wrapped Mini while on tour.
In October, the Jaguar E-type Club in partnership with Classics on the Road organised “THE ULTIMATE ITALIAN JOB TOUR” – an 11-day driving experience down to Turin where the movie was made. Here we all are on the rooftop of the famous Lingotto Fiat factory which also served as a location in the film. The Jaguars were joined by a trio of red, white and blue Minis.
…And a week later David and I returned to Turin this time to support the annual Italian Job charity run. MINI UK loaned us a very special car - the 10 millionth MINI to roll off of the production line. Porter Press sold many books and a percentage of sales were donated to the incredible children’s charity Buttle UK.
Philip and I were overjoyed when The Self Preservation Society was given the prestigious “Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year 2019” award.
Every author loves to see a display of their latest work – myself included. Here is The Self Preservation Society on the Christmas gift table in Waterstones, Piccadilly.
Click on the following link for more information on The Self Preservation Society, by Matthew Field