Never Mind the Bollocks: Women Rewrite Rock


Published by Virago in April 1995

A series of intimate first-person interviews with American and European artists from Courtney Love (the first after Kurt Cobain committed suicide) to Bjork, Kim Gordon to Gina Birch. There’s a foreword by Deborah Harry but – to address years of people asking about this – no interviews with the likes of PJ Harvey or Patti Smith simply because they turned me down. I did however, interview the brilliant Kim Deal and then respected her request to have the chapter withdrawn on the basis that she’d been too honest.


‘If anyone wishes to understand what Love has had to go through, this is definitely recommended’ – Caitlin Moran, The Times.

Grrrls: Viva Rock Divas

Published by St Martin’s Press in January 1996
The US version of Never Mind the Bollocks put Courtney Love on its cover and changed the title. The reason for the latter? The word ‘bollocks’ is not commonplace in the US.

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Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh

Published by Faber in April 2008
From Abigail’s Party to Nuts in May, from Meantime to Naked, Leigh discusses his films with great candor – he isn’t, for example, a huge fan of Abigail’s Party, the Play for Today people always associate with him. Leigh also talks about working with the same cast and crew time and again as well as explaining (well, nearly explaining) his inimitable working method.


‘Raphael, a perceptive interrogator, takes us through all the films for TV and the cinema… [she] clearly won Leigh’s confidence, and he talks with refreshing frankness about his early life and professional career’ — Philip French, The Observer.

Danny Boyle: In His Own Words

Published by Faber in November 2010
Pretty much everyone who works with Boyle falls in love with him, even Ewan McGregor. Not only inspirational and passionate, Boyle is also ridiculously modest about Slumdog Millionaire’s eight Oscars. Here he talks about his teen years spent dressing up as David Bowie, his love of The Clash and how he very nearly became a priest.


‘Raphael proves a shrewd interrogator who writes intelligently but accessibly about the art, craft and commerce of film’ — Nick Curtis, Evening Standard.

Danny Boyle: Creating Wonder

Published by Faber in March 2013
Updated to include a chapter on The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, in which Boyle reveals how he managed to make the most cynical amongst us feel patriotic. There are also chapters on 127 Hours, Trance and Boyle’s production of Frankenstein at the National Theatre, starring a certain Benedict Cumberbatch.


‘This mammoth Q&A reveals the near-mystical vision behind the Lancastrian boy wonder’s singular gift’ — Boyd Tonkin, The Independent.

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David Hare: The Blue Touch Paper by David Hare

Published by Faber in September 2015
This was an exceptional way of working and Hare explains it best in the foreword: ‘… when surprised by the desire to record the circumstances of my own life, I felt a novice. I wanted to be expansive, to move where my memory took me, and I felt this could best be achieved not by writing prose, but by talking. A series of conversations over a year with Amy Raphael followed with the aim of discovering why it was so hard for my generation to put the past to bed. Using as a primary source her edited transcripts – to which, with her exceptional taste, knowledge and literary skill, she made an essential contribution – I have fashioned this book.’


The Blue Touch Paper has been shortlisted for the James Tait Black prize for biography.

Steve Coogan: Easily Distracted

Published by Century in October 2015
My first ghostwriting proper. Although it hasn’t been sold as such, this is Volume I of Coogan’s memoirs (though I’ve no idea if he’ll get round to Volume II). As such, it dips into the present day, including his Oscar nomination for Philomena, but it ends in 1992 with his Perrier win. There is plenty of Partridge in Easily Distracted, but please don’t ask about Courtney Love.


‘Fans of Alan Partridge will find much to relish in Steve Coogan’s new autobiography’ — Alice Jones, The Independent.

Perfect Pitch: Men and Women

Published by Headline Review in September 1998
Edited by Simon Kuper and Marcela Mora y Araujo, this volume of ‘The Best New Football Writing’ includes a piece by the great Gabriel ‘Batigol’ Batistuta, who scored more goals for Argentina than Maradona. I, in turn, hung around the Players’ Lounge at Anfield and ended up drinking too much with Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler.


Perfect Pitch: Dirt

Published by Headline Review in April 1999
Same editors, different contributors: alongside the likes of Roddy Doyle and Hunter Davies, I wrote about my extraordinary time with George Graham. Despite being manager of Tottenham at the time, he proudly showed me the Arsenal museum in his London flat and addressed that bungs scandal.