Friday, June 1, 2012

What I’m reading: international edition

Martin Amis on ageing:
Have you noticed, religious people – really religious people – look sinisterly young? Because it’s consciousness of death that draws all these lines on us. Not just the time moving past you, but where it’s headed.
Bollocks. That’s what you get with Amis junior. My children, Ten and Eight, are conscious of death – we have had four deaths in the whanau in the last year and nothing has been hidden from them the way it was when I was a child, not even the suicide – but are their faces lined? No. People’s faces get lined because they get older, especially if they are smokers. Like, for example, Amis junior. 

 Never annoy a novelist. Peter James, a guest at this year’s Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, on Martin Amis:
“I was at Charterhouse School with Martin Amis, many years ago. I didn’t see him again until an awards ceremony in 2010. I went up and said, ‘You might not remember me, but we were at school together.’ He said, ‘No, I don’t remember you – and you only remember me because I’m famous.’”
James says this with a drawl meant to mimic the writer.
“I stormed off and wrote on Twitter that I had just met the rudest writer on the planet. Ian Rankin [his fellow crime writer] asked who it was. I told him and said I was going to get my revenge by writing Amis into the next book [Not Dead Yet] and giving him a very small penis. Rankin bet me a hundred quid I wouldn’t. He’s going to have to pay up.”
{In the novel a character called] Amis Smallbone is ridiculed by a prostitute, who compares his manhood to a stubby pencil. The gangster he is staying with says, “You’ve always traded on being your dad’s son, but you was never half the man he was.”
Joe Hildebrand offers a guide to how one should behave when meeting the Queen. For example:
The Queen does not want to hear your incomprehensible prattle or whacked-out political theories. This especially applies if you are Prince Philip.
Tim Blair, my favourite right-wing Aussie petrolhead, attends a Prince concert against his will and, to his surprise, loves it. Well, of course. Fun fact: “Prince is now 53, eleven years older than was Elvis Presley when he died.” Money quote:
One moment, not choreographed, sticks in the memory. Prince is singing with his back to a piano. He reaches back with his left foot and hooks it around the leg of a chair, quickly shifting it about ten centimetres closer. Why did he do that?
It was so he could use it to leap on top of the piano, which Prince accomplished in one movement – without looking behind him. A tiny event within an enormous show, but illustrative of his stage awareness. He makes the most nimble Olympians look maladroit. 
Thanks to Paul of the Fundy Post I have discovered a wonderful blog, The Age of Uncertainty. I began here – he starts out wittering about Twitter but soon gets very funny about books. This, about having a child with OCD, is heartbreaking but hopeful. I’m hooked.


Stephanie said...

Steerforth is magic. Thank you. Have bookmarked it.

Anonymous said...

Do look back through Steerforth's posts on the Derek diaries and the poignant one titled 'Ordinary Lives'

Stephen Stratford said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I wouldn't have found this otherwise. The comments are good as well.

Too many of us are familiar with this: