2 June 2001
[books] Brief Slashdot review of Neil Gaiman’s new book — American Gods. Gaiman: ‘If Neverwhere was about the London underneath, this would be about the America between, and on-top-of, and around. It’s an America with strange mythic depths. Ones that can hurt you. Or kill you. Or make you mad. American Gods will be a big book, I hope. A sort of weird, sprawling picaresque epic, which starts out relatively small and gets larger. Not horror, although I plan a few moments that are up there with anything I did in Sandman, and not strictly fantasy either. I see it as a distorting mirror, a book of danger and secrets, of romance and magic.’ [Related: Gaiman’s American Gods Blog]
1 June 2001
[books] You ask the Questions… Nick Hornby. On Maidenhead: ‘…No, Maidenhead’s great if you aren’t interested in any form of rock music. Or the cinema. Or the theatre. Or books. If, however, your main cultural interests are not-getting-mugged and commuting, it’s the place to be.’
12 May 2001
[blogs] I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I started this Metafilter thread on the death of Douglas Adams which quickly decended into inappropriate internet posting hell. ‘…lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.’
27 April 2001
[questions] The Independent’s You Ask The Questions… does Martin Amis. Do you ever worry about turning into your father, Kingsley? This question cannot but sound sinisterly comic to me. If the Kingsley we are referring to is the Kingsley of his last years, then I could naturally do without the physical metamorphosis for at least the time being. Probably the suggestion is: am I worried about inheriting his political curve, worried about waking up one morning as the apoplectic reactionary he would sometimes (morosely but playfully) impersonate? No. Our political histories are antithetical. I have always been pallidly left-of-centre. In our more vituperative disagreements (about nuclear weapons, for example), I used to counter-attack by saying that he was the politically excitable being, not me (my father served as an active Communist for much of his twenties). In other ways, I wouldn’t mind turning into Kingsley. I would like to maintain such lifelong affections with all my children. And I wouldn’t mind writing a novel as good as The Old Devils, when I’m 64.’
26 April 2001
[cyberpunk] The Guardian previews a new documentary about the life and work of William Gibson‘”He’ll talk until the cows come home about literature,” explains Neale. “But the stuff he hasn’t gone on the record about in the past, things like the loss of his parents, his dodging of the draft and taking drugs took a long time to get out of him. I had to go back and ask him those things several times. But drug culture was such a big part of his life. “He decided to go on the record in a way that he has very deliberately avoided for a long time. Bits and pieces of his story have come out in interviews over the years, but the full story hasn’t been told in its entirety. I suppose he has always been a bit of a recluse”.’
21 April 2001
[books] The Secret Diary of a Provincial Man — Adrian Mole continues in the Guardian every Saturday… ‘Pamela came round with an egg-decorating kit. William’s eggs were a riot of primary colours; Glenn’s depicted Jesus on the cross. He wrote a bubble out of Jesus’s mouth, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”, which disturbed Pamela: “For God’s sake, Glenn lighten up. It’s Easter!” Later, while William played with the packing of his Barbie egg and Glenn watched The Greatest Story Ever Told, she led me to my room and gave an erotic Easter egg, the centre of which contained a pair of edible knickers. She was keen for me to break it open and retrieve them. I was less keen: a glance at the ingredients told me they were choc-a-bloc with obscure chemicals and multisyllable flavourings.’
20 April 2001
[books] Out of the Dark — The Guardian interviews James Ellroy. ‘Confusing the writer with his work is a dangerous game, of course, and Ellroy expresses surprise that he is often portrayed as a tough guy when, in truth, he had no stomach for serious crime or violence even as he lived a disordered and profligate life. “I was pathetic, physically weak, drug and booze debilitated, a buffoon, and scared of my own shadow. But you know what? My shadow was something to be scared of. I saw the enemy and it was me.” ‘ [Related: My Dark Places — probably my favourite book.]
13 April 2001
[comics] Great gallery of literary figures from various comic artists. Some favourites… H.P. Lovecraft by Chris Bachalo, Terry Southern by Bob Fingerman, Yossarian by Keith Giffen, and Stephen King by Ken Meyer Jr.
12 April 2001
[sex] Norman Mailer on sex, love, ethics and pornography‘I think most of us aren’t good enough for love. I think self-pity is probably the most rewarding single emotion in the world for masturbators, which is one of the reasons, I suppose, I’m opposed to masturbation, because it encourages other vices to collect around you. Self-pity is one of the first. You lie in bed, pull off, and say to yourself, I have such wonderful, beautiful, tender, sweet, deep, romantic, exciting and sensual emotions, why is it that no woman can appreciate how absolutely fabulous I am? Why can’t I offer these emotions to someone else? Self-pity comes rolling in, and cuts us off from recognizing that love is a reward. Love is not something that is going to come up and solve your problems.’ Hmmm.
That’s me fucked then. Note to self: Don’t read this kind of thing at this time of night. You’ll feel better for it. Trust me.
[via Metascene]
8 April 2001
[books] Louis Theroux reviews Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson. ‘As the book progresses, what emerges is the degree to which the real-life Bilderberg Group and the researchers who campaign against it are negatives of each other. Intentionally or not, the alleged bodies of world domination do create suspicion and resentment with their cloak-and-dagger mentality, their self-importance and their alarmism. It is no surprise to learn that some Bilderbergers quite like the idea that they are secretly running the world: it flatters their vanity.’ [Related Link: Them at Amazon]
6 April 2001
[books] She is beautiful and very young — ever read a Wilbur Smith novel? I’d assumed he was dead but it turns out that Wilbur just married his 4th wife, a woman half his age from Russia…. ‘With so many children around, he says they don’t need any of their own. “We have discussed it, but the jury is out. I don’t want children. Why should I let some strange little monster into my life to destroy what to me is a perfect set-up?” Chauvinism on this scale, in these times, is almost heroic. Smith may be hamming it up, but there is no doubt that he envies the heroes of his books their absolute authority.’
[piracy] Science Friction — Harlan Ellison goes after the fans who post his work on-line… ‘…Robertson is an archetypal member of science fiction fandom, an intensely loyal and active community of readers. For decades, sci-fi fans communicated through mimeographed zines and at annual conventions. When the Net came along, with its chat rooms, fan sites and file swapping, it was as if they’d finally made contact with the mothership. But Ellison is underwhelmed by such devotion, especially when it involves trading his stories. “At some point,” says Ellison, “you just look around and say, ‘Mother of God, the gene pool is just polluted and we really ought to turn it over to the cockroaches if we can’t do any better than this!”‘ [via WEF]
17 March 2001
[amis] Martin Amis examines the US Porn Industry. ‘It is barely 10 o’clock in the morning, and I am, I realise, experiencing the kind of anxiety that usually precedes a mild ordeal. A line is about to be crossed. I shouldn’t be here. None of us should be here. But we all have work to do. Fifteen minutes later, referring to the achievements of Lola, Chloe stabbed a hand through the air at me, and shouted with joy and triumph (Chloe is the director, remember, and she was thrilled to have this scene in the can): “That’s the kind of blowjob I was telling you about yesterday!”‘
31 January 2001
[reading] Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon‘Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat narrow technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo–which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn’t a stupendous badass was dead. As nightmarishly lethal, memetically programmed death-machines went, these were the nicest you could ever hope to meet.’
29 January 2001
[tv] Long, interesting profile of Charlie Higson in the Independent… ‘.His favourite sitcom, as a child, was Dad’s Army. “I used to absolutely love it. As a kid, my favourite character was Clive Dunn, and I hated Captain Mainwaring, but now it’s the opposite. It happens to everyone as they grow up, doesn’t it?”‘ [Related Link: Charlie Higson’s Books]
27 January 2001
[more wilde] A web page about the recording of Oscar Wilde’s voice which I linked to yesterday‘…Wilde was asked to say something into the horn of the recording mechanism. He responded by reciting part VI of The Ballad Of Reading Gaol, which consists of the last three stanzas of the poem, and identifying it with his name at the end. The recording, which lasted a little more than two minutes, was made on a wax cylinder. Fortunately, it survived along with other Edison memorabilia and to it we owe the preservation of the only recording ever made of Wilde’s voice.’ [thanks to Prolific]
20 January 2001
[books] On second thoughtsDave Eggers has second thoughts about his book A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius‘When a whale surfaces between your kayaks – chooses, among any of 2 or 3 million places in a Bay to breach, chooses a spot between your tiny plastic kayaks – this giant ancient creature, who very well might be some kind of alien, a billion years old and maybe the creator of the whole world and everything in it (why not?), has come from the blue-grey depths to terrify you – that means everything is possible. No one can need more proof than that.’
17 January 2001
[books] An A to Z by Zadie Smith‘The neighbours think I’m a whore. I stay in all day, I wear nothing but a night-slip, sometimes men come bearing brown envelopes. I don’t do any work yet I seem to have money. On the face of it, whore would be my guess too. Actually I’m a scribbler, all day in a room, not seeing anyone, just looking at this screen – I don’t fuck the FedEx boys. I’m not an anchoress, either – though I remember once liking the idea. Cool to be a woman who’s isolation is self-inflicted; a mystic retreating from the world for religious purposes.’ [via Zenith of the Barbelith Collective]
15 January 2001
[books] The Digested Read covers The Worst Case Scenario Survival HandbookHow to survive a mid-air explosion: 1. Take a deep breath and perform 3,000 somersaults in the pike position. 2. Clench buttock muscles and grab hold of your crotch. Hit the sea feet first and swim 1,000 miles to safety.’
12 January 2001
[books] Interview with Alec Garland just after The Tesseract was published. ‘…Garland has a knack for seeing and expressing things in a very understandable was, and this is no doubt part of his appeal to a generation turned off by so called ‘classic’ yet impenetratable authors. “I know exactly what you mean,” Garland says. “I think if you asked the average literary editor whether they thought my work was equitable with Salman Rushdie’s, they would say no. Well, that’s not something that bothers me very much and I doubt very much that it bothers Salman Rushdie.”‘
11 January 2001
[moley] BBC News covers the new Adrian Mole TV series — The Cappuccino Years. ‘Adrian Mole is not just a figure of fun or soft comedy target – he is emblematic of the age in which we live. The title, The Cappuccino Years, relates to not just the current craze for coffee shop culture, explained Townsend. “It is a metaphor for the fact that Adrian Mole has a mixed race son whose skin is the colour of cappuccino, it is also a metaphor for the Labour government; a lot of froth – very little coffee. Adrian Mole is a conduit for what the country is like.”‘
9 January 2001
[books] Friends of Meg’s Shelves. If you have bookcases crammed with books you really want to check this out. From Notsosoft: ‘Apparently, bookshelves are for ornaments and photo frames and candles, while any books that I’m not reading at the moment (and there are many many many), should be packed into boxes and “stored in the airing cupboard or something.” ‘
7 January 2001
[history] The secret loves of H.G. Wells unmasked — the Observer reports on a new book on H.G. Wells that reveals his secret love life… ‘The bouncy little man whose tiny hands and squeaky voice belied his success as the Don Juan of the intelligentsia, was loved by legions of beautiful women throughout his life, one of whom credited his phenomenal pulling power to the fact that his body smelt irresistably of honey.’
27 December 2000
[war is hell] Playing with Cobras comes up with a great link covering the life and work of Sven Hassel…. writer of many great books about War…. ‘Sven Hassel’s novels have a major effect on one’s outlook vis-à-vis life. Take a quick read through one of the books and you will find that you suddenly have absolutely no respect for authority, a rabid distrust of anything political, religious or dull and a healthy craving for beer, cheating at cards and very large ladies. Your culinary skills will suddenly be in great demand and you will never want to go to sleep again. You will not consider Saving Private Ryan to be in any way a realistic interpretation of war.’
20 December 2000
[reading] Just finished The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. ‘…in a 1994 issue of the Journal of Development Economics Romer wrote, “Once we admit that there is room for newness – that there are vastly more conceivable possibilites than realized outcomes – we must confront the fact that there is no special logic behind the world we inhabit, no particular justification for why things are the way they are. Any number of arbitrarily small peturbations along the way could have made the world as we know it turn out very differently . . . We are forced to admit that the world as we know it is the result of a long string of chance outcomes.’
14 December 2000
[reading] The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. ‘The truth was that no casual observer could say when Clark was working and when he was playing. In part this was because, to Clark’s way of thinking, the big distinction wasn’t between “work” and “play” but between “creating new technology for money” and “creating new technology for pleasure.” In part it was because there was no distinction at all.’
13 December 2000
[books] Nice review of Hunter S Thompson’s new bookFear and Loathing in America: the Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976. ‘In 1975, sent to Vietnam by Rolling Stone to gloat over the withdrawal of American troops, Thompson wrote an uncharacteristically deferential letter to a Vietcong official, requesting an interview. He apologised for his typing, but assured the colonel that, ‘I am one of the best writers currently using the English language as both a musical instrument and a political weapon.’ It was sweetly naive of him to imagine that military despots value such credentials; nevertheless, his self-assessment was just. The music made by the language, in his use of it, resembles the percussive iteration of gunfire, or the fulmination of an exploding grenade.’
12 December 2000
[books] Tom Wolfe’s Hooking Up Digested by Books Unlimited. ‘The answer may be found among the new neuroscientists. We are what we are. Our brains are hot-wired, a genetically predetermined series of electromagnetic switches. There is no such things as consciousness, guilt or freewill. This is not a popular line of enquiry, and even as I write the evolutionary apologists are fighting a revisionist battle for our souls. I predict that as all the accepted 21st-century mantras slip back into the primordial ooze, a new theory will emerge. It will feel solid. And it will be named God.’
11 December 2000
[books] Interesting interview/profile of Zadie Smith in Books Unlimited. ‘White Teeth is a rich, sprawling domestic epic, about how families and people come together and fall apart in the most unlikely ways. It’s also very much a book about modern London, a city in which 40% of children are born to at least one black parent, a city in which the terms black and white become less and less relevant as we gradually meld into different shades of brown. White Teeth reflects a new generation for whom race is the backdrop to daily life rather than the defining characteristic of existence. Some people have said Smith is depoliticising race, removing it from its historical context, others say she’s ahead of her time, representing modern London as it really is for the first time.’
8 December 2000
[books] From BooksUnlimited — Five minutes with Naomi Klein. ‘…in Britain I think there are a few things that have put the discussion around the difference between branding and advertising into the public discourse. One of those things has been the branding of Britain – the whole idea of very consciously building an identity around a country. I also think that having Richard Branson as a kind of rock star CEO (he’s basically the most well known CEO in Britain) has taught people in Britain a lot about what branding means. Here you have a company that is all brand, that is all about extending into new areas, about building these branded temples. It is really about selling an idea, selling a persona as opposed to selling products and that’s something that’s quite difficult to grasp. That’s why I think the discourse around branding is a lot more advanced in Britain than anywhere else.’
2 December 2000
[books] Jorn from Robot Wisdom has a great list of links about Tom Wolfe. Here’s a chapter from The Bonfire of the Vanities. ‘Sherman leaned back in his chair and surveyed the bond trading room. The processions of phosphorescent green characters still skidded across the faces of the computer terminals, but the roar had subsided to something more like locker-room laughter. George Connor stood beside Vic Scaasi’s chair with his hands in his pockets, just chatting. Vic arched his back and rolled his shoulders and seemed about to yawn. There was Rawlie, reared back in his chair, talking on the telephone, grinning and running his hand over his bald pate. Victorious warriors after the fray . . . Masters of the Universe . . . And she has the gall to cause him grief over a telephone call!’
29 November 2000
[plagiarism] Comparison of Glenn Brown’s The Loves of Shepherds 2000 and Tony Robert’s book cover Double Star.
28 November 2000
[books] Books Unlimited has the first chapter of Naomi Klein’s No Logo available… ‘And so the wave of mergers in the corporate world over the last few years is a deceptive phenomenon: it only looks as if the giants, by joining forces, are getting bigger and bigger. The true key to understanding these shifts is to realize that in several crucial ways – not their profits, of course – these merged companies are actually shrinking. Their apparent bigness is simply the most effective route toward their real goal: divestment of the world of things.’
21 November 2000
[quote] ‘Zola called it documentation, and his documenting expeditions to the slums, the coal mines, the races, the folies, department stores, wholesale food markets, newspaper offices, barnyards, railroad yards, and engine decks, notebook and pen in hand, became legendary. At this weak, pale, tabescent moment in the history of American literature we need a battalion, a brigade of Zolas to head out into this wild, bizarre, unpredictable, Hog-stomping Baroque country of ours and reclaim it as literary property.’ — Tom Wolfe, “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast,” November 1989, Harper’s.
18 November 2000
[reading] The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker. “My left shoelace has snapped just before lunch. At some earlier point in the morning, my left shoe had become untied, and as I had sat at my desk working on a memo, my foot had sensed its potential freedom and slipped out of the sauna of black cordovan to soothe itself with rhythmic movements over an area of wall-to-wall carpeting under my desk, which, unlike the tamped-down areas of public traffic, was still almost as soft and fibrous as it had been when first installed.”
12 November 2000
[reading] Jurrassic Park by Michael Crichton: ‘”But we have soothed ourselves into imagining sudden change as something that happens outside the normal order of things. An accident, like a car crash. Or beyond our control like a fatal illness. We do not concieve of sudden, radical, irrational change as built into the very fabric of existence. Yet it is. And chaos theory teaches us,” Malcolm said, “that straight linearity, which we have come to take for granted in everything from physics to fiction, simply does not exist. Linearity is an artificial way of viewing the world. Real life isn’t a series of interconnected events occurring one after another like beads strung on a necklace. Life is actually a series of encounters in which one event may change those that follow in a wholly unpredictable, even devastating way”. Malcolm sat back in his seat, looking towards the other Land Cruiser, a few yards ahead. “That’s a deep truth about the structure of our universe. But for some reason, we insist on behaving as if it were not true.”‘
10 November 2000
[reading] Books Unlimited interviews Chuck Palahniuk. ‘For Palahniuk the male protagonists of Fight Club are human spirits in revolt against the deadening destinies society that allots them. Many of his friends are teachers and, like teachers here, they often com plain that education is increasingly about schooling children for niches rather than educating them to create their own place in the world: “They’re taught to accept the world the way it is. I felt that all of my schooling was to get me a good corporate job so I could be a good corporate citizen, pay my taxes, live politely and then die.”‘
8 November 2000
[reading] Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Train ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson. ‘On page 39 of California Living magazine I found a hand-lettered ad from the McDonald’s Hamburger Corporation, one of Nixon’s big contributors in the ’72 presidential campaign: PRESS ON, it said. NOTHING IN THE WORLD CAN TAKE THE PLACE OF PERSISTENCE. TALENT WILL NOT: NOTHING IS MORE COMMON THAN UNSUCESSFUL MEN WITH TALENT. GENIUS WILL NOT: UNREWARDED GENIUS IS ALMOST A PROVERB. EDUCATION ALONE WILL NOT: THE WORLD IS FULL OF EDUCATED DERELICTS. PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION ALONE ARE OMNIPOTENT. I read it several times before I grasped the full meaning.’
5 November 2000
My Dark Places Cover[reading] My Dark Places by James Ellroy. ‘It went bad from there. It went bad with self-destructive logic. It went bad slowly. The voices came and went. Inhalers let them in. Liquor and enforced sobriety stifled them. I understood the problem intellectually. Rational thought deserted me the second I popped those cotton wads in my mouth. Lloyds called the voices “amphetamine psychoses.” I called them a conspiracy. President Richard M. Nixon knew I murdered my parents and ordered people to stalk me. They hissed into microphones wired to my brain. I heard the voices. Nobody else did.’ [My Dark Places is by turns, a stunning, brilliant and above all a disturbing book. I read it first in 1998 and since then I’ve read it at least once a year… Certainly in the top five books I’ve ever read.]
2 November 2000
[reading] Something Happened by Joseph Heller: ‘I get the willies when I see closed doors. Even at work, where I am doing so well now, the sight of a closed door is sometimes enough to make me dread that something horrible is happening behind it, something that is going to affect me adversely; if I am tired and dejected from a night of lies or booze or sex or just plain nerves and insomnia, I can almost smell the disaster mounting invisibly and flooding out towards me through the frosted glass panes. My hands may perspire, and my voice may come out strange. I wonder why. Something must have happened to me sometime.’ [I’ve attempted to read Something Happened many times in the past but always got smothered by Heller’s / Slocum’s prose. It’s just to much. I’m hoping that by posting this “recommendation” I’ll find the will to finish what I suspect is a brilliant book… ]
25 October 2000
[royalty] Princess Diana and the Vibrator… not porn — actually a very amusing review of Shadows of a Princess by PD Jephson‘Diana, Jephson breathlessly confides, returned from Paris in 1992 sporting a souvenir – ‘a large, pink, battery-powered vibrator’. By now she knew she’d never get her hands on an orb or sceptre: this plastic knob would have to do. It had ‘the aim’, Jephson notes with courtly tact, ‘of raising royal morale at critical moments’. But he denies that it was actually aimed at the critical royal part, and insists it was ‘never used for its designed purpose’. Eventually Dodi assumed the role of royal morale-booster, which made the cheeky pink chap redundant.’ [via Beesley]
4 October 2000
[king] Stephen King — the early years of bitter struggle‘Harry had hooks instead of hands as a result of a tumble into the sheet-mangler during the Second World War (he was dusting the beams above the machine and fell off). A comedian at heart, he would sometimes duck into the bathroom and run water from the cold tap over one hook and water from the hot tap over the other. Then he’d sneak up behind you while you were loading laundry and lay the steel hooks on the back of your neck. Rocky and I spent a fair amount of time speculating on how Harry accomplished certain bathroom clean-up activities. ‘Well,’ Rocky said one day while we were drinking our lunch in his car, ‘at least he doesn’t need to wash his hands.”
28 September 2000
[sci-fi] Guardian Unlimited interviews Arthur C. Clarke as he promotes his new book… ‘The book, with its vision of a relentlessly voyeuristic society, includes a memorable sex scene on a bench in 2041AD Rome. Who wrote the sex bits, I wonder? “I had an operation for prostate cancer 10 years ago,” Clarke says. “I haven’t the slightest interest in sex. But you have to keep up with reality.”‘
[random link dump] These links have been sitting around waiting for something to tag them to which never came along: Old Salon interview with Jay McInerney, Slashdot review of Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Comics worth Reading and finally, Alan Moore — famous vegetarian!
25 September 2000
[books] Stephen King writes about the car accident that almost killed him…. ‘He and Bullet left the campground where they were staying, he later tells an investigator, because he wanted ‘some of those Marzes-bars they have up to the store’. When I hear this little detail some weeks later, it occurs to me that I have nearly been killed by a character right out of one of my own novels. It’s almost funny.’
23 September 2000
[eugenics] Guardian Unlimited reports on a new book alleging that an American scientist infected thousands of South American Indians with a measles-like virus [in the process killing hundreds] to test a theory on the effects of natural selection on a primitive society. ‘Prof Turner says that Neel held the view that “natural” human society, as seen before the advent of large-scale agriculture, consists of small, genetically isolated groups in which dominant genes – specifically a gene he believed existed for “leadership” or “innate ability” – have a selective advantage. In such an environment, male carriers of this gene would gain access to a disproportionate number of females, reproducing their genes more frequently than less “innately able” males. The result would supposedly be a continual upgrading of the human genetic stock. He says Neel believed that in modern societies “superior leadership genes would be swamped by mass genetic mediocrity”.’
18 September 2000
[books] Crime Magazine asks if In Cold Blood is a dishonest book. Interesting look at the story behind the creation of the book — but be warned… the page contains some disturbing images. ‘However, early on I’d like to raise the question of Capote’s basic honesty in writing this book. He set out to write a masterpiece, yet he took no notes. He recounts lengthy, complex conversations – sans notes. Capote told Plimpton that he had trained himself to do this – that, for a year and a half prior to embarking on the book, he had a friend read passages from a book to him, for an hour or two a day, then he would write down what he had heard – and in his estimation he had a unique facility for accurately remembering interviews, with an accuracy quotient of 95 percent. Which any newspaper reporter can tell you is horse feathers.’
17 September 2000
In Cold Blood Cover[books] The Guardian’s original book review of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. ‘The utter banality of the Clutter murder, the fact that it was resolved not through some acute feat of detection but by a facile indiscretion – one of the assassins had discussed the family with a cell-mate before leaving prison – make Truman Capote’s radical point. Looked at minutely enough, filtered through the lens of a highly professional recorder, caught by the tape recording ear in its every inflection and background noise, the most sordid, shapeless of incidents, take on a compelling truth. Exhaustively rendered, the fact is richer than any fiction.’ [Buy this Book: UK / US]
[horror] The Observer interviews Stephen King. ‘Stephen King paused, took a breath, he got stiffly to his feet, and smiled. ‘That’s not to say that there won’t always be a market for crap… Just look at Jeffrey Archer! He writes like old people fuck, doesn’t he?” [part of the Observer’s Stephen King Season]
14 September 2000
[ellroy] Old Salon interview with James Ellroy… On his mother: ‘She gave me gifts — her death did. Those gifts have stood me in very good stead. I cannot go back and undo the past. I never even think of what might have happened had she lived. Would I be a writer? I had gone to great lengths in my life, in my career, to seek consciousness and get better and better. That eclipsed everything with me, everything in my subconscious.’