07 January 2007

"A brilliant bunch of guys"

I have been reading since Christmas day a fine present from Fiona's parents, Clive James' fourth volume of autobiography - "North Face of Soho".

I find it a wonderful but frustrating read. Wonderful because each page drips with James-ian wit; on an offer to fund the publication of a biography of Louis MacNeice : "There were no big advances in those days, but the sum he proposed was more like a retreat.", and it is a book you can hear the audio version of as you read it as it is written in the same rhythm and cadence as James' speech. Frustrating because it makes me wonder if there is any point in my writing anything when it cannot compare to the standard set by James. Have faith, gentle reader, I shall continue regardless.

The chapter I've just read contains what may be a dig at Victoria Wood, so my opinion of Clive has gone down a tad as a result.

Of course, one of Clive's greatest attributes for me is his willingness to accept popular culture as being as relevant and lively as high culture, and one can only speculate as to how he would review the glut of reality programming currently blocking our tubes.

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