Friday, 7 September 2012

Talking To Authors From My Book Collection

Like Peter Kien in Elias Canetti's Auto-da-FĂ©  I turn to authors in my library for questions I've yet to ask...

...Raymond Chandler steps forward and says: 'The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner', to which I can only nod in agreement, without wishing to criticise those of whom I really have little experience and certainly less than him.

Then Rimbaud appears, saying 'Adorn yourself, dance, laugh - I shall never be able to send Love out of the window', and I reply 'Good man! Yes, I'll adorn myself in flowers, evil ones, and dance to James Brown whilst reading JP Donleavy!'

Godard steps up, saying 'The eye, since it can say everything, then deny everything because it is merely casual, is the key piece in the film actor's game'. 'Yes, quite,' I reply. 'The Eyes of Laura Mars! Bette Davis! Henry Fonda in Once Upon A Time In The West!' Not knowing if that's what he meant, exactly, and feeling inferior when it comes to discussing cinema with the master of the New Wave.

Finally Henry Rollins appears, which is immediately intimidating. He shouts: 'You have to pay off someone to unclog your toilet when Everything comes back Blows up in your face and rots. The stench will let you know what time it is!' I quiver, nod, smile timidly, and realise it's time for me to start talking to real people instead of authors from my bookshelf...

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