Friday, October 1

Caviar for the Soul

Martin Amis takes a walk around the world of Diego Maradona, and, need I say, my little cup brimmeth over with tiddles.

Actually, I've always maintained that Martin Amis can't do football (and I've read just about all of his attempts - even this one), by which I mean write convincingly about football players and football matches. To my eyes, he has no instinctive feel for the ball. It just isn't there in his football pieces.

In the football world such a perceived failure to deliver is known as an enigma. As in It's an enigma why Thierry Henry fails to perform for France the way he does week in, week out for Arsenal.

But I think I can explain this little enigma relating to Martin Amis.

So: why?

Well, let's put it this way: jumpers for goalposts and the first to three or your life - and I hope he's told his loved ones how much he loves them, because he's done for. I'd take this challenge partly because I was shit-hot at football, relative to the average Joe, until I fell in love with whisky, and, serendipitously (yes!), fell somewhat out of love with football; but mostly because - and I would be amused, and oddly delighted to be corrected about this - my guess is that the young Martin Amis was never first or second or third or even fourth pick for the kickabout in the local park. And as a result, when it comes to football, he's always been semi-detached; he's always looked upon it with a jaundiced eye.

But here he's on home turf - reviewing other people's words: this time they happen to be those of the second greatest footballer the world has so far seen, and - just like his character Richard Tull in The Information - when Amis reviews a book it stays reviewed.

How?

It's called style. And Amis has it in spades. Control. Rhythm. The ability to dazzle with a word or phrase. Yes, you've got it: the qualities Maradona used to take out on to the pitch. A glib point, a cliched conjunction of style and subject on my part - but true.

These pieces are clearly written with their futurepublication in mind - as part of an anthology or collection. And that's fine by me, because I can never have enough of his stuff - and yes, behind the admiration there's a tint of jaundice in my eyes as I read, then reread his prose.

PS: on a sporting theme, my Johnny Damon-esque Grizzly Adams look is coming along just fine . . . Oh yes, ladies, I'm quite the dandy now! Though I'm due at a dinner party tomorrow night, and I doubt some of my friends will see this latest look the way I do. And as baseball means bo to them, they won't understand why it must be done, even after I've explained the Curse of the Bambino and its historical gestalt. For others in the dark, this is why, written by someone to whom it all means so much more: compared to him, and all Bostonians, I'm a charlatan gatecrashing their scene.

Nonetheless, I shall remain unshorn all the way to the World Series - and the burying of that Curse . . . It's the least I can do, for my dreams to come true.

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posted by DD @ 23:01 

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