Saturday, October 2

Moderation Is a Stranger

I can't resist this bit of bitchy gay gossip - Look at Her indeed - and you can only salute the memory of Dirk Bogarde getting his rocks off on the revs of a stationary, plinth-mounted Harley-Davidson (giving an added thrust to the old joke about 'parking your bike').

I've seen The Singer Not the Song (1961), and Dirk does a pretty good black-leather clad, mad, bad and dangerous to know number. He's no Jack Palance, but he's okay. I mean, he's not Tom Cruise going all gummy noir in Collateral.

While I'm in the realm of legendary Englishmen known for their immoderation and reclusiveness, here is an essay by Zadie Smith on The Quiet American by Graham Greene.*

I believe there's something - not everything, but something - to be said for the fact that Greene wrote the same basic love triangle with the same basic types in the same literary patina, the only shift coming with the use of varyingly exotic locales. And at times he's a stylistic mess: for example, the abuse of colons in The End of the Affair.

Upon Greene's death, in 1991, Kingsley Amis stated that Greene had been - for some time - our greatest living novelist. I assume that by our he meant British, and I think it's unarguable that he was our greatest living literary figure - and that The Quiet American is his best book, though I have a soft spot for Brighton Rock, and the whiskey priest in The Power and the Glory is a favourite character.

However high or low you place him, he was one of the few writers ascribed their own interior country of the mind - Greeneland.

To finish, here's an extract from the "as told to . . . " autobiography of Diego Maradona (see yesterday's entry, Caviar for the Soul), covering the infamous Hand of God goal and the winning of the World Cup in 1986. You could say that since that triumph of the will, the self-titled El Diego has been another catholic soul floundering in Greeneland, and keeping some very rum company.

* Today is the centenary of his birth, and the about-to-be-published third volume of his biography by Norman Sherry, while presumably focusing on the later years spent relatively quietly and a lot less productively in the south of France, does include juice like Greene's own list of his 47 favourite call girls.


posted by DD @ 13:11