At M and R’s 50th birthday party in Spain, I met one of their friends who stood a good chance of becoming an Australian MP. If it hadn’t been for her, I probably wouldn’t know there were Australian elections on. But, I see from the internet, that she has got in. The excitement. Well, all I can say is those people in Freemantle have got themselves a great bargain. There has been some quibbling but clearly the electorate didn’t buy it; good for them. She’s lovely. And clever and competent too. Bet she gets made a minister sooner or later. Oooh thrill.
NaBloPoMo – The moment you’ve all been waiting for – W is for Wyndham, Wells, Wodehouse,Weldon, Welsh, Waugh, and Wolff.
John Wyndham is probably my favourite science fiction author. His books seem very old fashioned when I read them now (he is not a big believer in non-traditional roles for the sexes, our John) but I still really enjoy his clever, clever plots. “The Trouble with Lichen” and “Chocky” are my favourites but, of course, “The Midwich Cuckoos” and “The Day of the Triffids” are very good too.
I don’t fancy H.G. Wells’s science fiction much but his “A Short History of the World” is responsible for everything I know about history.
P.G. Wodehouse is great. Of course he is. For some reason, I like the golfing stories best. I am not an enthusiastic golfer, but I love it when the oldest member clears his throat to attract general attention. Somebody once borrowed one of my P.G. Wodehouses once and didn’t give it back. I am still scarred.
I used to love Fay Weldon and I thought all her books were exciting and novel and interesting but my passion has waned. I’ve put her in for old time’s sake. “Go to work on an egg”.
Irvine Welsh is very brilliant and quite disgusting. After reading “Filth”, a story wherein you realise that the most appealing character is a tapeworm, I gave up on him. But I still do think he is an extraordinary writer.
I heard on the radio that when “Brideshead Revisited” was first published, it was a huge critical failure. The critics were hoping for something as entertaining as his previous work. I know what they mean. It’s probably my least favourite of his books (though I haven’t read “Helena”, I just couldn’t face it). Most of the rest of his books are funny and poignant. “Brideshead Revisited” is too serious for me and it has all the signs of zeal of the convert as well. This criticism can I know be applied to the “Sword of Honour” trilogy but, I feel, that at least there, you know what you’re letting yourself in for and there’s more of a point to the exercise. I have a special fondness for “Decline and Fall”. Many years ago I had a very exciting 6 months as a trainee in Brussels (there is a reason I came back, you know). It was a time of constant socialising and all very exciting. I was in my early 20s. A bit like starting at university but with more money, more nationalities and more organised parties. It was great fun but sometimes it felt like being on an out of control merry go round, clinging on for dear life going from party to party (I imagine this must be what Paris Hilton’s life is like, yes, me and Paris we are like that – crosses fingers). I read “Decline and Fall” for the first time then and it seemed very apposite. Whenever I reread it, I remember that very exhausting, great fun and slightly insane time of my life.
I like Tobias Wolff. I particularly enjoyed his two volumes of memoirs “This Boy’s Life” and “In Pharoah’s Army”. Magic.