Friday, August 10, 2007

There's a grevillea in the marginilia!

Cultural Alzheimers

A foreword to a book by a Great Writer

Or, unnotations to some annotations

Death is a painful subject to think about before coffee, and to talk about after. I once knew Jove Claims well enough to talk about such things, but that only lasted until afternoon tea. Perhaps I should have asked him over the chocolate scrolls. Nevertheless, he created a permanent imbalance in every traditional field of subject matter and expression, and was a terribly messy eater besides. So I feel that I am as equipped as any person of mere passing acquaintance to write the foreword to this book. It was either me or Elton John.


He once said to me, " F, nothing beats the feeling of an interesting woman being interested in you." Or was it, "nothing beats an interesting woman feeling you?" Then again, maybe it was "There is nothing more interesting than an interesting woman beating you." I have since searched his collected novels and correspondence, to no avail. Interestingly, this may be because he wrote no novels, and had a morbid fear of correspondence, being in the habit of weeping uncontrollably when the postman delivered the bills. Nevertheless, he was a very great writer.

How am I to describe his manifold influence over the western tradition in a few sentences? Perhaps I may be permitted to borrow from his biography on the back flap of this book. He had two cats, both of which were white. The only thing black about them was their whiteness. They both belonged to him, but there the resemblance ended.
He danced the pavanne frequently, but there was no vagueness about him: only indeterminacy. He could do all the wrong steps: they were just in the right order.
He told me I should have trusted his instincts, but I had a train to catch. Besides, he couldn't even pronounce 'Amis', although in other circumstances he could imitate reasonably. He was what he was, or at least what he should in the present tense be, or in the future within the normal field of grammatical speculation become, which is much the same thing.


He had a knack for the permanent, but he couldn't avoid it. I am, to this day, unaware why he chose to name his latest book after a type of yoghurt with a brain condition. Perhaps he meant to suggest that yoghurt was a forgettable meal. But he was his own man.

I shall love him until he dies.


TimT said...

This is a piss-take of Clive James' book 'Cultural Amnesia', not because it's bad - it's very, very, very, very good - but because Clive has absolutely no restraint when it comes to the use of epigrammatical statements. I've lifted out some of his little aphorisms, and recombined them, and changed a few details to make them look absurd, putting them in a foreword to the book 'Cultural Alzheimers' by the author 'Jove Claims'.

nailpolishblues said...

I don't think you needed to explain.

TimT said...

I did anyway, just to be on the safe side.

nailpolishblues said...

Right. Okay.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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