Clive James Watch #9

Cultural Amnesia

In "The New York Sun", Allen Barra brings the book by James into his musings on Tony Curtis: "Many a highbrow raised a brow high last year when the critic Clive James, in his book Cultural Amnesia, included just three movie actors among his selections of the most significant cultural figures of the century. They were Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, and ... Tony Curtis...That's right. Not Brando or Olivier or even John Wayne, but the Jewish kid from the Bronx, Bernie Schwartz -- the guy who wore a dress in his most popular movie and whose most famous line in a film can't be recited without inciting snickers: 'Yonder lies the castle of my fad-dah.'"

In Edinburgh

Alan Chadwick has a chat with James before "Clive James in Conversation" and "Clive James in The Evening" featured at the Edinburgh Festival.
The "Broadway Baby" website did a review "...In Conversation": "..if you want to spend an hour drawn into a space where you feel that you would like to pull up a chair, sit down with a cuppa and join in with a pair of erudite and intelligent speakers and laugh along with them, you cannot go wrong here."

Essay by James

In "Poetry" magazine, James writes about poems that sparkle: "Any poem that does not just slide past us like all those thousands of others usually has an ignition point for our attention." Touching on Gerald Manley Hopkins, Shakespeare, Amy Clampitt, Larkin, and Auden along the way.

Review by James

James reviews Artists in Exile by Joseph Horowitz for "The Times": "Imagine Balanchine watching a bunch of cheerleaders and you've got this book in a flash. Vignettes are its basic strength, as was bound to be true. The subject of the twentieth-century European artists in exile is too big for one book...Joseph Horowitz gets the story into a single volume, Artists in Exile, by concentrating on a single destination, America, and even then he trims the field. His subtitle 'How refugees from twentieth-century war and revolution transformed the American performing arts' leaves out the writers, painters, photographers and architects, which means we aren't going to hear much about any of the Mann clan, and nothing at all about Mondrian, Ernst, L├ęger, Moholy-Nagy, Mies, Gropius, Andreas Feininger, Lyonel Feininger ... but let's stop."

In Sydney

James has been in Sydney, of late, hosting the Sydney Symphony's "Movie Music: Crime Time", featuring the scores of many of Hollywood's greatest composers. Helen Barry reviewed the show for "Australian Stage". As did the "allrite rite" weblog, who thought that James "wasn't in good form tonight, stumbling over his words at times and appearing quite tired. He only truly came alive for political quips." And while he is in Sydney, James will be Guest Editor of "Time Out (Sydney)". The magazine runs a small editorial from the author along with a reading list of recent James material.


You might recall that James used to write the lyrics for Pete Atkin songs. If you stumble across "Midnight Voices" - the Pete Atkin web forum - you'll find that Rob Spence recently delivered a paper on James's lyrics to an academic conference in Denmark. Seems to have gone down rather well.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 16, 2008 2:46 PM.

Australian Bookcovers #129 - The Survivor by Tom Keneally was the previous entry in this blog.

Reviews of Australian Books #94 is the next entry in this blog.

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