Clive James Interview

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clive_james.jpg    Clive James has been unwell.

Not in the Jeffrey Barnard sense, but in the kidney failure, lung disease and leukemia sense. But he's 72, and still belting out the essays and books, the most recent of which is A Point of View, which contains transcripts of the radio talks he did for BBC's Radio 4 over the past several years.

As the book hits the shelves in time for Christmas, James was interviewed for The Australian news paper by David Free:
And even with his cancer in remission, James must pay regular visits to a clinic for blood infusions. "My immune system is being successfully replaced with an immunoglobulin drip-feed that encourages reading for at least a couple of hours a week."

All this means that James, at the moment, can't be interviewed except by email. This isn't a bad arrangement when you're interviewing one of the wittiest writers in the world. It will, however, make it hard for me to throw in the standard references to the man's physical appearance, the firmness of his handshake and what kind of beverage he leans back to sip on while considering his answers.

Improvising, I offer James the chance to provide a scene-setting description of himself. "Surprisingly hale and hearty-looking for someone described in the newspapers as being at death's door," he replies. "Clive James gives few outward signs of feebleness to anyone who did not know him when his energy was unimpaired. When he sets the kitchen on fire, as old men are inclined to do, he is a little slow at getting to the blaze. His eyes are a bit screwed up, but he hopes to get that fixed."

It hurts to think of James as an old man. If he is one, then those of us who grew up with his books and television shows must be growing old, too.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 19, 2011 6:25 AM.

Poem: What the Heart of the Poet Said to the "Bulletin" by Joseph Furphy was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #287 - Antipodes by David Malouf is the next entry in this blog.

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