Thursday, October 05, 2006

Martin Amis in Edinburgh


Last night I went to see Martin Amis speak at the Queen's Hall, a stone's throw from my previous address. The audience were older than I had expected, perhaps indicating that the young Amis' novels in the seventies caught on with people of his father's generation. A few minutes before the event, Edinburgh's, indeed possibly the UK's, best known crime writer, Ian Rankin took his seat two rows in front of me, and just as I was contemplating this, Dylan Moran, perhaps best know as fictional TV bookseller Bernard Black passed my seat. This was becoming an archetypal
evening.

Amis himself was hindered on stage by the interlocutive presence of Alan Taylor of The Herald, who fawned over Amis and interposed himself between him and his audience's questions. I could and have done a better job in similar circumstances.

After reading from his new novella, the author parried questions and non-sequiteurs with dry aplomb and rose in my estimation - he does seem to revel interaction with ordinary people, most of the floor questions being polite and deferential, if at times intimidated by their subject's sheer intellect. I could have played Mart Bingo had I wished, yelling "House" after he had broached Christopher Hitchens, reviews of his recent work, smoking, Stalin, and nuclear arsenals.

It had been a worthwhile evening, which has rejuvenated my appreciation of an author I've admired for twenty years now.

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