Sunday, April 08, 2007
How long has it been since Clive James used to keep the whole nation entertained with his weekly TV criticism in The Observer? How long has it been since he described Arnold Schwarzenegger as looking like "a condom full of walnuts"? In case you need reminding that nobody has come along since who's fit to lace his sandals, he pops up reviewing crime fiction in The New Yorker this week. What he's talking about is the delicate balance involved in trying to write the soulful kind. He describes the performance of Ken Stott, who plays Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus on TV, as "looking like a man who's slept under a horse". It's that abrupt descent into bluntness that makes him such a great writer. Makes you sick.