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Friday, April 18, 2008

Names are dropping like flies

Last night I went to a dinner party "for" David Simon, the man who invented "The Wire". It was thrown by his publishers Canongate, who have picked up his 1991 book "Homicide" for publication later this year. Simon's in London editing his new HBO mini series "Generation Kill", based on the book by Evan Wright. The party's in Notting Hill, one part of London that I'm never entirely comfortable in. It's the kind of do where Zadie Smith drops in for coffee and sits there rolling tiny cigs which she can't smoke. Nick Cave is expected later but by then I'm on the Piccadilly line.

Simon told me a story about seeking Tom Waits's permission to use "Down In The Hole" as "The Wire"'s theme tune that confirms my suspicion that when confronted by the need to make a decision, musicians will happily don the mantle of hopelessness. Simon had made a personal application and supplied tapes of the show for Waits to look at but still had no word back and it was getting close to deadline. He somehow got Waits's home number and called him. Sorry to bother you, Mr Waits, but we were wondering if you'd got the tapes.

Oh yes, said Waits. Sorry for the delay but my wife is away at the moment and I can't work the VCR on my own. Tell you what. Go ahead.