Sunday, April 08, 2007

G'day sunshine

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.


  1. I was reading that very article on the plane on the way back from New York (he says, trying to sound urbane)

  2. Anonymous1:15 pm

    Clive is keeping certain parts of the nation entertained with his idiosyncratic worldview at 8:50 on a Sunday Morning with "A point of view" on Radio 4. Although he was deemed unnecessary (possibly un Christian?) for Easter Sunday.

  3. Clive is God. TV's loss is Radio Four's gain; there is simply no-one else who has the brilliant balance of intellect and wit about popular culture as him. Get him in The Word instantly, and feel free to commission me for a re-match as he is my favourite interviewee ever!

  4. Come on people, can you have overlooked the inimitably delightful Nancy Banks-Smith? I read her reviews of programmes I've never seen and enjoy them immensely. She writes so beautifully that I occasionally forward a link of hers to the Joni Mitchell Discussion List, where her pieces are read and enjoyed by people who not only haven't seen the programmes but also miss a lot of the cultural references. And Nancy isn't half as conceited as Clive. Yes, he's Terribly Clever, but doesn't he just know it?