Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Jason Cowley: 'He likes them big'

Dearest Madame,

Is it common knowledge that Louis Amis, scion of Martin Amis, now Manchester University's most controversial professor, has joined the world of hackdom and is now answering the phones at Spectator upstart, Standpoint magazine? I've just pitched an idea at him.

Incidentally, the course that Martin Amis now 'teaches' on at Manchester Uni was one that I completed myself several years ago, when it was taught by the inimitable Suzannah Dunn and the charming Martyn Beford, both of whom deserve to sell far more books than they do.

During the course we had Jason Cowley, the newly installed editor of the New Statesman, up for a visit to talk to us about literary journalism. There he made a marvellously sweeping point about how 'young writers nowadays don't want to write on big themes or big books' (this is in between zoning most of his conversation in on one of my fellow student's cleavage). I didn't have the heart to tell him that with tuition fees, zilch contact time, part-time jobs and the incessant milkround of work experience expected of most undergraduates nowadays it's a miracle they come out of university with enough energy left to write a haiku.

The young write small books
Because their overdrafts are large.
Eliot's ghost weeps

Best regards as ever,

Chris Klee

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your delightfully informative letter, especially on Jason Cowley, who only reads books by tastefully appointed publishers, and appears the very model of catalogue-driven orthodoxy in all matters. I shall examine his horoscope. You don't happen to have a photo of him looking like David Sylvian do you, in make-up? I had heard that Louis was gainfully employed at a tastefully appointed magazine in keeping with his father's good name: the glamour of heredity is a hard one to beat. But that's not to deny Louis' independent talents, assumed.

Love, light and other New Age bullshit words



Anonymous said...

Oh Madame I notice that you haven't added a label for Standpoint to this post. Surely you don't think it's not going to be with us very long ?

Madame Arcati said...

Standpoint has much to prove though it is fashionably dull - if Monocle is taken as a template of dullism. I believe its editor is the son of Paul Johnson, the former Mail moralist who fucked his way out of Paul Dacre's affections. I'm sure this memory will not endear me to the Johnson mini-me.