Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Douglas Murray, Bosie, Oscar and those horses


In all probability you haven't a clue who Douglas Murray is. Never mind. Eight years ago, at the age of 20, this then undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, wrote a book called Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas (Hodder & Stoughton). The cock-cockers of the literary world got all excited because they couldn't get enough of this handsome debutant, this faintly immature precocity, nor of his subjects - in any case there's nothing quite so delicious as fresh flesh gleaming on the slab. As Julie Burchill says in her new unread book, ageism is rampant among the cock-cockers, though not exclusively.

The work was not without a certain competence. But Murray did himself no favours in comically rushing to Bosie's defence whenever yet another Wilde indictment of his aristocratic suckee was (re-)dug up from De Profundis or wherever - not unlike David Walliams' aide de camp Sebastian Love who sinks his teeth into anyone who rivals him for the affections of his Prime Minister. Among the people who helped young Murray were Tatler editor Geordie Grieg (he's all heart) and the actor Sir Donald Sinden who knew Bosie.

I am not at all persuaded that Murray has yet fulfilled his early promise. He has now turned into a ghastly notice-me apologist for rightwing neocons (wrong side of history, alas) and holds questionable views on Moslems. It's all so unglamorous and literal. Murray's website doesn't even mention Bosie.

But I remain grateful to Murray for one (but not uniquely) thoughtless sentence in Bosie that always makes me laugh - it follows Oscar's death in 1900: "With Wilde gone, Douglas tried to concentrate on his horses." As you would.
Murray's website

4 comments:

Ms Baroque said...

Are you sure it was thoughtless? Seems kind of genius to me. It's made me smile all week...

Anonymous said...

any more goss on Grieg and Kate Middleton?

Madame Arcati said...

Thoughtless in the sense of being straight not ironic or telling.

Veikko Suvanto said...

Holds questionable views on "Moslems", eh? What might these be?