Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Martin Amis: Teeth, literature and sneaky cock-cunting
When you have quite grown tired of the Katie and Peter (non-)revelations in the tabloids, do catch up with our cultural elite and their past cock-cunting activities. In Intelligent Life magazine, writer Julie Kavangh has written a beautiful memoir of love and life with Martin Amis in the '70s. Interestingly, it's a "consensual kiss and tell" because Amis himself contributes to her disclosures. Very post-mod. He is of course working on his own "blindingly" autobiographical novel.
In the piece there's much about Martin's teeth, cleverness, literary friends - such as Clive James and Christopher Hitchens - and skinny-dipping. He signed notes to Kavanagh as LS - Lazy Shit. My favourite bit reflects unkindly on Martin's sneaky side. Kavanagh recounts his infidelities with, among others, the critic Lorna Sage and Churchill’s granddaughter, Emma Soames and her own best friend.
Kavanagh describes a dinner with Clive James and Sage as evidence of Amis’ cunning duplicity. “I thought that Martin and Lorna were doing more than just sitting side by side, and after picking up the fork I’d dropped, had my suspicions confirmed.” Was Lorna giving him a hand-job under the table? We're not told.
To read more, click here. Or if you can't be bothered, I understand the Sunday Times is publishing the piece this weekend. Oh no, I tell a lie. The Telegraph's publishing it tomorrow (Wednesday) - I do hope I've not scooped them. They outbid the ST.
A cultural critic writes: Julie's story is an Oxbridge and cerebral Grease template: Danny -"Martin Amis" - Zuko and Julie - "Sandy Olsson" - Kavanagh are the alpha-exemplars of their gender-based tribes: Danny's T-Birds could easily be Mart's gang members Clive, Hitch and the rest. Danny impresses Sandy with the cool emblemised by his black jackets and hold over his macho followers in much the same way as Julie is awed by Mart's The Rachel Papers and his kinship with fellow harbingers of future glamour: both men are custodians of the finest sperm of their generation (within a given affordable locality). Mart/Danny finds aspects of Julie-Sandy uncool: Julie does not appear to know the difference between Keats and Yeats - the cement of his male bonds - just as Sandy is not part of Danny's cultural reference system. Perhaps the stories differ only in the way they end.