Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Philip Hoare: I am so jealous of this seasoned fag hag


When I heard that Philip Hoare had won the £20,000 Samuel Johnson Prize for Leviathan a little bit of me went into a coma (I have since recovered: leave grapes at the door). It was that evil, low, green-eyed feeling you get when someone you know enjoys a great succes d'estime: to rub it in, Leviathan is a marvellous disquisition on whales: mankind's spiritual ink with the beasts and our disgraceful exploitation of them. So if I offer my congratulations to Philip please note the above. Do not be entirely taken in by my remote mwahing. Imagine how my face slips back into a scowl as it turns away and sips sour wine (white).

I first met Philip many years ago through my late friend Robert Tewdwr Moss. Arcatistes will know about Robert: follow the links below if not. He took me to a council flat, I think somewhere in north London. Before the front door was an iron security gate which may have last seen service at Alcatraz. The Philip I first met looked very much like the Philip of today at 51: slight and lean. Not overly friendly, but courteous and brisk. One felt he had been dragged from his work. This was a party at Philip's pad and I was Robert's unexpected, uninvited guest.

Later, I was to give Philip work on a Sunday tabloid: he was a dream. He'd turn up, hardly talk to anyone but smiled a lot and was amiable and distant, do the work without fuss - whatever the theme - then make his exit. He'd already written his Stephen Tennant book and Noel Coward was ahead of him. I learnt he was a son of Southampton and born Patrick Moore. Wisely he reinvented himself literarily so as to avoid association with the right-wing astronomer who has the wonky monocled eye and who refuses to die. Philip interviewed me for one of Robert's obits and misspelled my name: and people wonder why they get murdered.

In all the time I saw him I never worked out anything much about him. Sexually he struck me as neuter but there's no such thing as neuter so that couldn't be right. He's a seasoned celebrity fag hag: Neil Tennant's a close friend of his - I believe Philip toured abroad with the Pet Shop Boys - and it's reported that the Hairspray director John Waters talked him into writing Leviathan. About four years ago I saw him at a Janet Street-Porter London birthday party. He pretended not to see me so I just barged up to him and introduced him to my companion: Philip gave me that odd squeal of his (delight? horror at effrontery? a squashed toe?) and behaved himself. On my way out I cut him dead.

Never mind. Buy Leviathan. I may be an old bitch but here's the link. Here's his site.

Trailer for Philip's TV doc In Search of Moby-Dick. Click image once to play

42 comments:

Duralex said...

<< I first met Philip many years ago through my late friend Robert Tewdwr Moss. >>

Chéri, don't be so prudish. Everybody knows by now who RTM was to you.

<< Buy Leviathan. >>

I thought Leviathan was a novel by Paul Auster. My mistake. :-)

Madame Arcati said...

With you Duralex, the more you know the less you know. x

Anonymous said...

I can't decide if you're applauding Hoare or having a dig. And your cutting him dead like that at St-Porter's do was rather nasty. It's possible he was shy of you at the party. I can imagine that you're rather monstrous. I have read Leviathan and can't rave enough about it. The writing is just wonderful. If only Madame applied her gifts to somehing worthwhile instead of all thi snonsense here. It's quite tragic really.

Anonymous said...

Such a mean headline, Madame. Perhaps the sun's got to you.

Duralex said...

<< With you Duralex, the more you know the less you know. >>

Are you suggesting that in your little alternative world there's been no Paul Auster writing a Leviathan? Tabernak! Mmm... wait a second. In my world that Phipip Hoare of yours doesn't exist. So... ;-)

Madame Arcati said...

Well dearie, Philip is there for all to see and do enjoy the video. I have no idea how big or small my alternative world is. I noticed JW2 were/was similarly fascinated with this question.

Anonymous said...

But are whales cutting edge? Isn't it the Dandruff Prize?

Not Bevis Hillier said...

Forthcoming: The Whales I've Known by A.N.Wilson

Madame Arcati said...

I feel that I must turn my attention to AN Wilson. I wonder if he would consider writing a uterine exploration of Katie Price aka Jordan. I would certainly read that. Bevis Hillier used to sip drinks with Betty Reyburn, RIP.

JanuaryWinter3 said...

I adored Hoare's Stephen Tennant book. It's all a bit Seb Horsley innit.

Madame Arcati said...

I was never entirely sure what Tennant did except get well born.

Madame Arcati said...

Whales are a worthy cause, anon, and we would all be the poorer if our seas became spurtless.

The Soul Mutha said...

yes, since Stephen Tennant it's been downhill all the way for Phil. First one ball went, then the other, and now he's the Virgin Mary in an anorak.

Duralex said...

<< I noticed JW2 were/was similarly fascinated with this question. >>

So? In French we say: "Les grands esprits se rencontrent." :-)

The Muckraker said...

Ask Clive James for his opinion of A.N.Wilson

The late AN Wilson said...

My work in progres is the Madame Arcatis I have known. Margaret Rutherford was a dear friend who ended up nibbling coal, alas, which is what happens if you wear plaid all your life. I later came across this curious man - oh, but I don't want to reveal my killer facts.

Not Bevis Hillier said...

I do not live in an almshouse in Winchester

Madame Arcati said...

Ah, we Brits say "Buvons comme les trous"

Anonymous said...

Whales sing

Anonymous said...

And whales fart.

Madame Arcati said...

Please! Leave such detail to AN Wilson.

Not Bevis Hillier said...

Have you read A.N.Wilson's 'Such a Chum: My Life with the Queen'?

Not Bevis Hillier said...

To be followed by 'How I Helped David Cameron Find God' by A.N.Wilson

Madame Arcati said...

No, I haven't. But I did read his My Afternoon Teas With The Queen Mum - the gossip they exchanged over the scones (plucked of currants to aid royal mastication) caused a semi in my left tit.

Madame Arcati said...

And to be followed by 'How I Helped David Cameron Lose God' by A.N.Wilson

Not Bevis Hillier said...

No - you're thinking of 'How I Helped David Cameron to Lose A.N.Wilson' by Bevis Hillier.

Madame Arcati said...

Oh yes, well it's the heat. Whales don't have this problem do they?

Anonymous said...

Madame's birth name is Martha.

Madame Arcati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Heb ei ddarllen i gyd eto ond yn edrych ymlaen at ei ddarllen yn gyflawn ar fy ngwyliau. Mae'n ymddangos i fod yn un ardderchog.

Anonymous said...

Who's publishing Misunderstood - the Private Life of Satan? Can't find it on the net.

Anonymous said...

- Uh-oh first heat stroke victim. Is it breathing?
- I think it is not.
- But it's anonymous! How will we notify it is defunct? No i.d.
- Take off the mask; it may turn out to be the pleasant surprise it's Duralex...
- Wouldn't it be great? No more childish heckling... and then, we can get back to business, dude.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't realised Philip Hoare was a figure of such interest. I think AN Wilson may need to start a new project - My Best Friend Is A Hoare.

Anonymous said...

Or Hoare Wilson

Anonymous said...

I read this extract from Leviathan:

"Whales exist beyond the normal, beyond what we expect to see in our daily lives. They are not so much animal as geographical; if they did not move it would be difficult to believe they were alive at all. In their size – their very construction – they are antidotes to our lives lived in uncompromising cities. Perhaps that's why I was so affected seeing them at this point in my life: I was ready to witness whales, to believe in them. I had come looking for something, and I had found it."

I know what he means but I see whales on the telly every day. Their fins tell you they were designed to move and whales come in all shapes and sizes. Killer whales just look like massive dolphins and look ready to torpedo a cruiseliner. Philip was only thinking of that mocked up whale in the movie Moby-Dick - which resembles a loofah set adrift.

Anonymous said...

Is that what the rest of the book is like, really? Ooh, if that extract is the most representative passage from the book, I know already it is not my cuppa tea. As I read it I feel as if someone has poured a very big jar of honey over my head and now I'm all sticky and slimy and need a bath in almost boiling water. What a load of corny sentimental blabber.
You come up close to such a majestic creature and these are the words that come to mind? Geographical? their construction? antidotes to our lives lived in uncompromising cities?

Duralex said...

<< - Take off the mask; it may turn out to be the pleasant surprise it's Duralex... >>

Sorry to disappoint: I don't speak that barbaric language. But maybe a ROT13 converter does? Try it, you never know.

The late Flipper said...

I suppose Hoare is struck by the blobby-ness of a whale, a certain type of whale. Much could be said of a snail. If it did not move (which is quite often) you could never imagine that the snail is alive. The fact that it scarcely has a brain to speak of is neither here nor there. It is however hard to empathise with a silly little snail. It's a pity humankind must turn other creatures into objects of sentiment to engage conscience.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the whale dissection on C4 on Monday 6th July, 21:00 ?

Madame Arcati said...

Certainly not. I abhor non-sexual porn.

Triscombe said...

Met Hoare back in 1978 in Southampton.What struck a chord was that you found him a 'neutral' which was my impression back then. The other odd thing was that in his book about Netley Hospital he portrays himself as a characterful local lad. I thought when I read the book you sound like someone I should have had something in common with, but you gave no indication that these things were in your mind, (detatched attitude back then also?)

Victor Olliver said...

Neutrality and detachment - key elements of Hoare's persona, thank you for your observations. I may return to Hoare on my new site - www.victorolliverblog.blogspot.com.