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