Sunday, November 6, 2011

Times Book Review Gleanings

These days, the Sunday Times Book Review is the only part of the paper I can stand to read.... These amused me:

Geoff Dyer's essay about the vintage-1970 covers of the Penguin Modern Classics (and why aren't there statues of Geoff Dyer in every town square?):

Since then the happiest moments in 35 years of museum-going have occurred when I’ve seen these Penguin Modern Classic paintings on a gallery wall. Especially since the cover often showed only a detail of the original. Seeing the works themselves revealed exactly what had been lost, though I invariably saw it the other way around, with the painting as an expanded version of the Penguin original.
James Wolcott, quoted in a review of his memoirs (which should be required reading for all overweight lovers of transgressive 70s grunge -- Ugly George and Vanessa Del Rio are mentioned -- the only time you'll see them and Pauline Kael in the same paragraph) on first seeing Patti Smith:
“Shortly after entering below the awning of a bar and club with an initialed name, a place I’d never been to on a street that still looked like a Robert Frank photo­graph of raw, spilling night, I gingerly installed myself for a bar-stool view of the stage, which was stationed left of the aisle and barely large enough for a barbershop quartet. The atmosphere was most unmagical, worthy of a cheap paperback set on skid row. It had a palpable texture, this prosy ambience, a bit of World War I trench-warfare leftover aroma of dung, urine and damp carcass, but it was the ’70s and not a time to be picky. Then I saw this visage, this vision, shark-finning the length of the bar, and I knew this had to be Her.”
And finally, a good joke from Andy Borowitz:
If ‘House of Mirth’ is Edith Wharton’s idea of ‘mirth’ let’s be grateful she never wrote ‘House of Bummers.’

1 comment:

David Chute said...

I also the description o few lines down in the Smith section, of Patti "offering consolation to a young woman whose boyfriend vomited on her: 'A guy’s not really your boyfriend until he’s thrown up on you..'"