Saturday, July 31, 2010

Smoking In Bed: Conversations With Bruce Robinson edited by Alistair Owen (Bloomsbury 2000)

How to Get Ahead in Advertising might almost be the modern equivalent of a satirical pamphlet by Swift.

I think there are elements of that, because being a pamphleteer was the most immediate and accesible way of communicating one's outrage and a lot of people did it. Every day you pick up your Guardian and there's a Steve Bell cartoon about a serious subject that can make you laugh out loud. Comedy is the greatest weapon there's ever been for dealing with politicians. I'd be sitting there with a boiled egg, saying, 'How can people not see what's going on?' I thought I was looking at reality, and I suppose I wondered why no one else was. If you rant and rave like I used to and you haven't got an outlet for it, people think you're a nut. That's when they say, 'Just lie down. A little bit of the old liquid cosh and you're going to feel much better.' I don't do that any more. Sophie says the first time I took her out to dinner I made an hour and a half speech about Margaret Thatcher. That was our first date. She told me that after twenty minutes she just cut off and nodded. And that's what became of the film: most of the audience cut off and nodded.

10 comments:

stuart said...

One of my and Lynn's first dates was at an SWP showing of Battleship Potemkin. Ah, what a romantic fool!

Darren said...

I've racked my brains for the last 15 minutes and I have no witty riposte to that anecdote.

One thing I remembered whilst rereading this book is how much Robinson makes a person want to write. I don't think I've ever read another book or watched a film which captures the joy (and pain) of writing more.

stuart said...

Oh, thanks for the tip. I'll get a copy. Obviously love Withnail, and his novel too.

Darren said...

Aaah, but you do write.

Some of us don't . . .

stuart said...

Best advice on writing I ever heard was Bukowski's:

http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/show/43542-Charles-Bukowski-So-You-Want-To-Be-A-Writer

It was only when I took this advice seriously that I found, to my surprise, that I actually quite enjoyed it.

stuart said...

I hope that following Bukowski's advice leads to an outpouring! I'd particularly like to see you write a piece on the role individual SPGBers have played in historic class struggles. I know you have a lot of knowledge about this and it would be nice to have it all down on paper – something to shove down the throats of all those idiots who talk about 'clean hands' and 'good boys'...

Darren said...

'fraid I'm not a writer. I'm one of life's cut and pasters.

stuart said...

Then a successful career in journalism awaits!

Darren said...

I don't have the hollow legs for a career in journalism . . . or am I just stuck in 1963 time warp?

stuart said...

'Fraid so. It's mostly young and ambitious Tony Blair all-spin-and-bullshit types these days. Get a job from daddy, then sit there rewriting press releases, or writing columns whingeing about the au pair. Where are our Jeffrey Bernards?