Sunday, 27 July 2008

Inadequacy and awe from Saturday's Guardian (or I love Lucy)

After days of physical toil and rote, the brain needs a bit of a stir, but like a muscle, it doesn't take much abandonment before it starts to atrophy.
So there I am, trying to rev myself up again with help from the Review section of the Saturday Guardian, switching between feelings of inadequacy and awe.
My sense of stupidity is at its height when I come across the spread on Sharon Olds, whom "many regard as America's greatest living poet". And I've never even heard of her. Do I blame my clearly inadequate Eng Lit degree course or myself? Myself of course. Just her photograph (that's it above) and quotes are enough to tell me I should have known of her, even if the specifics of her poetry sailed beyond my ken.
Next up, Julian Barnes' warm reminiscence of Penelope Fitzgerald has me smiling in appreciation of them both; clear minded, with sure literary feet, one admires their intellect and artistry.
But then, a treat of great humour. The Guardian is having fun at Mr Spin's expense. Alastair Campbell reviews Haruki Murakami and from the title to the last phrase, the piece is pure Campbell spin, using a paean to Murakami to enhance himself and puff his own work (some of which hasn't even been finished yet). How utterly venal, how shallow, how obvious, how very, very funny. My awe levels swiftly return to normal and feelings of inadequacy are drowned by giggling.
Just a flick away in the G's Weekend mag, beams Lucy Mangan's column. She's my favourite writer in the paper (as is Lynn Barber in the Observer), guaranteed to make me laugh, and always in the right way; what a satisfying turn of phrase she has. Writing on the flailing economy, Mangan suggests that we'll all be bartering piglets for firewood as if that was some kind of backwoods, medieval activity beyond the daily grind of her readers. Lucy, I'd happily swap half a trailer load of logs for any piglet you happen to have about you any time you like; delivery not included though.


KAZ said...

Oh Yes.
I certainly 'love Lucy'.
I did a post about her a while ago.

We pay 3.80 euros for Saturday Guardian in Spain and there's no supplement so no Lucy (sob).

Do you think she'll ever actually get married to 'Tory Boy'?

Mopsa said...

I think she will Kaz, just to make her readers gasp. And what was all that about her Dad directing a play in Cape Cod last week???? He's meant to be a lovable but daft old bugger, but he seems to be the Richard Mangan that edited Gielgud's letters etc.

garfer said...

Nope, I'd never heard of either. Yet again my ignorance is search lighted.

Looks a bit like Patti Smith, and can probably sing better I'll warrant.

Flowerpot said...

I've never heard of Sharon Olds either - but then I don't have any degrees, let alone in Eng Lit!! This weekend was minus any papers as I was on the move all the time. Good to settle down with them though and catch up.

Anonymous said...

Campbell's self-serving review got to other people as well:

Mopsa said...

Garfer, Fpot - I am not alone! Thank goodness.

Anon, thanks for the link - it pleases me hugely that other folks felt the same way as I did about Campbell - what a fool that man is.

KAZ said...

RE Mr Mangan - Oh dear looks like we've been had doesn't it?

I remember an early piece about her dad walking down Blackpool prom when she was a kid - and he certainly wasn't portayed as an intellectual.