02 December 2006

'A brown condom stuffed with walnuts'

Clive James knows perfectly well that a man with a talent to amuse will always have some difficulty persuading the public that he can, so to speak, quote Wittgenstein. And, once they know that he is also from “the bush”, they will expect some coarse material, too. Thus it’s brave of him to stand by the original version of his much-misquoted image of Arnold Schwarzenegger (it was “a brown condom stuffed with walnuts”) against subsequent plagiarism and dilution. He coins a new term for authorial humiliation, when he speaks of a publisher’s “advance” that is really a retreat.

- Christopher Hitchens reviews North Face of Soho (Unreliable Memoirs, Vol. 4) by Clive James, Times, 15 November 2006

[If you're interested, the Guardian has an entertaining spoof digested read of NFoS, which includes this passage on his filmstar interviewing: 'It wasn't an unmitigated success, as I invariably had a better understanding of the actors' work than they did, but it was none the less instructive']

No comments: