Saturday, January 05, 2008
With Nige laptopless behind the stable door, it is probably time I returned to this serious business of blogging. So here is a list of 10 things I learned over Christmas.
1)Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir is good, readable but over-rated. I think I know why.
2)Henry James's The Awkward Age cannot be read with pleasure after page 126.
3)The most perfectly satisfying joke in cinema is in A Night at the Opera. Harpo is lying asleep with a huge mallet in his right hand. The alarm clock rings. Harpo does not wake but smashes the clock with the mallet.
4)John Gapper of the FT is my new favourite journalist. Here he sinks into the Nespresso phenomenon. He has a blog called the Gapperblog. Lightness of touch has been unknown in business journalism since I left that racket more than 20 years ago.
5)Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake are the two worst actors Hollywood ever produced.
6)Barack Obama is terrifyingly smart, not least because of the way he hides it, and Hillary Clinton has all the charm of a broken speak your weight machine. If Mike Huckabee continues wearing a read sweater while playing a bass guitar we all lose.
7)Red wine is best drunk slowly in large quantities. Another Booze Cruise may soon be necessary.
8)I have not had the norovirus; if I had, I may well have finished The Awkward Age and, perhaps, embarked on Proust whose entire critical reputation is defined by the fact that he is almost always read by people when they are ill. Peter Ackroyd once assured me it was only necessary to read the first seventy pages. That I have done. They were very good.
9)Human beings are, to a rough approximation, all dreadful. Always smash the alarm. (Also in A Night at the Opera, Groucho says that Harpo has insomnia and is sleeping it off. I am that Harpo.)
10)Right wing American women are all blonde and all present Fox News.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:43 am