Thursday, 31 January 2008

Troubled times; Jake's Thing; Pistache

Well, it's been troubled times here in the Palace of the Dolphin Throne. An entirely avoidable plumbing disaster that has soiled my record collection, ruined my wall and shorted out the power to the whole building is just one part of it. Do I have to mention the friendship in tatters or the lack of motivation at work? I thought not.

Last night I finished Jake's Thing by Kingsley Amis. Very amusing. This is the story of 60-year old Jake Richardson, an Oxford don who is trying to regain his lost libido and ventures on a "modern" (late-70s) bout of psycho-sexual therapy. I feel that these days a few pills of Viagra would have done the trick, and Amis probably felt the same, given that he displays a great deal of anger towards the medical fraternity in this book. Can we also project Jake's misogyny onto Amis? Many people have, though I personally doubt it. I wouldn't know enough about the late author to even hazard a guess, although this article titled Philip Hensher: Amis was neither a misogynist nor a homophobe argues against the proposition. This isn't a book that I'd highly recommend unless you are already an Amis fan, but from the point of view of this Amis fan, it was well worth reading.

And just when you thought I would be all Amis-ed out, I was faced with the choice on my book pile of either Martin Amis' London Fields, or Pistache by Sebastian Faulks. I chose Pistache for a bit of light-hearted humour and was faced with the first two pieces being spoofs of none other than Kingsley and Martin Amis!

Pistache is a collection of short satirical parodies of various authors, apparently inspired by The Write Stuff on BBC's Radio 4. That doesn't mean much to an uncultured Aussie, but there you go. It is probably against copyright, but I feel that anybody who loves literature would want to buy this book anyway, so here I am going to share the wonderful parody of Martin Amis:

Martin Amis sends his lad to Hogwarts

      Primped and shining in the school's idea of a uniform - to which my success in the risibly straightforward scholarship exam had condemned me - I was presented to 'Professor' McGonagall, a chestless sexagenarian with halitosis that could have downed a wing of Lancasters; then to Dumbledore, the shuffling dotard of a headmaster, whose eyes appraised me with the unhurried insolence of the career pederast.
      He entrusted me to Hermione Granger, a smug little number with a row of coloured gel pens in the pocket of her Aertex shirt, an item given pleasing heft by the twin discs of her tumid little breasts. She was, I had already been told, rumoured to give hand jobs of Stakhanovite efficiency to the gods of the Quidditch team as they showered off the stardust of their sporting triumphs, lined up in engorged single file.
      The dormitory was a row of iron beds, purchased at some Gulag boot sale; the wanking opportunities, doubtless in breach of numerous human rights, looked about as promising as those in a lock-down facility for convicted Islamic pick-pockets.
      Next from that baleful twilight emerged 'Ron' Weasley, a spavined welterweight who reeked of chav, with his fucked-up bathmat of orange frizz and his eyes full of cancelled hope. In the bed next to mine was Harry Potter, a weapons-grade geek with a thunderbolt of acne through his candidly sebaceous forehead, who told me he lived in a cupboard for fuck's sake.
      Outside, I waved goodbye to my parents with sinister, noir-ish gestures, the sculpted rhomboids of my fingernails still glistening from the manicure they had received that morning from Renska, the tragically unmagnetic Pole in Hans 'n' Feat on Ken High Street, who had more or less begged me to let her go down on my, admittedly, triangulated groin.
      'Gosh,' said little Potter. 'I hope you'll be in Gryffindor.'
      'I think not,' I said, watching as the witch McGonagall embarked on some embarrassing hokum with an oldster's rug-covering into which she periodically plunged her veiny claw.
      I had been given the low-down on the houses by one Malfoy, an enthusiastic sodomite in the second year, whose parents knew mine through some unspeakable, almost certainly adulterous, connection of tennis and 'pot-luck' suppers, for which Mrs M favoured pleated white skirts of possibly illegal brevity, granting occasional glimpses of white cotton gash that had furnished material for an entire summer of jackhammer fantasy.
      And so it was that at the end of my first day, answering wearily to the call of my name, I pulled myself up to my full four feet eleven and sauntered through the porter's lodge to Slytherin, its turbid quadrangles, its simmering ante-rooms...

Seriously, how funny is that. It reads like something straight out of The Rachel Papers. As well as the two openers, this book holds parodies of Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, Dan Brown, Lewis Carroll, Geoffrey Chaucer, Agatha Christie and many more. It is well worth checking out.

Okay that's this very long post out of the way. I realise I should probably have split it into three parts, but seriously I couldn't be fucked, and it's not like I have any readers anyway, so who am I even talking to here??

bye bye,

No comments: