Tuesday, 25 March 2014

'Martin Amis's England'

I've written in praise of Amis's Money and London Fields, in particular, and those novels did seem to sum up much that was going on in Britain when they were published, so it was shocking to watch Amis on BBC 4 sounding utterly out of touch, describing an England that hasn't existed since the death of Princes Diana. He looked and sounded like someone parodied by Paul Whitehouse and struck a note that suggested that he had stopped thinking actively some time ago. The lowest point (but the whole thing was an extended low point) was when he declared that English people binge drink because of the loss of Empire.  This was accompanied by ancient footage of English youth frolicking in the streets: those youths are by now middle-aged, but even for them the Empire might have been something that Kenneth Wolstenholme had elegised in black and white - 'They think it's all over' - except even older and more irrelevant.