Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Jimmy Saville & Elvis. Salem's Lot?

I've just been reading a Sunday Times book review by Christopher Hart on Richard Bradford's 'THE ODD COUPLE: The Curious Friendship Between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin' which details the relationship between the writer and the poet by focussing on the letters they exchanged.
Theirs was a famous literary friendship based "on a shared love of jazz, poetry and sexual confession".
There was much talk of 'young girls':

"Pubescent, but only just, was their agreed ideal: the 12-16 age group. Nowadays such feelings are classed as 'paedophilia' although perhaps we ought to revive the neglected word 'ephebophilia' (love of youth) here. It's tricky territory in today's Salem, 1692-type atmosphere admittedly. Perhaps both writers should be put on some post-mortem Jimmy Saville register along with Elvis, Edgar Allan Poe, Romeo and quite a few others."

Mmm, it's the 'perhaps' that concerns me.
Although not exactly endorsing the writers' misbehavior our reviewer does seem to be waggling a sympathetic ear and gives an amusing account of Amis's wife writing on his chest with lipstick as he lay sleeping on a beach "One Fat Englishman. I f*** anything"
Uncomfortable reading...
'Tricky territory' indeed.
Maybe it's time to change my choice of newspaper...
Or is Hart simply reminding us that, as times change, so do our attitudes to taboo subjects?
Lest we forget...


  1. You are right what an odd uncomfortable review. It does feel a bit like "well they were talented artists so that was okay then"

    "The blow in her face" advert had me falling off my chair!

  2. Seems that writers, poets and Roman Emperors (not to mention Italian Prime Ministers) can bathe in deeper water than the rest of us...
    ...and I hope that the 'sanitised tapeworms' is genuine...