I thought Dame Stella Rimington makes a great addition to any competitively middle-class literary event celebrating payment in prizes to millionaire writers winning cheques in the tens of thousands, and am happy she caused so much offense to so many of the intellegensia at home in the mother tongue. I loved the spectacle of embaressment and awkwardness.
It was even better than watching Kevin MacCloud speaking the only middle-class minimalist reality-as-entertainment spectacle this showbiz-failure tolerates viewing as a participatory critic. Because it can be taken or left. MacCloud's aristocratic phoniness mixing with married property speculators moving to another realm of domestic bliss. Love it. The practicality and use of defined curves in finely drawn light constructing a picture in space. The effortlessly pompus sort of commentary Kevin McLoud - never Kev you notice - blithely insults us with.
On a journey as a regular viewer of this jolly decent fellow Kevin, talking airy fairy twaddle to superior homeowners and the odd deserving human being, one recognizes his faux and frothy literary equivalent as a darling luvvie literary journalist, editor and judge-at-large flashing about on trains a lot, who is familiar with airports and rallying public opinion around his or her employer's political line.
Read their seriously considerate and intelligent take on why a snobbish literary rag fakes the ethos it does. As a conduit through which public opinion is channelled to agree with stuck-up editorial voices, explaining how a decision is arrived at. Why deserving millionaire writer A, B, C, D, E, F etc, agree they are the best serious lovers of literary delivery and debate. To disagree with this premise more readably is offensive and a serious no-no. Isn't it?
I judged the Booker live tv coverage last year. In truth, stumbled across it cable surfing. I was happy to see a successful Guardian art editor there. Claire Armistead, whose thumbnail-face and prominent close-ups, in photo-headers of the blogs I'd read of hers, reports her judging of literary events, and the decision processes experienced, explaining to us as the judge and intimately involved with others, whose opinions we've read and consistently disagree with: How, why, when and what is written about.
The graduina Art editor did great &, don't laugh - important work we the world need to be reminded of in her role as a very good judge in the art world. Not only as a boss to her colleagues, but as a responsible person promoting a social network section on the art page, messaging in a national-global forum, polite, meaningful words.
In last year's pre-announcement; Michael Portillo, Claire Armistead and a forgettable other judge hogging the number two spot in a live Booker punditry competition impossible to avoid judging. Not as a heavy user of the Guardian forums and deeply committed lover of contemporary art, but as viewer and critic of a static, intellectual spectacle. Clear third in the pecking order of that trio of literary professionals and cultural ambassadors for whatever channel employs them, draguina Armistead came.
It was a straight fight between two professional commentators at this event, comprehensively overshadowed by Portillo. Both were amazing and marvelous and wonderful and fabulously well-drawn, achingly exquisite all round, and because, how could it be not - this close to actual millionaire storytellers awarding themselves tens of grands, at the in your face event celebrating a cheque for tens of thousands of pounds to immensley deserving fictions worth every single cent bcuz of the one continually repeated message. In your face. That's it.
The lowest form of failure in writerly showbiz us pundits talking and not doing it at the Julian Barnes level. We all deserve it we all know that. C'mon, I mean, you know... no, no, of course the debut of Dirk Remington is up there, it's just that.. no, no, of course the World Is Also Ours by Den Foclu is brilliant and marvelous and everything else, and yes, yes there is a quality of deep, dark fluffiness at the heart of that book my four year old son still wakes me up in the middle of the night to ask mummy, mummy about... no, God no, Jonathan Negamanti's portrayal of fourteenth century Doncaster is heartbreakingly well realised... no, sorry, yes of course whatsiname won last year an overdue consolation from the judges (they know who they are), for not spotting the obvious brilliance in the earlier books that prove he 'won' it anyway, without even being on long or shortlist. The contemporary novel posterity decided clearly superior to a predictably smug git winning most years.