Friday, 7 November 2008

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

No this is not the story of my life. But it is his;

I have always loved writing but Toby Young has above and beyond reinspired me to write. His book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People won’t pick up the Booker Prize. It is the same self indulgent, fall from grace, sniff some Cocaine, lick the Celebrities, self depreciating memoir that Augusten Borrows or Bret Easton Ellis would write. In the words of Empire Records ‘Shock Me Shock Me Shock Me with that Deviant Behaviour’.

But it is with the most amazing twist of Philosophy and Literary Education that the materialistic novel becomes brilliant, counterbalanced by an overwhelming sense of Vanity, need for Affirmation and penchant for Drinking as a form of Therapy. Throw in some Love lost and found, with the most searing dose of reality and you have your underdog hero. The man you know deserves everything he gets but you can’t help but want to love, help and ‘fix’. Young also has the Brit Wit I am so enamoured with, the Jeremy Clarkson dry humor of a Goat.

Please don’t think it is the next Oscar Wilde or Ernest Hemmingway, it is far from it, it has a hollow existence skulking around the corners of the Conde Nast offices in New York, working for Vanity Fair, trying to ‘make it’ whilst literally harassing celebrities and trying to Fuck rich New York Women. It is the life you thought you wanted to live until you saw how hollow the insides were, something like The Devil Wears Prada but I must say far better written with a much deeper understanding of Literature and general History. Somehow Young has made what should be a bimbo of a novel into a good looking Albert Einstein with perfect Tits.

I read it in a day, all 349 glorious pages of it were devoured between the hours of 7am and 6pm on my journey up to Port Douglas, the following morning I went to the local bookstore to find the sequel; The Sound of No Hands Clapping but no such luck. People forget that Port Douglas is essentially a Country Town cleverly disguised as a Resort, case in point you only pay $2.90 for a Pint and $4.50 for a Gin and Tonic at the Yacht Club.

By the end of the book it all I wanted to do was write, read more, learn more and write about everything. Not sure what everything was, Chanel maybe? Fashion definitely, I don’t see myself covering the War on Terror but I truly felt alive and inspired after reading it. Mostly because I had forgotten how much I loved writing about things, being a journalist (for a brief and poor period) and knowing shit. I’ve viewed being smart and knowledgeable as such a negative for the past few years its somewhat ridiculous.

It has been madfe into a flick with Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox and Jeff Bridges. If anyone can do Toby its Simon Pegg but I'm not sure I'm going to like the film, they generally leave so much out that it distorts the whole thing.

Anyway I read 4 Books last week, well 3 and ¾, I am 588 Pages into (Sydney Author) Steve Toltzs’ A Fraction of the Whole, which was actually Shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I re-read my beloved hand me down Chanel Biography for the millionth time and decided this book from 1979, dog eared from a lifetime of reading by my Mother and Me, may just be my most treasured possession. I also read the Biography of Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, who is better known as the Veuve (Widow) Cliquot, the lady who basically ensured Veuve Cliquot became a household name in Champagne , which also taught me a lot about Winemaking, Champagne the Region and the French Culture I hold in such esteem.

So expect some Book Reviews now that I have publicly admitted I like books, somehow I have managed to keep picking winners so it is almost my duty to share them with you and maybe even dig out some old favourites you might like.

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