Wednesday, 3 February 2010

William Boyd? Surely not.

I recently finished reading William Boyd's latest novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms. It took me forever because I kept abandoning it then picking it up again. I mean, surely it couldn't be that shit all the way through to the final page. Could it? Well, no. Somehow, it actually got shittier before disappearing up its own anus with a grim squelch. I had to check that this was the same William Boyd who wrote Restless and Armadillo. Tragically, it was.

I'm not Boyd's biggest fan, but have generally found him to be fairly readable, in a can't-find-anything-else-in-Luton-Airport-Smiths-and-the-plane's-about-to-leave kind of way. He can handle whimsy and more serious themes reasonably well, and there's a level of intelligence that marks him out as a reliable if not exactly must-read author. So what the fuck happened?

Ordinary Thunderstorms starts off with a ridiculous (and seen-it-all-before) premise - innocent man witnesses murder when he goes somewhere no sensible (or even stupid) human being would even think of venturing. He then - surprise, surprise - pulls the knife out of the victim (the only person in the western world who's never watched CSI or a million other police procedurals) and dithers about informing the police for reasons so inane I can no longer recall them. He then goes into hiding - in a tent on a grassy bank alongside the Thames, mind - and becomes feral, vicious and cunning. The guy's a respected meteorologist or something. Doesn't he have any better ideas than that? The casual murder he carries out is as incongruous and silly as the fey, dopey, facile affair he conducts with an investigating policewoman.

Sorry if I've ruined it for you but, trust me, I've saved you eight quid and days of ploughing through dung wondering whether it can possibly get any stinkier. Trust me, it does. Pathetic, implausible, lazy, idiotic, cretinous, moronic...and I haven't even opened my thesaurus yet.

And, once again, I mutter and curse at the injustice of it all. Maybe Boyd's track record enables (entitles?) him to get away with this travesty of literature, but how comes I can't get a publisher when crap like this (and by people like Erica Spindler - an illiterate - James Patterson (or any one of his minions), Tony Parsons - don't start me off - and thousands of others) gets onto our shelves? I wouldn't mind, but several agents and publishers have told me my stuff is 'great' and 'hilarious' and 'commercial' - but I'm still sitting here, baby.

Spleen vented. Feeling a bit better now. Should last at least 10 minutes.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Twitter - Oh The Pointlessness

I've just joined Twitter. I have no idea why. I haven't got the time, much less the inclination, to read anyone else's dull musings, and can't begin to understand why anyone would read mine. I mean, no-one even reads this fucking blog to which I am at least able to devote some time and thought before committing it to the vacuum that is the blogosphere.

As I've now discovered, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and everything else I hold sacred is all shot to hell when people have only got 140 characters at their disposal. Obviously, my Tweety vignettes are perfect - I'm talking about everyone else, though I suspect many of them would remain incapable of explaining the purpose of a comma however much time and space they had at their disposal. (I'm in danger of becoming a grumpy old-school sod, I fear, even as I embrace modern technology)

Still, I think it's important, at my age, to try and keep up with current technological fads, irrespective of how pointless and plain idiotic they might be. So, to the zillions of you out there who already don't read this blog, here's something else for you to ignore... my Twitter address:

I've already contributed some fatuous crap to the canon and can already see how short a shelf life it's going to have for me. Read it (or don't) while you can.