Posts From Author: howard austen

The Ink Runs Dry

Borgesian understatement, Nixonian analysis, Putinian philosophy, and a rediscovered Kodak disc camera. The ink, the wine, and the laughs were all flowing at Tuesday’s Seriously Entertaining show as another smashing line-up of writing talent mused aloud on the creative process and the terror that one day the ink might just dry up altogether. Amanda Vaill was first in the spotlight with a tale from her new book, Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). When war broke out, the writers who answered the call to arms were all generally afraid that “their ink was running dry”, not least Ernest Hemingway, one of the stars of Hotel Florida, whose writing career in the mid-1930s was far from soaring. “But those who were the new face, the new day,” said Vaill, “were the photographers, the film-makers.” Most famous amongst them were Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, whose philosophy was summed up by Capa’s maxim, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Capa and Taro are perhaps best known for the image of the “Falling Soldier”, which Vaill contends was a staged shoot gone fatally wrong. Whatever the circumstances, it made their name, […]
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The Politics of Sexual Identity: In Bed With Gore Vidal by Tim Teeman

To create categories is the enslavement of the categorized because the aim of every state is total control over the people who live in it. What better way is there than to categorize according to sex, about which people have so many hang-ups? — Gore Vidal This week I spoke to Tim Teeman about his book In Bed With Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master (Magnus Books, 2013). Gore Vidal was born in 1925, made his name as a novelist in his early twenties, expanded his repertoire to encompass stage and screen, ran for Congress in the Hudson Valley (1960) and California (1982), and made countless friends and enemies in a long life that ended at the age of 86 in 2012. He’s most widely admired as an essayist (start with Selected Essays) and remembered fondly by those with a taste for the showbiz death-match as one of the heavyweights of talk-show controversy. When Vidal died he left behind him a whole deck of rumours and conflicting testimonies. Much of his work is about sex and sexuality, yet his attitudes towards gay liberation and his own sexuality were full of contradictions. This tension is the starting-point […]
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