Blog – a work in progess

REACHER SAID NOTHING: LEE CHILD AND THE MAKING OF ‘MAKE ME’ (extract)

55. ALLEGORY This really happened. But it’s sort of an allegory of what Lee feels about editing. It was when he was living in the apartment downtown, the one that looked out on the Empire State Building, the one that made me think of a cartoon with Clark Kent at a window in Metropolis. He was going away for a week or two and he wouldn’t really need his housemaid to clean the house while he was gone. On the other hand, he didn’t want to put her out of a job either. She needed the money. So he said, ‘Why don’t you do the stuff you don’t normally do? Concentrate on cleaning up the paintwork.’ He had in mind …

LEE CHILD’S FINAL WORD – SEPTEMBER 2015

‘It [MAKE ME] came out good. I keep wondering – was there a cause and effect?’ ‘You mean, with having me around keeping an eye on you.’ ‘Did it make a difference?’ ‘Well, the only couple of times I suggested anything you went in the opposite direction. Vince is a bit like that.’ ‘Vince?’ ‘Vince the dog. Mr Vince.’ He was Joel’s dog, I took him to the dog park when Joel was out of town. ‘You know, perverse, stubborn.’ ‘You probably stopped me goofing off all the time.’ ‘There’s that last sentence, for example. Look at it.’ I flipped open the last page. He had just given me a copy of Make Me. The book itself, the hardcover, freshly …

YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS, BUT…’

I didn’t have to choose the waffle. Could have been pancakes. Or tacos, with extra potatoes on the side. It could have been banana waffle, but I went and chose the strawberry waffle. It just felt like a strawberry waffle kind of day. Lydia was having the tacos. The waitress delivered our order. The waffle was punctuated by swirls of whipped cream. And, as per the menu, laden with slices of strawberry. I had to sit back and admire. It was a thing of beauty. Somehow I felt I had to take my phone out to take a picture. ‘I have a dog called Waffle,’ I said. ‘Really?’ said Lydia. ‘That’s a nice name for a dog.’ We were sitting …

Japanese TV

The “Binary Praxis” lecture series Including the legendary ‘Becksistentialism’. Link COMING SOON

Once upon a time in Essex

Andy Martin teaches French philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Growing up in Essex inspired him to write about surfing, Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, Napoleon Bonaparte—in short, anything other than Essex. Until now. He is currently writing “Nausea in New York,” recording the secret war between existentialists and the FBI. How do you get Geoff Russell, Johnny Herne, my twin brother and me on a single bike? Easy! My brother on the rear, Geoff on the crossbar, me pedalling and Johnny sitting up in front, on the handlebars. Which was a bit unfortunate for him. Not so much on account of the brake dropping off half way down Avalon Road—about a 1 in 5 gradient—when we had …

Against happiness: Why we need a philosophy of failure

We are now suffering the Hawaiianisation of everywhere by Andy Martin / August 1, 2014 View Article >> In Hawaii, people are expected to be too happy. Is Britain going the same way? While in Hawaii on a quest for the perfect wave, I once bumped into a psychiatrist who asked me where I came from. She gave a sigh of respect at my answer. “England!” she said, in a dreamy kind of way. “You are so lucky!” How so, I asked, far more in love with Hawaii. “Because in England you can be miserable and nobody minds. They expect you to be miserable over there.” It turned out that she was a specialist in depression. I said, “But we’re …

Student life: Real not royal at Cambridge

Many A level students still look on Cambridge as remote and unattainable, but you don’t have to be a toff or an Isaac Newton to apply, says Dr Andy Martin Article >> If Disney were making the movie, it would be about princes and supermodels, but the reality of studying at the University of Cambridge is nothing like that. Rather like Tom Stoppard’s play, I think we need to put the spotlight more on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern than Hamlet. For every Lily Cole or Duke of Cambridge, there are plenty of other students here, each of them in their different ways exceptional and talented, but none of them with either silver spoon or celebrity status. >> Poor schoolchildren reluctant to …