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Martin Amis, Geezer-Prat, & His Unfortunate Clichés Of Britishness
Alex Niven , June 25th, 2012 14:01

With the release of cynical new novel Lionel Asbo: State Of England, argues Alex Niven, Martin Amis continues the patronising run of form that helped install the pernicious and cliché-ridden notion of 'Cool Britannia' and ultimately Boris and Dave's Big Society

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Martin Amis has a new novel out and fustian broadsheet arts reviewers are falling over themselves to wheel out his signature tagline: Martin Amis is the Mick Jagger of literature. Like most lazy, Wikipedia-sourced epithets, this one is both risible and accurate. On the one hand, Sir Mick seems like a laughable touchstone for countercultural cool (imagine the media proclaiming that Mario Balotelli is the Rod Stewart of football, or that Michael Fassbender is the Jon Bon Jovi of modern cinema). But then there's also something peculiarly apt about the parallel. Jagger and Amis are roughly the same age, after all. They're both, in their respective art forms, champions of style over substance. They're both children of the sixties who have made careers out of evoking the satanic underbelly and Dionysian debauchery of the so-called permissive society. They're both onetime vaguely subversive figures of the pop avant-garde who became reactionary old exiles as the twentieth century petered out.

Above all, Jagger and Amis make a good pairing because they're both once-talented artists who now produce work that pretty much nobody takes seriously. If Amis is a 'rock & roll' novelist, then his recent career has proven that there's no longer anything desirable about that designation. A bloated Elvis, Amis is a rockstar writer only in the most negative sense. His satirical postmodern prose – which once, in seventies novels like Dead Babies and Success, provided a deliciously dark kaleidoscope of its era – has increasingly come to resemble a late Pink Floyd album: turgid, mean-spirited, self-repetitive, a rehash of past glories. A reviewer of Amis's 2003 novel Yellow Dog memorably described it as so bad that the experience of reading it was like catching your uncle wanking in a school playground.

Amis's latest, Lionel Asbo: State of England, has been greeted with similar ridicule, pilloried right across the board for its cliché-ridden premise and its patronising working-class caricatures. By Dickens, it's true that we need more novels that tackle issues of class and inject a bit of Wire-style social critique into Brit fiction. But Amis's one-dimensional portrait of a Cobra-drinking, lottery-winning sociopath is so condescending and unsympathetic it makes Jeremy Kyle look like Ken Loach. Set in the fictional London township of 'Diston', where “nothing – and no one – is over sixty years old”, and where there are “six children per couple – or per single mother”, Lionel Asbo is a cynical, unearned, wildly unrealistic paragon of upper-middle-class snobbery, the like of which probably hasn't been seen as credible since the 1930s.

Or has it? Actually, Amis has been banging away at this coalface for decades now. Lionel Asbo revisits the territory of Money and London Fields, the novels that cemented his reputation in the 1980s, both of which were notable for their depictions of working-class Londoners as the savagely illiterate inhabitants of a dystopian banlieue of post-Imperial Britain at the supposed nadir of its decline. But while Lionel Asbo is being viewed as the final nail in a once decent writer's coffin, antecedent works like Money and London Fields were widely popular and influential a quarter of a century ago, to the point that they had a profound impact on popular culture and initiated an invidious myth of cartoon Britishness that we haven't really managed to shake off since.

If it's true that writers pre-empt and to a certain extent create the world we live in, then Amis has a lot of answering to do. As Britain transitioned from the idealism and optimism of the sixties and early seventies into the neo-Victorian depression of the Thatcher years, Amis put a marker on the zeitgeist with his hyperreal, Baudelaire-meets-Nabokov portraits of the late-capitalist cityscape. The media dubbed this peculiar amalgam of irony and gothic morbidity 'the new unpleasantness'. The problem was that unpleasantness and cynicism then proceeded to become the default attitude of a liberal establishment growing tough and mean in the years of aggressive privatisation and New Right hegemony. For that floating metropolitan cohort that in other, better countries is called the intelligentsia, the sort of campy misogyny and tongue-in-cheek jingoism Amis so cleverly 'satirised' in novels like London Fields became a fashionable alternative to the leftist and modernist grand narratives apparently being discredited in an era of perestroika and postmodern relativism.

One especially enthusiastic Amis acolyte during the long reign of Thatcher and Major was Damon Albarn. Blur's supremely self-involved frontman claimed that London Fields 'saved him' during a fractious tour of America in 1992. He instantly set about dreaming up a concept album that would import Amisian caricature into a British pop scene seeking to move on from the ornery, activist-dominated climate of eighties indie. With Keith Talent, the geezerish protagonist of London Fields, acting as his role-model (“he was so English I wanted to be him”), Albarn created an elaborate pastiche of working-class Englishness that became instantly and emphatically successful. Greyhound racing, jubilees, bank holidays, package holidays, Essex suburbia, cheeky laddishness, gratuitous winking, tokenistic shouts of 'oi!': everything that seemed cheap and cartoon-like about the British proletariat was subject to Albarn's stereotyping zeal. Parklife was the immediate result, and Britpop was the epoch-straddling monster spawned by this Amis-indebted musical project.

Before you could mutter an ironic 'apples and pears', a sort of pseudo-populist, tabloid reduction of demotic Britishness had become the mode du jour. In the nineties, instead of a working-class resurgence, we got a nightmare collage of Carry On films and smutty seaside postcards; in place of the affirmative reaction to Thatcherism that rave and bands like the Stone Roses and Manic Street Preachers had promised, a pitilessly tacky vision of the masses dreamt up by a bored, newly avaricious liberal bourgeoisie came to occupy centre stage. Along the way, few people stopped to ask where this turn toward parochialism and class minstrelsy had come from: in the heady economic boom-time of the mid-nineties, it was easy to pretend this day-glo populism was a harbinger of the spontaneous upswell of radicalism people had been yearning for since 1979. In reality it was a fancy dress party for a middle-class whose snobbery was being indulged by Blairism and its quiet project of wealth redistribution to the rich.

Nineties and noughties culture was dominated by this combination of comic-book elegant slumming underpinned by cynical self-interest and harsh economic realism: in other words, exactly the sort of stance that had earned Martin Amis critical praise and copious royalties at the start of the period. Damien Hirst, with his cheekily farcical pop-art games and unabashed commercialism, might have sprung straight out of Money or London Fields; similarly it was and remains difficult to work out whether novelist Will Self is in fact a real person, or one of Amis's more perversely parodic creations. From Jamie Oliver's overcooked mockney persona, to Pete Doherty's ostentatious referencing of Steptoe & Son and 'the good ship Albion', to Little Britain's now widely discredited pantomime of blackface and inverted nationalism, burlesqued Britishness became the mainstream cultural norm. Against this backdrop, little room was left for the possibility that some people living in the small towns of the north and the council estates of Bristol might actually be intelligent, fully-rounded human beings capable of transcending the tabloid caricatures doled out to them by their Guardian Guide-reading friends in the liberal commentariat.   

In the last couple of years this Cool Britannia mythos, which at least liked to claim that it was vaguely alternative and in some sense progressive, has undergone a subtle but significant metamorphosis into Boris and Dave's Big Society English Nationalist Jubilee Olympiad. When we look back at how the whole thing started, we probably shouldn't be too surprised that certain members of Blur occupy a central position in Cameron's Green Tory zeitgeist, or that the director of Trainspotting is just about to engineer a surreal English neo-pastoral Olympics opening ceremony for which the phrase 'postmodern irony' is only just barely adequate. But hopefully the appearance of Lionel Asbo and its ludicrous bigotry will go some way toward exposing the absurdity of the condescending, Union-Jack-and-Pukka Pies worldview for what it really is. The writer who helped to initiate the Englishness-by-numbers of Britpop phoneyism back in the eighties has become a parody of himself with his latest novel. Maybe this is a sign that the time of the Keith Talents and the Damien Hirsts and the Charmless Men is over, and a cue for us to replace snide sarcasm and top-down nastiness with bottom-up optimism. The bully-boys of the neoliberal establishment are running out of ideas; let's bury them and initiate a new kind of art that sees ordinary men and women as a source of hope rather than a subject fit only for satire. 

Em
Jun 25, 2012 11:09am

Marvellous.

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tenbenson
Jun 25, 2012 11:17am

never actually read any amis, just had a sense that he was vaguely "important". sounds unpleasant.

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Kevin
Jun 25, 2012 11:59am

Excellent!

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Tim
Jun 25, 2012 12:09pm

It's amazing to me how the English seem to over analyze Blur. As an American I see them a good pop band with some fun albums and a cool back story. Coxon makes interesting sounds and Albarn is is a talented songwriter. I won't claim to completely understand Nivens loathing of these guys, but surely the fact that a pop band can be blamed for the downfall of liberal society says more about the society that buys their records and politics than the band itself, right?

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str8_bro
Jun 25, 2012 12:35pm

what? i agree that amis over the last decade has become an old bore with dodgy views. but if you actually paid attention to money or london fields you'd see them as very sharp and precient satires of the rat-trap of neoliberal society. everybody, including the rich and privileged are grotesque caricatures. that's the *point*. britain has always at its heart had a dark, brutal side (as a self proclaimed leftist you should know this) should writers bury their head in the sand and ignore that? greed and avarice affect rich and poor alike, making all working class characters well-read paragons of virtue is just patronising bullshit.

and all this from the guy who thinks the stone roses were "radical" and not trad-indie dullards.

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Els
Jun 25, 2012 1:04pm

Hmm. I do love 'London Fields', 'Money' and 'the Rachel Papers', but also have to agree that this piece is absolutely wonderful. Had never known about Albarn's thing for Keith Talent, but the way it's written about here makes it pretty fascinating & skewers the ethos behind it excellently. Great writing.

Having said, that, str8_bro does make a good point about Amis satirizing the rich & privileged too, though. Because he does, especially in 'Money'. I'd just agree that he (Amis, not str8_bro) has gone seriously haywire over the past decade or so and seems to have gained some pretty repugnant perspectives. maybe complacency and myopia have truly overtaken him...

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Lee Arizuno
Jun 25, 2012 2:04pm

Excellent piece, and I think you’re right about the political currents that shape this stuff (though not about the reciprocity on that front). The thing with pop stars is, they're expected to be a bit daft – whereas Amis has long been presented as an all-round Clever Chap who's qualified to pronounce on the state of the nation, for reasons no one seems able to articulate. Apparently we're supposed to take him seriously but also allow him, in his guise as a 'comic novelist', to write without rigour or responsibility. That's a confused proposition. I think he can work a sentence, but not an idea; so you're left with a sort of short-circuited version of satire that lacks a real subject.

One little nitpick: I was a teenage Manics fan, and I'd stop well short of calling their response to Thatcherism 'affirmative'. They (understandably) assumed defeat from day one, and were nihilistic and elegiac in turn. While they did lead positively by example in some ways – I didn't read books until I got into them – all the depression, alcoholism, self-mutilation, anhedonic consumerism and anorexia, and the songs about suicide, the death sentence, politically correct ‘liberals’, misanthropic egomania and the holocaust didn't exactly spell out 'hope'.

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Kitsune
Jun 25, 2012 2:17pm

I walked past Will Self once. He was drunk.

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Marcos
Jun 25, 2012 2:26pm

In reply to Tim:

Hey Tim, I don't think it is being suggested that Blur is in any way responsible for the decline of British society, but it is easy to associate them with the times. A suitable soundtrack to the days of New Labour's 'cocaine socialism'.

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Marcos
Jun 25, 2012 2:27pm

Great article!

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Arthur Rambo
Jun 25, 2012 4:38pm

Martin Amis, what a fucking cunt.

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Paul Rayson
Jun 25, 2012 4:46pm

This is everything a comment piece should be. Thanks so much.

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Simn
Jun 25, 2012 5:05pm

Most of the 'fustian broadsheet arts reviewers' ('fustian'? Pretentious, moi?) have in fact largely rubbished Amis' book, rather than going on about Jagger or whatever. I'd be surprised if he sells many copies of this at all. Where I can't agree with this piece is the implication that Amis, or any other writer, has no business writing books that parody or traduce the urban working class. You can disagree with him, sure, but writers don't have to conform to a set of accepted attitudes. If he thinks the working classes are horrible and depraved, he can say so. I also think the writer of this piece seriously over-estimates the impact of Amis' views in the 90s. He reflected prevalent ideas, he didn't create them.

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Paul Rayson
Jun 25, 2012 5:11pm

This article deserves to generate immense interest, and I hope it does. I think you could go into more detail in fact on the points that Dorian marks out in the Facebook comments. (I think there's plenty to justify your reading of Blur and equally that it's possible further to fill in the dots between Hirst, so-called liberals - and even Will Self!

(Lee, a nitpick but the article doesn't exactly say that the response of the Manics to Thatcherism was positive. It says bands like the Manics seemed to be precursors to that kind of positivity. (No, I personally wouldn't agree with that either.))

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Paul Rayson
Jun 25, 2012 5:21pm

Bloody hell, I'm here again. Simn and that: the article points out that in essence everybody has slammed the book.

(One more nitpick: I missed a closing parenthesis in my last comment. Here's one extra to make up for it:)) (Here's some more to say as an aside I'm sorry that looks like a deformed and grotesquely overenthusiastic smiley.)

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Eldritch
Jun 25, 2012 5:55pm

How about reading the novel? Any novel?

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Bobby L
Jun 25, 2012 6:25pm

In reply to Eldritch:

Is that your impression of the novel's miserable attempt at a superior tone? I did bloody read it, all of it, and for pleasure at any rate I seriously advise against trying it.

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OJ
Jun 25, 2012 6:41pm

Wonderful stuff, hitting all the right targets (bar Self). Hirst, a monstrous human being, is straight from the pages of Amis. Albarn is a flat-out cunt, albeit very talented. The role of the miserable, mean-spirited Guardian Guide should not be understated. Well played Alex, and thank fuck for The Quietus!

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Simon
Jun 25, 2012 7:37pm

In reply to Paul Rayson:

Why 'so-called' liberals? Hirst takes money from rich people - good luck to him. What's Will Self done wrong?

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Paul Rayson
Jun 25, 2012 10:03pm

In reply to Simon:

I didn't mean to make it look as if I were calling Hirst and Self so-called liberals.
I fundamentally don't think of them as liberals. Well, Will has been something of a capital-L Liberal. OK, he is the most interesting, and it'd take quite a bit to explain my position. I certainly don't think of Hirst as liberal in plenty of regards anyway.
Have a look at this Will Self performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT1BVPuPTIc
Perhaps you won't see a problem with it, but in parts to me it's symptomatic of some of the more niggling aspects of his character at least. "This whole imbroglio is epiphenomonal"?! For fuck's sake! Fair play, he goes on to paraphrase himself and make an alright point in that immediate instance but too often to me he seems less concerned than he should be about stretching for the simpler word. I have a problem with his self-promoting argumentative angles ("bring back National Service" especially). I dunno. I see the other side of it. What I've written here is convoluted. If I had more time, I'd do my best to iron out that. I don't mean to sound like a studied Luddite or Pol Pot type, either. I understand the importance of not bowing too much, dumbing down as the cliche goes. I just prefer it when language is about communication rather than exclusion. Good God. I haven't even tied him to the world of Amis. I've only done niggles so far. I just look fussy. Perhaps that's all it is. Plus, I must say there's plenty about Self that I like. Anyhoo, I don't want it to look like I'm trying to hijack Niven's piece more than it already does, which is loads, nor spend bags of time on this. If you want to look at Hirst as somebody who takes money from the rich, then I'd say the problem I have is that he keeps it. He has millions and millions and millions. He is the rich. But you say, "good luck to him". I won't change your mind. Perhaps I'll write my own post, but enough here anyway.

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Johnny Nothing
Jun 25, 2012 10:13pm

I've persevered with Amis for God only knows what reason - curiosity I suppose - as I've always found his prose to be laboured, ugly and often just plain silly. Which leaves me wide open but it's my honest opinion.

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Red_Dog
Jun 25, 2012 10:38pm

In reply to Johnny Nothing:

Well you're a better man than I Mr Nothing - The Information was the first novel I ever gave up reading, having been hugely alienated by Amis' apparent belief that his narrow West London experience constituted everything that need ever be said about all of England. That he has degenerated from that position, seemingly using

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Red_Dog
Jun 25, 2012 10:43pm

In reply to Johnny Nothing:

Well you're a better man than I Mr Nothing - The Information was the first novel I ever gave up reading, having been hugely alienated by Amis' apparent belief that his narrow West London experience constituted everything that need ever be said about all of England. That he has degenerated from that position, seemingly using Hampstead dinner parties and the Daily Mail's website as his sole methods of research on this new 'state of the nation', doesn't surprise me, and only serves to mark him as the vicious old hack he always was...

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Johnny Nothing
Jun 25, 2012 10:57pm

In reply to Red_Dog:

The context to that being: that you are (as I recall) firmly ensconced in Yorkshire and somewhat wary of us southern softies.

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Fielding Melish
Jun 26, 2012 12:11am

Well, I'm an American, and a one-time devout reader of Amis's novels, so it's hard for me to fully appreciate what so many, including the author of the piece, are getting on about in terms of Amis's presentation of England, then or now. I'm too far from it to be able to nod in agreement or shake my head vigorously in the negative, but I will say that, what I can understand makes sense to me. I think 'London Fields' was the last book of his that didn't feel dragged down in the muck of anger or resentment, although I suppose one could argue that, in some ways, the earlier ones were, too. But, they were funnier, so I could more easily digest the rhetoric. I gave the last few books he wrote a glance, but none held my interest, and a couple ('Yellow Dog' in particular )were almost like parodies of an 'Amis-Type'. I wonder if it's all just an affliction of getting older, stodgier, etc. The fact that one of his best friends was Christopher Hitchens, a man seemingly consumed by misanthropic loathings, may indicate something. Or it may not.
I did see the other day that Mr. Amis has packed up and moved to Brooklyn. Perhaps his next novel will detail that aging ex-pat and his reaction to a throng of self-entitled, bearded young men and the miserable bands they all start.

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Nieves
Jun 26, 2012 12:40am

Fantastic article. He is a cultural abcess I just didn't realise how far the inflammation had spread.

I agree about Self but I think he deserves a separate essay to fully unpack his insidious effects. The best thing he did was smack on Tony Blair's plane- since then he has been leeching blood from the young through his fantastically long fingers.

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Apop
Jun 26, 2012 4:03am

In reply to Fielding Melish:

"I did see the other day that Mr. Amis has packed up and moved to Brooklyn. Perhaps his next novel will detail that aging ex-pat and his reaction to a throng of self-entitled, bearded young men and the miserable bands they all start."

Bless you, sir. I'm far too old to start a band but I'm thinking about a proper punk band which just makes a horribly horrific racket (yes, I used an iteration of horrible twice 'cos it is badly needed) as an answer to all the earnestness, beards and acoustic guitars.

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Red_Dog
Jun 26, 2012 4:54am

In reply to Johnny Nothing:

I should point out I tried and failed to read The Information whilst I was living in London, having been struck by how Mr Amis couldn't even give a good account of that city, let alone the rest of the country. Indeed, having loved London Fields when younger and living in suburban Dorset, I had to reappraise my view on the veracity of Amis' take on working class East London when I lived in the locale myself, and found him severely lacking.

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The Dolt
Jun 26, 2012 9:21am

This is a trifle vicious but all the better for it. Amis, Self and Albarn are all lazy thinkers, whatever their dubious merits as artists. And I certainly agree that cartoon Britishness, along with self-loathing, has been destructive, not to mention playing into the hands of the latest crop of pink-faced smarmy pseudo-toffs at the top of the pile.

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Havishambler
Jun 26, 2012 10:11am

That 'uncle wanking in a school playground' line was penned by Tibor Fischer, one-time compatriot of Mr. Self in the 93' Granta Best Young Novelists bundle. Fischer trades in a similar line of blokey comic grotesquery (though funnier and less aggresively verbose) but where Self has, in the inervening years, broadened out his repetoire to include panel shows and lots of bloody walking, Fischer has stuck with books and remains fiercely under-rated. That's pretty much all I have to add, though I was taught by Amis for a time. Dude knows how to work an anecdote.

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Simon
Jun 26, 2012 11:39am

I find myself wondering if the critics who find Parklife so loathsome have ever really listened to it. The album features several songs about the emptiness of middle-class existence (End Of The Century, Trouble in The Message Centre, London Loves, Tracey Jacks) as well as songs about and some quasi- psychadelic concept pieces (Far Out, This Is A Low). The only two songs that veer towards caricature are Bank Holiday and Magic America - both minor compositions. Girls & Boys is misunderstood. The lyric has a Morrissey-esque ambivalence about the drunken antics of lairy kids captured at the guilty point where disgust and envy become mixed-up. In other words a highly honest version of how the educated middle classes secretly think. As for Parklife the song take away Phil Daniels narration and it could just as easily be the work of The Fall. I see it as a link between Ian Dury and Mark E.Smith.
This feels like the umpteenth tirade taking Britpop to task for the end of civilisation. Dare I ask if we can have an article adressing the stereotypes of black people that the sacred cow of gangsta rap has fed into a generation?

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Matt Foster
Jun 26, 2012 12:25pm

Not so sure re: Albarn. The Great Escape spent the majority of its time pillorying middle-class Mondeo-man managers above anyone else.

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George Borges
Jun 26, 2012 12:54pm

In reply to Simon :

I disagree. There's quite an obvious neoliberal genealogy shared by Amis, Self, and Blur alike, that - via th YBAs - goes back to the Saatchi brothers and Thatcher. Also, this sort of nonsense that people should be 'free' to criticise the working class for being 'lazy' is the sort of facile Third Way rhetoric that enables politicians to demand benefit cuts with only cartoon caricatures of this as evidnce. Freedom of speech does not guarentee that its content will be or accurate or true.

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Mike Morris
Jun 26, 2012 1:48pm

I gave up on this two-thirds of the way through--it's incredibly badly written, which is ironic.I don't think "Asbo" is intended to be all that serious. New readers should start with The Pregnant Widow, which is by far the best thing he's written in 20 years. Even at his worst, he's interesting....

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Joe K
Jun 26, 2012 2:48pm

Great stuff, Alex. As I've said previously, I can't agree entirely with what you say about Blur - most of Parklife is pitched between JG Ballard and perhaps Graham Greene in terms of its literary touchstones, even if Albarn was an avowed Amis fan - but this is a step towards MA getting the public bollocking he deserves.

Self is an odd one. I tend to disregard his fiction, which seems full of set-piece transgression and (particularly recently) odd half-inchings of tropes done better by sci-fi and fantasy authors. As a critic, though, I'm glad he's in the mainstream - he does fight the good fight against deferential Creative Writing naturalism, and gives a platform for a number of authors who deserve greater recognition. His intro to Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker is fantastic and should be anthologised in all CW coursebooks...

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Simon E
Jun 26, 2012 4:18pm

In reply to Paul Rayson:

Thanks for such a lengthy reply, and apologies for not acknowledging it earlier. I guess this isn't the place to get into a digression, but I think my reaction was to the use of 'liberal' by many on this thread as a derogatory term. I'm all in favour of 'liberalism', which to me means tolerance, moderate politics, recognition of individual freedoms, avoidance of conflict - all rather dull, but our salvation from the extremes at both ends of politics.
As for Damian Hirst's wealth, I assume (naively?) that a fair amount goes to the treasury through his taxes, so he doesn't keep it all to spend on drugs or gold Mercs or whatever.
Anyway, thanks for the reply!

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Simon E
Jun 26, 2012 4:20pm

In reply to Simon E:

Reply to self (not Self) - why did I put an exclamation mark at the end of my post? Now I look like a moron.

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Ssslip
Jun 26, 2012 6:35pm

If you think that Amis and Albarn are spokespeople for the neoliberal establishment I suggest you actually read their words. It is possible to satirize and exalt the same group of people (ie Blur's simultaneous condemnation and glorification of empty modern life). You're using Albarn and Amis to attack something that you erroneously associate them with, when they're probably as opposed to the neoliberal bullyboys as well. Or maybe you just don't understand satire, or maybe you're a humourless leftie who get offended when the lower classes are needled in the same way the upperclass is.

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Bobby L
Jun 26, 2012 9:07pm

In reply to Ssslip:

Yes, many of the arguments here are critical of neoliberalism's complacency from a more leftwing point of view, and from that perspective you've just reinforced a lot of arguments against Amis and Albarn. Cheers.

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Ssslip
Jun 27, 2012 12:28am

In reply to Bobby L:

Bobby L, I don't see how I reinforced any argument against Amis and Albarn. Also, I think both of them would rightly describe neoliberalism as something more nefarious than "complacent." I think that Alex, and seemingly many other people misunderstand Albarn and Amis' work and associate them with cultural trends that neither, in their work, seem to support. It seems to me that much of the criticism is the result of their position in British culture.

Also, it is possible to be a leftie and appreciate satire of any group or behaviour, so long as the satire is strong. And with Albarn and Amis, it most often is.

ps If anyone wants "art that sees ordinary men and women as a source of hope" there's always U2...though I'm sure many here would scoff at that.

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Kelly
Jul 1, 2012 8:48pm

In reply to Ssslip:

I reckon this is a great piece of criticism. Bravo!

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Rob F
Jul 18, 2012 4:47pm

I know what you're saying here, "Nineties and noughties culture was dominated by this combination of comic-book elegant slumming underpinned by cynical self-interest and harsh economic realism"
But it reminded me that this was noted pretty well in one of the biggest tunes from the time,
"But still you'll never get it right,
cos when you're laid in bed at night,
watching roaches climb the wall,
if you call your Dad he could stop it all."
CHORUS! :)

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