Eric Idle OnlineMy Life

January Reading

By , February 3, 2018 5:26 pm

January

IQ                                                                               Joe Ide

A brilliant new writer.   Please enjoy this almost perfect First Novel.  I found it at Vromans in Pasadena.  A local LA thriller with a brilliant protagonist and perfect foil.  Such mature writing and such accomplished story telling is very rare.  It’s delightful.

A Man’s Head                                                           Georges Simenon

Another brilliant read for the plane.

The Old Man                                                             Thomas Perry

Thank heaven I threw this into my packing at the last minute.   I read it last year but it had me gripped again.  That is the great advantage of age.  You can immediately re-read books!  It’s really fine and wonderful.  He writes so well and is so consistent.  Thrilling.

Munich                                                                       Robert Harris

This is the second time I bought this book and took it away with me and the second time I abandoned it after a few chapters.  Are there two Robert Harris’s?  Some of his books I just adore and others I just cannot get into.   As Al Read said “Is it me, or can you smell gas?”    Must be me.

Striking Back                                                            Aaron J. Klein

I brought two books away with me about Munich, this one about the horrendous 1972 Olympic Massacre “and Israel’s Deadly Response.”   I love books about the Mossad.  This foul attack led to reprisals and I should bloody hope so.   What stunned me was that the Germans did not immediately halt the Olympic Games when the hostages were taken.   I could not believe that.  Also they made a terrible mess of the security arrangements for the athletes even after concerns were broached, and the rescue attempt, well the keystone cops could have done better.  Sadly the Israelis totally misunderstood just how incompetent the Bavarian authorities were and how in their system West Germany was not allowed to intrude.   So a deadly farce was played out on television with deadly results and the resulting Bavarian incompetence completely hushed up.  The resulting revenge was slow but deadly.

Power House                                                              Aaron J. Klein

The story of CAA, the little Californian Talent Agent that could.  I enjoyed ten per cent of it.   Kidding.   It’s a fascinating story, if not always fascinating, of how five agents broke away from William Morris to create their own Agency, poaching clients and luring others, mainly by working their butts off.  Of course Success leads to its own problems.   All Power corrupts is not just a tendency.   It is a rule.  Here we see what happens when Ovitz becomes the biggest and most powerful man in Hollywood.  I loved reading about the adorable and wonderful and hilarious Bill Haber, who would go on to such great things as producing Spamalot!  Also Stan Meyer is a wonderful chap.

 

The Man Who Invented Christmas                        Les Standiford

The story of Dickens writing, editing and creating (in effect Self Publishing) A Christmas Carol, his short but brilliant novella, which sold out immediately before Christmas 1843, saving his bacon and his turkey.  The recent film itself was fairly clumsy but then worked magnificently, almost like the book of a musical, because it is so wonderfully sentimental and moral and based on a genius book.  And it had Christopher Plummer as Scrooge.

The Old Man Dies                                                     Georges Simenon

A non Maigret about the death of a Parisian restaurant owner and the three sons.  The usual chaos and greed and infighting in the family that death seems to foster.   Beautifully written.  But no crime…

Fire and Fury                                                            Michael Wollf

Inside the Trump White House.  Such chaos, such court rivalries, such incompetence, laziness, arrogance and greed has not been seen since the Borgias.  A Kakocracy, a Cleptocracy, a Nepocracy… Michael Wollf sat on a chair in the West Wing and recorded it all.  You couldn’t have made it up.  Seems that Bannon made his move based on this book coming out. His own run for power.  A miscalculated play.  One thing this bald money laundering mobster knows is how to fight back.  “Where is my Roy Cohn?” he shouted recently like a Shakespearian villain.  (Enter from Hell a Ghost in chains.)

Great stories of infighting between the Javanka’s as he calls them, Bannon and Rince Previus.  But this is truly a Shite House, where they are all live in fear of the next Tweet, the next firing, even lining up to escape.  Where will it all end?   Will America ever become Great again?   Fingers crossed.  Read on.

The Man Who Owns The News                              Michael Wollf.

I so enjoyed the style of Michael Wollf I went back and downloaded a previous book on Rupert Murdoch.  Again he is fair.  No one could say this was a hatchet job, however the growth of the Ailes/Murdoch/ Fox News World is intensely depressing.  His newspaper world and attempts to own the Wall Street Journal, do paint him as a man vitally involved and in love with newspapers.  Also the growth of his love for power.  Which as we know corrupts and which led in his case to a monstrous control over politics.   He is not altogether dislikeable, but his dynasty is held together by his will alone.  It will crumble.

It’s Even Worse Than You Think                          David Cay Johnston

What the Trump Administration is doing to America.  Took the download.  Not as focused or as timely as Wolff’s book but in many ways interesting, slash, depressing.  Hashtag Follow The Money.  If this money lending mobster gets away with this America will be over.

 

Lines on missing a God daughter’s birthday

By , January 21, 2018 12:48 pm

We went and missed your birthday once again

We’ve consistently forgotten it since the age of ten

Each year we say we won’t forget to Happy Birthday you

And then the day comes round and then of course we do.

It’s mad it’s bad it’s bloody sad and definitely wrong

And we’re hoping you’ll forgive us

If we send you this daft song.

 

The Apple Mac reminded us it was your birthday slot

Coming up the day before

But sadly we forgot.

We both of us remembered watching TV late last night

And said thank God it’s not too late for both of us to write

But as we headed for our beds

The thought completely left our heads

It’s really not polite.

 

So we’re once again apologizing that we’re overdue

In saying Happy Birthday Vic, Happy Birthday dear to you

It’s not much of a present but I suppose it could be worse

All we’re sending you this year

Is this stupid fucking verse.

I feel that I’m particularly a really silly sod

What kind of a Godfather does not believe in God?

But there you are you’re stuck with us

You’re stuck with what you’ve got,

Blame it on your parents or anyone, why not?

We wish you happiness and joy in sunshine and in rain

Until next year when to be sure we will forget again!

Eric Idle

January 21, 2018

December Reading.

By , December 30, 2017 6:06 pm

A few friends are on my Christmas gift list, where I send them ten of the books I have most enjoyed reading in the year, wrapped in brown paper, string and ceiling wax, from Mr. B’s Bookshop in Bath.    This year these were my ten gift books.

A Legacy of Spies                   John Le Carré

The Golden House                  Salman Rushdie

Dead is Good                          Jo Perry

An Officer and a Spy              Robert Harris

The Comedians                       Graham Greene

Prussian Blue                          Philip Kerr

How To Build a Universe       Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince

The Hand                                Georges Simenon.

The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry would have made it but of course it’s only just now in the shops.

Happy New Year and have a great year of reading.

December

The Second World War                                           Antony Beevor

I spent most of the month reading this great narrative of World War Two.      Then I found….

Blitzed                                                                        Norman Ohler

A most wonderful read and a really informative book especially right after reading Anthony Beevor’s World War Two where I was constantly asking myself how could anybody do this.   Here is the answer.   They become a junkie.  Crystal meth, amphetamine, coke, morphine, half the Supreme Command was on something, and Hitler was on everything.   At the end his doctor/dealer could hardly find a vein.  The German army, navy and pilots were fed amphetamine to stay awake.  Blitzkrieg?   How did the army move so fast and without stopping?   Easy: Pervitin, a form of speed manufactured in enormous quantities by Merck to keep the armies rolling and the factories churning.  Why did the army stop and not continue their charge to obliterate the English at Dunkirk?  Hitler gave a stoner command!   How did he condemn an entire Army to die at Stalingrad?   Crystal meth.   Locked away in his bunkers he felt invincible.   Possessed of super powers.  This is an important book to read and solves some of the many puzzles about the war.   You can even begin to feel slightly sorry for the Germans, especially at the end when kids were given speed to help them face the Red Army. Ironically, much of the stuff was grown at Dachau.   Oh the unspeakable ironies of History.  This is also downright fucking hilarious.   The picture of the Fuhrer at the end in his bunker, strung out, suffering from withdrawal symptoms, drooling, shaking with reality finally breaking in is just wonderful.  We should check the Doctors of our leaders.

Just saying…

Maigret’s Revolver                                                    Georges Simenon

Another very fine tale from the Master of Maigret.   He is a constant bright spot in the months reading.

Regards                                                                      John Gregory Dunne

I very much enjoyed these excellent essays. He is particularly good on the film industry and the horrors of being a screenwriter.  In fact I enjoyed him so much I turned to:

Monster                                                                    John Gregory Dunne

which I enjoyed all of.   I also bought three of his novels at Iliad but then realized I had already read:

Red White and Blue.                                                John Gregory Dunne

And I wasn’t knocked out by the other two.    Too Irish too Catholic too much dialogue.

Nothing Lost                                                             John Gregory Dunne

True Confession.                                                       John Gregory Dunne

The thriller element is potentially very good but nothing much happens while they talk and talk.  And Apostolic intrigue is not interesting, not even when Trollope did it.

Tell Tale                                                                     Jeffery Archer

Each year the surprisingly nice Jeffery sends me his latest book, and last year he said sadly that I never read them.   It’s not true.   This year I had seen and bought this book of short stories before I even opened my mail.   I enjoyed them very much.  He is a real writer, not just an enormous world-wide best-selling author!    That’ll teach me to be a book snob.

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve                       Stephen Greenblatt

My old friend Stephen warned me that I wouldn’t like this book, but I read and enjoyed a lot more than he would expect.

How to Build a Universe                                          Professor Brian Cox & Robin Ince

Despite a very churlish intro from me this is a wonderful book.  They have made it as simple as possible to understand as much as possible about the Universe and I really recommend it to everyone.

FCC Again

By , December 15, 2017 9:40 am

Fuck you very much the FCC

For kindly ending net neutrality

The Country’s in the toilet

Now that Putin took a dump

All over your democracy

And left you all with Trump

So a bunch of greedy bastards

Can steal everything they see

Fuck you very much the FCC.