January 2014

Why the nostalgia for the alcoholic writers?

Why the nostalgia? So many books being written and movies, shot in sepia-tinted sighs, and even infographics and recipe books. And LOTS of blogs. Show me the very, very sober editors who had to deal with these writers. (I am not sourcing today, as I am trying to actually-really finish my next book*. Sourcing takes ages. Go Google. Asterisk, see below).

Fitzegerald. If you want to know the actual pain of this affliction, read Tender is the Night and The Beautiful and the Damned.

Zelda: crazy. Francis: drunk.

And please, Serena of Gossip Girl, your Beautiful and the Damned bon mots. Shame on you.

Just in case you missed the explicit references to the book, in Season 5 Serena van der Woodsen will now try to pick up a lowly screenplay researcher working on the adaption of The Beautiful and the Damned. And she will then get a job on set.

Here is Hemingway. I haven’t back-checked this, but here a quote and pic lifted from this article.

“Jeezus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes – and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one. Besides, who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time?”

Here is the only piece I am finding for you. It has a sober ending.

Slightly different topic:

Hannah on Girls, committing the first act of the burgeoning writer. An outright lie to see how the story works. End of Episode 4.


I think it’s interesting because Lena/Hannah surely must divide now. It’s a rather horrendous scene, with a slow focus pull and close up on her face, you can see her trying out these words and starting to actually believe them. Tho, one of the recurring jokes of the series is the “e-book deal” joke. No capital output, no risks, and not fiction - the “voice of a generation”, i.e. self-obsessed and insular, not committed to paper. Apt. The essay writer with so little actual substance in life, that there is no fiction … Think on it. Until then:

[Insert Gossip Girl voice ] Ex-Oh. Ex-Oh.

(Asterisk: Oh, you’d like to know the name of my, ahem, third novel? Anna Peters Learns to Cook. Not literary fiction. At all. I am being serious).

A City Stockbroker

Have you seen the Wolf Of Wall Street? It’s great, a proper story of excess. And a good look at narcissism. A damnation I don’t ever use colloquially - real narcissists are hideous. The best version of the Narcissus myth is when he tries to drink himself - his reflection - it’s unrequited love, the self bending back, refraction, etc. A note of warning to the current myth and promotion of the idea of self-fulfillment, individualism, of me, me, me.

Echo included. Poor thing. Narcissus is supposed be asexual …

Dali’s version.

Jordan Belfort wrote a book (of course he did) about himself. That did brilliantly. The majority of reviews were scathing - and the reviewers were appalled and mesmerised.

In true style, the real Jordan Belfort thinks that the story redeems him …. He also said that he got an actual sympathetic high watching “himself” snort cocaine. No, Jordi. That’s Leonardo Di Caprio, Hollywood’s darling.


The art direction is fantastic. Oh, and the Matthew McConaughy tribal-chest-beat was improvised by Matthew himself, informing a very thematic moment at the end (conceptually, almost the entire point of the film).

Here is a piece on Leo, from the Esquire features on actually famous men. Same series: here’s Matt Damon getting drunk and telling stories about stars more / less famous than himself.

And - ahem - now for something completely different: The Brit version in “The Dull Life of a City Stockbroker”. (If you didn’t get the ref … then you should immediately apple-click out of here and watch The Monty Python channel.

Oh. All right. If you haven’t left - the parrot sketch.

Or this rumination on words like woody.

Rarther amusing.