And so farewell Gore Vidal. Obituary here and more about his acid humour here and here. Coincidentally I'd been telling my wife the day before his death of one of my favourite putdowns, courtesy of Gore. In the long lost days when I listened to Start the Week on Radio 4 he was a guest, together with Watership Down author Richard Adams. When asked what he thought of Vidal's latest novel, Adams,who had come across throughout as a pompous ass, declared that he considered it 'meretricious'. Vidal's instant response was, 'Well, Mr Adams, meretricious and a happy new year to you.' Never read any of his books, but I enjoyed his feline presence in interviews. As some of the obituaries claimed, he could well have been the 20th century's Oscar Wilde. He famously hated Truman Capote (see earlier post) whose Answered Prayers I read recently: very funny and outrageous in parts, I'm glad that he didn't finish it, as what I assumed was the plot, involving an insanely jealous plutocrat husband, which slowly emerged from all the bitching, seemed pretty dull compared to the stories of bad behaviour amongst the American upper classes; presumably it bored Capote too. Also managed to see the second Capote biopic Infamous which was aired on BBC1 late one night recently: possibly better than the award-winning Philip Seymour Hoffman film with a brilliant performance from Toby Jones and a scary pre-Bond Daniel Craig.
Author of Subterranean City, Beneath the Streets of London, London's Coffee Houses, Decadent London, The Folklore of London, Subterranean City (Revised and Expanded Edition), Netherwood, Last Resort of Aleister Crowley, Lord of Strange Deaths, the Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer; Secret Tunnels in England, Folklore and Fact