Author Archives: David Gelber

A Taxi Driver Writes

Posted on by David Gelber

I drove through Kensington Mall into Kensington Church Street and found myself looking at a police van with its lights flashing. I waved it on but it soon became clear that it was flashing me. I was asked to turn off my ignition and stand on the kerb. The officer driving the van asked me […]

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A Taxi Driver Writes

Posted on by David Gelber

Ten years ago Alan Watkins hailed my cab in Fleet Street. ‘It’s Alan Watkins,’ I exclaimed with great fervour. ‘I’ve been waiting to meet you all my life!’ Or something like that. During the course of our journey, I quoted a line he’d used repeatedly in a television interview following Mrs Thatcher’s election to the […]

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Martyn Halcrow Suffers Spasms of a Toothache

Posted on by David Gelber

Ten years ago I spotted Professor Eysenck crossing Denmark Hill. I stopped and asked him what contribution he thought the Behaviourist B F skinner might make to the fact that I had recognised him from a photograph the size of a postage stamp. Eysenck smiled and said: ‘Not much.’ We should have left it there, […]

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A Taxi Driver Writes

Posted on by David Gelber

I’ve been asked to write a column with some anecdotal bent. This is a cruelly ill-timed request. For the past year I’ve been trying to cultivate an anecdote-free environment in my cab. To this end, I have fitted a radio/cassette player on which I play classical music throughout the day. For the purposes of minimising […]

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Any Time, Any Place

Posted on by David Gelber

The title of Edmund White’s new novel is the only phrase in the book which doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, and this is probably because it is a quotation. Every other line of this exquisitely written, cheeringly humane novel conveys its gladdening sentiments, compulsive narrative and precise wit with elegance and virtuosity. The narrator […]

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All That Bla Bla Bla

Posted on by David Gelber

Burning Patience is an energetic, charmingly ribald folk-like tale, the third novel by expatriate Chileno, Antonio Skármeta. Set in a small Chilean fishing village, it is the story of the village postboy’s passion for the local bartender’s nubile daughter. To woo his Beatriz, Mario enlists the aid of the village’s most illustrious inhabitant (the only […]

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Driven to Abstraction

Posted on by David Gelber

Boldly going where no art historian has gone before, Frank Whitford attempts a double; the first book exclusively on abstract art, and the first to explain it in everyday language. Understanding Abstract Art treats its elusive subject matter like a primer for a difficult new language. Its liberal brief is to clarify and open up […]

Nothing but the Trews

Posted on by David Gelber

A life may well be too short; the same cannot always be said of a book. This is the first volume of Nicholas Fairbairn’s autobiography. The front cover shows a shock haired figure with wild eyes wearing an opera cloak and a wing collar. It might be a mad nineteenth century composer, or a magician. […]

Enid Sounds A Bit Odd

Posted on by David Gelber

In an age when child abuse is one of the most talked about subjects (after AIDS) and Esther Rantzen is able to rebuild a fading career out of her concern for the problem, it is not surprising to find that novelists are turning enquiring eyes and pens in the same direction. You Must Remember This, […]

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The Nature of Celebrity

Posted on by David Gelber

One Morning Scrope Davies called on Byron and surprised him in bed. Davies found the poet wearing paper curlers in his hair. Byron stirred and admitted that curlers were a foolish habit. When Byron indulged in Thought, it sometimes led to a tumultuous confusion of ideas. Believing himself to be very possibly the most remarkable […]

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She Adored Children

Posted on by David Gelber

Timebends: A Life is not the usual autobiographical account of when, where and with whom. It is a voyage of self-discovery across dark, interior seas aboard Arthur Miller’s own personal Argo. Indeed one gets the impression that it was never really intended for publication at all; that he wrote it behind locked doors, at night, […]

Typical Art Critic

Posted on by David Gelber

Nobody reads Ruskin these days and looking at this book one can see why. Even in its abridged form it is almost totally unreadable – a chaotic mixture of cloudy philosophy, reflections on literature and politics, a great deal of art criticism (of highly erratic quality), the whole lit up by occasional shafts of prophetic […]

Pleasure Does Not Always Equal Death

Posted on by David Gelber

Of all the myriad new titles published each year, those about golf, knitting and diets are surely the most boring, yet without them the publishers would never be able to afford to print that slim volume of short stories that everyone, unfortunately, thinks he has in him. Diet books are of course nothing new, but […]

John Haffenden talks to Emma Tennant

Posted on by David Gelber

One of today’s most exciting novelists, energetic, quick-thinking, positive, Emma Tennant is a writer to whom easy labels will not apply. Her published novels include Hotel de Dream, The Bad Sister, Wild Nights, and Queen of Stones (soon to be filmed by Channel 4), all of which have been praised for their poetic intensity, visionary […]

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Networking

Posted on by David Gelber

He networks, She networks, They are networking. The verb ‘to network’ is an American import newly adopted by our language rather like drive-in supermarkets, consciousness-raising and bubblegum. It’s a convenient blanket term for using who you know to take you where you want to be. Tim Heald’s Networks is a comprehensive study in how the […]

Make or Break

Posted on by David Gelber

I am a ruined man. After years of struggling to keep that novel inside of me I finally cracked and out it all came. What is to become of me now? Friends avoid me in the street; the word is that I have ‘sold out’. So I said good-bye to my past and hello to […]

Patriarchal Patterns

Posted on by David Gelber

Texas, once Mexican, is well situated as a confluence of Anglo-Saxon and Latino writing. Zulfikar Ghose has been a professor of English at the University of Austin in that state of cattle, oil and chicanos since 1969. Born in Pakistan, raised in India and educated in Britain, he called his autobiography Confessions of a Native-Alien. […]

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Spirited Misanthropy

Posted on by David Gelber

Who could have guessed that the angry young men of the nineteen-fifties were destined to turn into the furious middle-aged men of the nineteen-eighties? John Osborne especially is so hot with rage still, as to seem in danger of spontaneous combustion – though perhaps the danger has diminished since he found a new outlet for […]

Alastair Morgan talks to Anthony Burgess

Posted on by David Gelber

Anthony Burgess was interviewed in a suite in Claridges at the end of a year in which his publications reaffirmed his involvement with music, showed him engaged with beds, and found him turning to Freud, Trotsky, and science fiction for his novel The End of the World News (Hutchinson £8.95). The interview takes for its […]

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