Chris Croft's Personal Blog

April 16, 2010

Why I love Martin Amis

Filed under: Books and Culture — chriscroft @ 10:10 am

Here are a few of my favourite Amis quotes:

Now in the dawn, through the window and through the rain, the streets of London looked like the insides of an old plug.

Sitting on the twin bed, he looked out of the window and saw the lightest swirl of thinning cloud, way out there, like a wiped table in the last few seconds before it dries…

… Paradoxically he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking.  Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once.  It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette.  The need was and wasn’t being met.

The history of astronomy is the history of increasing humiliation.  First the geocentric universe, then the heliocentric universe.  Then the eccentric universe, the one we’re living in.  Every century we get smaller.  the principle of terrestrial mediocrity.

Never trust a poet who can drive.  If he can drive, distrust the poems.

On the table, untouched, there stood a basket of sauce-glued nachos, and a heavily cooling tortilla, as inert as an organ on a medical tray.

Before, girls looked at him and showed interest or no interest.  Then, for a while, they looked past him.  Now they looked through him.  Because he no longer snagged on their DNA.

it must have been like trying to get a raw oyster into a parking meter

his upper lip exaggeratedly cupid’s bow, the shape of a gull coming right at you

“Bung it in the MW” Darko decided.  MW equalled microwave.  That was good.  The word had fewer syllables than its abbreviation.  Especially self-defeating, because the microwave was a device intended to cheat time.

he would not mind being old if no one was young

Gina sat knitting on the window seat, her legs crossed sharply in answer to the angles of the needles

Walk down the street with him and you wouldn’t be seeing any of the things he saw. He saw earners and turners and leavers and levers, he saw locks and catches, what was unguarded and what protruded, what was detachable, what was transferrable.  In any shop his eyes glittered with compound calculation.  He had animal thermovision in the city, the night sight of the wild boy.  When he came to London with his bag of tools the shop windows were stills in duty-free brochures, and the cars bulged and shimmied like women, the clios, the starlets, the princesses of the street.

The train crept in round the back, sorry it was so late, hoping it could still be of use.  Monolithically overweight, like a prehistoric snake, the train moved towards him with its yellow eyes satedly averted.

On the plane his seat was non-aisle, non-window, non-smoking, non-wide and non-comfortable.  Gwyn pulled a lever that caused him to surge up from the supine to the sedentary.

With the human face the worst possible representation will always be the truest.  This was the best mirror and it was the worst mirror.

The hotel room was infested with bouquets and bowls of fruit, presumably real but impressively fake-looking

You could see lights, and the reflections of lights, carlights, murkily glistening -the filthy jewellery of Kennedy Expressway.  They heaved on, flanked and tailed by mustang, bronco, pinto, colt, by bluebird and thunderbird, panda and cobra, by jaguar, by cougar: the filthy menagerie of Kennedy Expressway.

he didn’t look that hot or that cool…

…  the damp dogs had to wait outside in the wet, but the damp dogs were what the video shop smelled of.

The pub had stayed where it was – ten years behind. The same donkey-jacketed Irishmen drank the same black beer.  The same black dog was still dying in the cardboard box beneath the pie-warmer.  Richard found his usual seat….

The Adonis, the old super-pub with its sticky chandeliers and sodden carpet, its contrapuntal rock videos and  the thick bank of dole-quaffing fruit-machines…

In the zoo there were many kinds of animals for the people to look at.  But there were only two kinds of people for the animals to look at.  Children.  And divorcees.

Various car alarms belonged to various types, various genres – the nagging, the hysterical, the scandalised.  There was even a post-modern car alarm, which trilled out a fruity compendium of all other car alarms.  This was the car alarm that all the birds of London would eventually know how to do.

above it all, the poised hypodermic of the Empire State


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