Here’s a good video of an interview with the fascinating Glaswegian artist/writer Alasdair Gray… An added benefit are interviews with a number of authors at the Edinburgh Festival to the right of the video. I particularly enjoyed the Edna O’Brien interview. I greatly enjoyed reading her little Penguin Joyce biography recently. Fascinating to know that she’s reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles. Too bad they didn’t interview Ian Rankin, whose crime novels set in Edinburgh are always a treat.
The Jo Nesbo is also good, particularly the comparison between writing crime novels and childrens’ books.
I like A. L. Kennedy’s take on the irrelevance of the function of critics as intermediaries between the reader and the poet. I generally see the critics role between the viewer and the artist as not just irrelevant but incredibly destructive and malignant. They interpose themselves in a way that relieves the viewer from BEING the artist, to take the responsibility to see the world that the artist is exposing VISUALLY. As A.L. Kennedy comments on the notion that critics need to interpret what artists do, she says
“I think [this notion] is shit and exclusive and rubbish and denies the existence of the imagination.”
It’s nice to hear someone speak with such frankness about what I find to be a central problem plaguing the visual arts at the moment and why so much work that is visually impoverished and pointless is lauded as some kind of sublime metaphysical achievement. It seems, from my point of view, that work that is so trite as to be virtually un-viewable for more than a couple minutes, allowing all the more time for critics and marketing promoters to pontificate and bloviate endlessly….. Something which is of course quite a nice way of spending the time as I’ve been finding out of late typing away heedlessly.
Alasdair Gray, Faust in His Study, 1958