0 Different People Kenny Sim-tie. (‘olin Kerr. Maureen Sangster (Straightlinc Publications £2.95)
0 Towerot Babble (iraham l5ulton. Bobby ( ‘hristie. Ronald .\lc.\'eil and .liiii Ferguson ( ltinerant Publications £1 .5tl)
With Dillercnt People comes a volume so steeped in its own sell-pronouncement that the photos and bios ol the poets —- leatured on the book's back cover — say as much about the venture as the poems themselves. We are talking art here. POI-TIRY. ’l'i‘agically hip cultural missionaries. In all lairness to the poets. there are sortie strong pieces in the collection. but most ol the time their words quake under the pressure ol too personal a periphery. the words ol Kenny Storrie best describe the poetic mood: 'l‘lii's‘ky is blue. 'I’lii'rii'i’i’s black. .‘l si'iis’eof iii/11's ii'liu! lt'(’/(l(‘/\’.
But wait! .\'ot all is hiin seriousness and stark pontilication. 'l‘owcr ( )l Babble. a less glossy volume than l)illei'ent People. reallirms the vitality ol the small publication in the words ol lour young writers lrom the West olScotland. .\’o slickness here.
So. larewell Festival. I shall miss you — as I've managed to do without dilliculty these past three weeks. .\'ow perhaps this partying will stop and things will get back to what passes lor normal around here. It was all getting too much anyway and everyone was rather hyper. even ('hernobyl who is usually so laid back he never knowingly takes his jacket oll helore midnight. Well. gentlemen don‘t. do they'.’ He was in town on saturday night tor a ('hernobyl Society dinner and because ol a last minute call-oll Dot came along too on the understanding that she would speak only when spoken to. ('hance would he a line thing. You try shutting someone tip who argues with you when you say that Winnie the Pooh‘s gay. And there was Silicon Steve aussi. back home alter countless days on the road to Rotten.
We convened in the Abbotslot‘d and moved on to the Oyster Bar. All was going swimmineg until (‘herry decided to throw a glass olchilled white wine over me. I had no alternative but to return the compliment. adding a cointreau chaser. With his khaki shirt soaked through he looked like a Foreign Legionnaire who'd just come across an oasis. He then lost his balance —
just men looking outside the wonders ol their own experience to a world in need ol creative interpretation. Some olthe entries are more like stories than poems: certainly these writers need more discipline. more technical sophistication and more time to develop the originality ol their voices. Nevertheless. no amount ol line-toothed criticism will diminish the freshness and insight ol'l‘ower ()l Babble. 'I'he perspectives here betray poetic vigour. In one ol his poems. .liiii Ferguson uses the title to ask. ‘Am. I Humble In Vain." The answer: ‘.\’o.‘ Humility ol purpose allows one scope beyond the sell. and lrom this springs the seed ol inspired poetry. ((‘heryl Poster) 0 Heseltine: the unauthorised biography .liilian ('ritchley ( Andre Deutsch £9.95). (‘ritchley has been chummy with ‘\'on I leseltine' since they were at university and he attended the same minor public school a year or two in his wake. At ()xlord both were asked what they wanted lrom lile. (‘ritchley chose lame. Heseltine power: neither has lully realised his ambition. At times one gets the impression (‘ritchleyu sitting member to Aldershot. would
like nothing better than to he Boswell to l leseltine's Johnson. but the man whose non-appearance at a Tory party conlerence would he like ‘a spaghetti western without (‘lint Eastwood' is about as quotable as the gobhing gunslinger. (‘ritchleyx however. injects the standard biog with delicious. gossipy asides with which readers of his irreverent journalism will he lamiliar and he is never stuck for an insult. 'l‘herc are signs that the hook was dashed oll— repetition. skimping. on Heseltine‘s personal lile and the parroting ol barely cold interviews in the ’Sundays' — but he tells the story ol the slick. impetiious millionaire with panache. This is no hagiography but one leels that (‘ritchley would preler lleseltine as the occupant ol .\'o l() to the present incumbent. He ollers ungenerous odds ol three to one against lleseltine's succession. Btit by haling out over Westland. lleseltine conlirmed many pundits' lears that he is too inllammahle to he allowed in the kitchen when things get hot: his resignation luelling Sir .lohn l loskyns's assertion (which had the virtue ol making Mrs 'l‘hatcher laugh) that ‘the Tory never panics save in times olcrises.‘ (Alan 'l‘aylor)
o Smiles and the Millennium Miranda Miller ( Virago £3.95) Lile in London in AI)2(l()(). Smiles is a camp lor no hopers where (‘hristyp a social worker. and Simon. an uppercrust volunteer. lall in love. Shades ol ()rwell. rats 'n‘ all.
0 Sexplicitly Yours: The Trial of Cynthia Payne (iloria Walker and
Alan Taylor breaks the back of his age problem.
conlirming what many ol us have suspected lor some time — and lell spectacularly oll his seat.
It was rather undignilied and belore we were escorted lrom the premises we lelt. This was when (‘herry did a (‘aptain ()ates. wandering oll alone into the night. ‘I am just going out.’ he said. ‘and may be some time.’ .\'o such luck. By the time we got to l)ot's place in Leith he'd been beamed down and was waiting for us. As I was making my way upstairs he caught rue in a hall Nelson. though lrom where l was standing it lelt like a lull one. ()1in the imperious presence ol one ol Dot's neighbours saved me lrom serious damage btit once indoors he leapt on me again as il be was 'l‘arzan looking lor Jane. 'l‘here ensued a
struggle. Dot and Steve drank cottee and chatted as (’herry did a passable impression olthe Boston Strangler. I was two breaths lrom lights out when I manage to throw him oll. He landed on what I learned was (note the past tense) an umbrella plant. Later Dot observed drily it was a drastic way to go about getting a cutting. [couldn't agree with her more. and probably won't again. From the stereo I caught a snatch of Brenda Lee singing ‘Who‘s sorry now'." I kid you not.
I‘ve spent the past two days nursing my aching back and browsing through a book ('herry brought back from Kenny’s bookshop in (ialway. It's called "I’he (ientle Art of Making Enemies.‘ Last night she who heats the oven-ready chips tried to cure me by aromatherapy. l was sceptical but
Lynn l)aly(|’enguin £1.95) Plodding account of the undercover cockup in Streatliam. Swop lor luncheon vouchers il poss.
o The Lamberts: Kit. Constant and George Andrew Motion (Hogarth £7.95) The sell-destrtict story of three lost generations ol Lamberts: (ieorge the leading Australian painter ol his day. Constant. a modish composer and lounder ol Sadler's Wells. and Kit a diminutive and scarred homosexual. who plucked The Who lrom ('ockney obscurity. encouraged 'l‘ownshend's windmill action and recorded .limi
l lendrix's lirst single. ‘l ley .loe‘. lntoxicating.
o Maigret Mystitied ( ieorges Simenon (Penguin £2.95) Moi aussi. o Betore She Met Me .lulian Barnes (Picador £3.50) History man (iraham leaves boring Barbara lor absolutelyalright Ann. So larso blisslul until he catches her on screen at the local ()deon. stitchless. Her past haunts him and he becomes a movie voyeur. Sinister and ltinny in equal measures by the author who caged l-‘laubert‘s parrot.
0 Women on the Left Bank Shari Benstock (Virago £8.95) ()verweight study ol women writers. publishers. printers. booksellers and society hostesses in Paris ol
1900- [9-10. many ol whom outlived the men (.loyce. Hemingway. Pound. Fitzgerald and others) in whose biographies they ligure only in lootnotes. Some deserve greater recognition (Kay Boyle. l)juna Barnes. .lanet Planner and .lean Rhys). others less ( Anais .\'in. Alice B. 'l‘oklas and (iertrude Stein). Heavy going.
willing to try anything. I don't pretend to understand how it's supposed to work btit when I woke up this morning I could move my head ~15 degrees. 'I‘hat’s 45 better than yesterday. She’ll convert me to wheatgerm yet.
By tomorrow I expect to be lully lit but I’m going to lie low and stick to the Arts (‘liib where the voluntary euthanasiasts might make a major breakthrough soon. I once met a chap there who had bought new plus lours and was disgusted by the escalation in price since be last acquired a pair. lorty years previously. He was well past the biblical span and believed he wouldn‘t get his money‘s worth this time round. I haven’t seen him in a long while so may have been proved right. But when should one stop buying clothes'.’ Should one call a halt at sixty'.’ ()r hang on till seventy'.’ lt's a terrible gamble and a problem which so lar no lashion editor has satislactorily solved. l have nightmares ol me at eighty sitting by the lire. listening to talking books and dribbling chicken soup. dressed in denim and a Bruce Springsteen 'l‘-shirt. what's lelt ol my hair parted in the middle. It doesn't bear thinking about. Like most olwhat's
above. in lact.
44 The List 21 Aug— 3 Sept