l’yrogrup/ty. which is almost entirely atrtobiographical. a poignant Stand By Me idyll
crossed with complex sexual stlblilttations. ‘When I was seventeen I went on a fishing trip with two
f straight boys.‘ Iidmund explains. ‘They were both conscious that l was gay and they kind of used that to : lilanipulate me ili their battle with each other. It‘s a very subtle story. written ill the style of the classical Arlterican story. of the fight with the wilds. of proving yotrrself. Very American. btrt then we've never had it told from a gay point of view.‘
: Final symphony
; A sparkling EDMUND WHITE talks to Toni Davidson about his
‘For me this is what it’s like living in the age of AIDS. The novel deals with the 70s and 80s before and after AIDS and it is still very painful material for me.’
best book since A Boy 's ()lt‘ll Story.
The barman ili (ilasgow‘s 'l‘ownhouse Hotel is getting nervous. The vocabulary of an interview with lidlliund White. the violent lexicon of death. disease I and struggle is not what he intagines the clientele
: would expect to hear. He may be right bttt then he
i would still be wrong. White himself. a yotlthftll St)-
The words that cause the barman to ﬂinch are neither Act Up nor give up; neither highly political nor intensely personal. It is as though White in Skinned Alive ltas sewn together the gamut of emotions and reactions inflicted upon him. on lovers and friends by HIV and patched them together to create a literary quilt. a complicated world of aesthetic strength with constant reminders of human frailty.
But as much as the stories deal with a painful past and present. White is still able to plan for the future with the third part of the Boy's ()rvn Story sequence to be published later this year. ‘I took the title from Haydn‘s Farewell Symphony where all the musicians
something with sparkling eyes. is a role model for sophistication under siege. In the same breath he can talk about obscure bttt wonderful eateries in the heart of Paris —- mentioning Sketches From Memory a short ; anecdotal book illustrated by Hubert Sorin. his lover I killed by AIDS earlier this year -- then the i conversation can switch to difficult recollections of 3' Hubert's discovery of his illness.
‘When I was seventeen I went on a fishing trip with two straight boys. They
. _ . ,. gradually leave the stage leaving only one to la .' were you] conscwus that | was gay and m ‘7 , ‘L i Smiling. he continues. ‘For me this is what it}: like they kmd 0f used that to mampulate me ' ‘ "3"] . i t living in the age ofAlDS. The novel deals with the
in their battle With each other.’ I Edmund Mme: comm" sema' subhmauons, ~ 70s and 80s before and after AIDS and it is still very entered into a musical contest with Apollo and lost. painful material for tne. I have this very neurotic way Skinned Alive contains eight stories. two (if \Vliiv‘ll. with Apollo then proceeding to skin him alive. Six of of regarding it as my last book so I tend to think that l’u/tlt'e Days and sin (Mic/c. were Ptliilisllcil iii xi the stories involve that idea of punishment for being it is like a death sentence to finish it. But taking Darker l’t‘tmj (Willi Adam Mutts Jones) and a third an artist of being cut back to the quick. of having l another contract, another commitment to the book. is Reprise. published in the Gr'anta anthology on Dculli. everything on the line all the time. of having to live i one way of making sttre that I don't have that Tho-SC iiillllllllll' Willi "16 Sltll'lCS WI“ “01 [‘0 *l'fI‘ll-‘Ctl through horrendous experiences. (‘liaractcristics of l terminal feeliltg.‘ l at White‘s choice for the title of this collection. T otlr cra.‘ Skinned Alive by lit/Intuit! White is publisher! by l ‘lt's based on the Marcitts legend. a Satyr who (me of the most powerful stories in the collection is (Wu/II) (i2 Whit/us at £72.99. r the satirical. For satire is the aheady. his nor as ii some "ﬂinging l " ‘weapon’ Leonard often employs when Tan is going to pick it up and say “Oh . raising uncomfortable issues I didnae realise that I was wrong!” ’ Ml! i ; concerning ‘anachronistic’ 90$ topics he adds with a doughty guttaw. i 5 like class, politics and power. From its one of the few writers who i ‘ his hilarious dig at the ‘Glasgow’s doesn’t balk at the word ‘radlcal’, ‘BBC News 1982 i ; Miles Better’ campaign in Mr Chesty Leonard is only too willing to admit Announcer: A new lntant Opportunities ' 2 Burns rhe Fried Bread, to the coiled that he is preaching to the converted, Ptogialilllie W3$.alill0tlllced "Way by I but poignant anger of Leonard’s however small that group may be in Mt Norma" 7be", the Employment Shorter Catechism, which sums up the Blair’s Britain. So he’s obviously still Minister. - . It is hoped that bv1993 all i political mumbo-iumbo or the Gulf riled by politics as much as ever? “or staff presently employed in these War, Leonard manages to juggle course, at course,’ he says somewhat departments (Job Centres and Social t literary merit, satire and polemical exasperated. ‘In the 60s it was only security Offices) Will have been , astuteness. through the language things that made replaced by people between the ages a. 5 So how does he manage to avoid me politically aware,’ he says 0' ""99 and iiVe- "'8 “5V9 0P5" 35 Z- . crossing over into the dodgy land of referring to his phonetic poetry. ‘l "W "i" be called, WI" "Mk 3 724m" 2 i soapbox politics? ‘Well, first of all, don’t like making general statements “leek. it" 3 W98le salarv 0' two tithes if; i thanks for saying you found the - but my engagement has always been 0' smames and a "3'5 b3“ 3 l humour,’ says the man with the hearty with language and more recently the Mr Teblrit later denied that his lamilv 2 l Father Christmas laugh. ‘What I’ve language that comes out oi the box to have subsmniial Shares in Rowm'ee " T L d; t. t * i come to realise is that I’m absolutely the corner!’ John Birt - you have been Macmnios" “WWW 0m mm '53 "e 53 W i a humorist . . . though I’ve never warned! (Ann Donald) “is Passager culled "0'" Tom ‘ltlttelillgs’ composed between i believed that satire is something to be Reports from the Present - Selected leonard’s galvanisino new collection 1982-1994. is indicative oi the book’s : used to convert people. I’m only Work 1982-94 by Tom Leonard is 0‘ Pimin W059 and Vaiious overall time “Will is deeply rooted in making it clear to folk who know it published by Cape at £9.99.