ART/FASHION CHRIS TOWNSEND Rapture (Thames & Hudson £18.95) 000

Reading about artists on the pages of a fashion glossy no longer looks out of place. Likewise. fashion designers are increasingly more at home in an art magazine. Writer. curator and lecturer at the University of London. Chris Townsend's new book and exhibition (currently on show at the Barbican in London) reminds us that the merging of the an and fashion worlds is a fairly recent phenOmenon.

From the 70s fashion photography of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin which clearly influenced the art photography of Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman to Tracey Emin's modelling for Vivien Westwood Rapture explores how the fashion world has made its impact on art. It also highlights the similarities between the two forms of expreSSIon: fashion shows are more akin to performance art while fashion boutiques c0uld be mistaken for gallery spaces.

But despite this fasclnating subject matter and pages of stunning visuals. the academic. arty jargon is


Desolation (Hamish Hamilton $210.99) 0..

Samuel is a man full of questions. Why is his wife, Nancy, in love with life when he feels only loathing? Why is his housekeeper of seven years still incapable of fitting a bin liner? And most importantly, why is his son ‘happy’, a state Samuel finds abhorrent and incomprehensible. Desolation reads like a 135-page letter from father to son, and begs the even larger question: why did Yasmina Reza bother? Has the worldwide success of her play Art, set Reza on so high a pedestal that no editor can reach her?

The philosophical ramblings of a retired, seventysomething salesman whose conquests - both in business and the bedroom - are behind him does not a novel make. Samuel’s undisguised contempt for anyone daring to enjoy life, free of existential gloom is at times amusing, but more often smacks of a bilious old man with too much time on his hands. Hardly great fictional fodder.

Rather than lying flat and at times lifeless - on the page, Reza’s words belong on the stage. And with an Anthony Hopkins or a Peter O’Toole playing Samuel - ‘a man from the suburbs of manhood’ as he calls himself - this could have been a modern day Krapp’s Last Tape.

Ultimately, two or three laugh-out-loud moments, and some insightful and poignant glimpses into the frustrations of old age fail to elevate this slight, storyless text from the very thing Samuel despises: mediocrity. (Kelly Apter)

too hard-geing. Keep a dictionary close at hand. (Helen Monaghanj


Sex & Genius (Bloomsbury $310.99) .0

Dealing with the nasty interface where literary high art and hard nosed Hollywood commercialism collide. this debut novel from Canadian film agent Conrad Williams is a

disappointing affair. Unsuccessful telewsion producer Michael Lear

Reza’s not so sharp on the page

unwittingly finds himself as the intermediary between respected ageing author James Hilldyard and box office star Shane Hammond as they battle over film rights to an unpublished novel

Th 3 action takes place in the picturesque Amalfi coast. a place Williams is clearly in love with as he invests far too much time and effort in describing it at the expense of plot. narrative pac 3 and

character (‘levelopment Williams is most effective when depicting the Hollywood hardballs. but struggles with his more complex characters. and much of his dialogue (especially in some laughable love scenes) is cringeworthy in the extreme and hopelessly unrealistic. Sex 8 Genius is an overall patchy affair and a generally unsympathetic first literary outing. (Doug Johnstone)

73$ Ni)‘.'~


I David Blaine: Mysterious Stranger (Channel 4 E I 7. 99) The marginally odd and/or terribly hip magician analyses the history of conjuring and tells us why he's so great.

I Larry Burrows: Vietnam (Jonathan Cape £35) A glossy trip back in time to capture the images which helped define a period of history.

I Ulrika Jonsson: Honest (Sidgwick 8 Jackson £76. 99) The confessional sensation of 2002 as the former weathergirl went about shooting down some stars of her own.

I James Haspiel: Marilyn - The Ultimate Look at the Legend (Metro £20) A mix of rare and familiar images from the life. times and death of Norma Jean. I Bill Barrows: The Hurricane - The Turbulent Life and Times of Alex Higgins (At/antic £76.99) Dubbed ‘The People's Champion' (by himself), the Belfast hustler is the template for a very public meteoric rise and crashing fall.

11.) Dec 2002 THE LIST 107