SAtiPiC/l Wit :1 / HART SEELY (ED) Pieces of Intelligence 'Sirnop .9; Satirisfer

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Just when you tt‘ougtt'. Ronald ‘Bon/o' Reagan and Dar‘ 'Potatoe' Ouaer were the last words ll‘. dumb and dumberer US politicians. dear old Donald Rumsfeld has come along to give the satirists reams of material. And in this set of deranged ramblings. compiled into poetic gems by New York jOtlfllaIISI Hart Seely. the full mad workings of the Defence Secretary’s mindset become apparent. You can almost hear Seely chortling as he cobbles this rich collection together.

In Concept/C. Rumsfeld reveals himself as more of an ideas


SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL The Clinton Wars (Vlklng €25)

Let’s be honest, this book is being consumed by some, despite its unwieldy girth, under the same pretences as a spicy Cosmo-recommended beach novel. You don’t read it to uncover the grim facts about US politics: it's more like hurry up and get to the shagging. Or in the case here, the not shagging. The ‘no, sorry, no one knew anything about any hanky

panky, sorry'.

Former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal gushes over their administration in great detail, tracing Slick Will from his down at heel Arkansas roots and Iauding him as one of the most progressive leaders since Kennedy. He also lays down

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Breathe (Weidenfeld 8. Nicolson €9.99; 00

A brisk easy read about

some nice open-ended theories on how the right spent millions trying to prise Clinton from the president's chair but ultimately lost. Scores were convicted over Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal but no one was ever brought to book for the alleged scandals that unfurled around flirty ol’ Bill.

Blumenthal has his weak spots: despite close relations with the Clintons, when it came to indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky, he knew nothing. The details aren’t half as juicy as you might think and, while the thread of a scandal is woven into the text, it's explored with passion but little drama, leaving it not as flavoursome as one would hope.

With an equally anodyne set of notes laid down by Hillary Clinton in her supremely uncontroversial memoirs, it’s a shock to think we ever worried about her man at the time. When faced with the colossal stupidity conducted by his globally destructive successor, Bill Clinton seems like a bit of a swell guy. (Mark Robertson)


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Maybe it's always been a problem for the psychological youth novel if it \.eers too far from the -mmediac;, of experience and a (TOSCFIDTI‘. e exactness. because you are left inside the mind of S()ll‘.(}()ll(-3 less developed than yOurself.

(Tony McKibbini

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Not a whiff of hanky nor a trace of panky

Popular Music t1:"‘r"_l' coo popular musrc mikaelniemi *

The S‘.‘.'(2(IISII answer to The Corrimrfrrients'? Nah, not really. Where Roddy Doyle wrote about dreaming in the (L()II(3(ZTI‘.'(} sense. Mikael Niemi takes the aspirations of one wee bOy and pushes him T()‘.‘.’€ll’(lf$ adulthood. And though Matti wants to be a rock star for the usual uncomplicated reasons (girls. ego. and. um, girls) he has rather more immediate concerns. Such as dealing wrth those kids who want to shove a piss-soaked sock into his gob. how to handle his first taste of

'r‘ocrts'ine. and helping 'tis 'ttute trzeim barts't the penis

'. eiit‘r‘g gtl‘t‘st of his iate granny ‘.‘.'ell, mu :ianr‘av push her off the bus. ,ou know

Niemi's ston. is sweet and strange and up. but perhaps the Scandinaxian tale loses something in translation. It is also episodic and tangential and sentimental. The stuff about muSic is not at all bad. though hardly up there With l~lornb\y or Doyle. But not one mention of Abba. (Rodger Evansl


Things to do Indoors (Doubleday $715) 0...

Sheena Joughin's debut starts out as a portrait of a determinedly independentyoung woman. ChrisSie. flitting between a ramshackle eXIstence as a waitress-Cum- desrgner in 808 London and various friendship

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set-ups in Lisbon, Ireland and Yorkshire. Initially Chrissie casts herself as an aloof observer With the good sense to distance herself from her pals' various relationship crises. Our herOine's romantic epiphany comes when. on a Visit to her flighty sister Isa. she happens upon an intimate postcard from her own on-off boyfriend Nick. puts two and two together. comes up With treachery. and immediately casts adrift the two touchstones in her life.

What follows is a wrny funny Journey in which ChrISSlC

“excel/wit west coast summery fang/e" the list

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3—1 7 Jul 2003 THE LIST 103