Archive | January, 2013

Truman Capote 1924 – 1984

21 Jan

Truman Capote

“But I’m not a saint yet.

I’m an alcoholic.

I’m a drug addict.

I’m homosexual.

I’m a genius.”

― Truman Capote

(and let’s not forget modest)


Truman Capote
, or Bulldog to his friends (I shit you not), was an author, socialite (boozer) and an all-round controversial fellow (see image).  I imagine he was a bit like marmite and Jeremy Clarkson, only better dressed. He wrote short stories, plays and novels including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, made into a classic film (although he thought it was a bit poop), and inspired a truly despicable song that’s now going to be stuck in my head all afternoon. Grrrrrrr.

He was good friend with Harper Lee (To Kill a Mocking Bird) who helped him research his most critically acclaimed work, In Cold Blood; a non-fiction novel based on the murders of four members of the same family in a robbery at their farm in Kansas.  It’s not a comedy. Capote spent a lot of time interviewing the suspects for research, and when the two men were convicted and sentenced, they invited Capote to their hanging. Given the choice between a night in watching Downton Abbey and an execution, I would have gone with the former. On a scale of one to insane, Capote attended the latter. Honestly. This may have been his turning point into drugs and alcohol. Just a hunch!

Philip Seymour Hoffman tends to play crazy-eyed lunatics and manic depressives. He played Capote in the 2005 film of the same name (Capote). When people say, “If you could invite anyone famous and/or dead to your dinner party, who would you choose?”  My answer would be, “I don’t give a mangy lemming as long as crazy Hoffman doesn’t turn up uninvited”. He looks like the kind of guy who makes a puke face while coughing out half chewed food into his napkin, pretending to be inconspicuous while purposefully making you, and all your guests know that he thinks your food is inedible bilge. I wouldn’t deny that it wasn’t, but that’s not the point. He would also refuse to talk to anyone except the cat. So yeah, he’s not coming to my party. However, he did win an Academy award for his performance as Capote, so congrats.

The important stuff for quizzes and Trivial Pursuit:

  • He was born in 1924
  • His star sign was Libra (flirtatious and self-indulgent, apparently)
  • His life partner was Jack Dunphy (that means he was homosexual)
  • He threw an infamous party and invited lots of film stars and celebrities. Then he wrote mean things about them and they got mad. How we laughed.
  • He became addicted to drugs and alcohol toward the end of his life (standard)
  • He died in 1984 of liver cancer (that would probably be the booze then)

There is a Truman Capote Society on Facebook, so if you would like any more information please ask them. I have a feeling it’s not very big though, so maybe you could also help them improve on their 102 likes.

Harper Lee isn’t one of the Penguin chosen authors (tut tut), otherwise she would be next. Instead I have opted for F. Scott Fitzgerald. I believe he’s a bit of a tosser, but we’ll see.

 

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John Wyndham 1903 – 1969

11 Jan

Postcard from the Penguin Collection of 100 Authors

“When a day you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere” – John Wyndham, Day of the Triffids

( Thus teaching us the dangers of too many narcotics)

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was a science fiction author, known to his friends as ‘Windy’. There is a 63% chance that this fact is probably true, however the only people who can answer that question are the John Wyndham Appreciation Society members, and as they don’t exist, there’s a 92% chance they won’t reply.

He wrote a book called ‘The Day of the Triffids’. You may have heard of the film, it’s a bit like Independence Day but more believable. The Midwich Cuckoos was also made into the film Village of the Damned twice. Proving, once again, that remakes are at least 1.5 stars less than the original on IMDB. He also wrote another book called The Chrysalids which is very good, along with some other books, because he was an author and that’s what they do.

It was tough deciding which author to write about first. Random or straight out of the box? I chose random on the realisation that I hadn’t heard of the first two authors (the shame), and dismissed the next one because he looked like a paedophile and/or fitness instructor. I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when the cover smells of sweat and pants a lot, it’s hard not to donate it to the WI bring and buy sale. So I thought hooray, John Wyndham must have been super cool and really interesting. He’s not.

These are the facts you may need to know for a pub quiz:

  • He was born in 1903
  • His star sign is cancer
  • In the Second World War he worked as a censor
  • He wrote some books and stuff
  • He married a woman in 1963
  • He didn’t have an affair and wasn’t a secret homosexual
  • His favourite drink was probably ale, or whisky, or tea
  • And he died in 1969 from something that killed him

Below are the books:

If you query my accuracy on this subject, then you’re not the only one.  If you would like some more information please try your luck with the John Wyndham Appreciation Society, or start a society of your own.

Next time I will be picking through the life of Truman Capote. I suspect it might be a lot longer than this one.

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