I once caused a disturbance, late at night, with a small group of friends, in a moderately pretty little town in the New Forest, by leading us all in a chant of “Oh Martin Amis, is a cunt! Oh Martin Amis is a cunt!”
(Later on the same chant gained a second verse, not very much more complimentary, about Cherie Blair)
A few years later I see no reason to change my assessment about MA (is he more self-referential than Will Self? I’m really not sure actually). His journalism – which tends to be stimulating and provocative, often in a fairly good way, and without being as blatantly childish as Julie Burchill or as obnoxious as Melanie Phillips, is one thing, his “literature”….quite another..
. Let’s face it, “London Fields” is the only readable novel he ever wrote: and one of the greatest thing about it is how he quite intentionally goes out of his way to present as many negative societal stereotypes as he can find (not unlike Gogol in “Dead Souls”, dare I suggest…although that is far greater work, even two-thirds’ destroyed), as though he is intentionally baiting those whose purpose in life is to take offense at the drop of a hat.
Still, if it came down to a bare-knuckle fight to the death between MA and Christopher Hitchens, I’d be supporting Amis all the way. That chant notwithstanding.