So there it is. Martin Amis has died.
Recently Monica Drake quoted Amis as saying that the older he got the longer it took to wipe his asshole after a shit. Monica took offense and spent the evening saying different versions of, “I don’t want to know about Martin Amis’s asshole.” I didn’t say as much, but I thought it was hilarious. The soul of humor is honesty—to say the thing no one dares to say, and create relief—and yes, it does take longer and longer.
A bit ironic, considering Time’s Arrow. Amis published it in 1991, a murder mystery that runs backward in time. As I read a dinner scene, I kept wondering, How will this process play backward…? Amis had no issue with the diners regurgitating food onto their forks and depositing it on their plates; however, when they went to the toilet… I’ll paraphrase: They felt a familiar ache in their bowels and went to the WC and let nature take its course. So, no, we didn’t get to read about turds leaping from the toilet bowl to tunnel into our characters. Amis pulled that punch.
Martin Amis personified the bad boy of ’90s lad culture. Everyone bad mouthed him for divorcing his wife and leaving her with the kids while he got massive amounts of dental work and married his beautiful book editor.
If you recall my story about dinner in Capri—where Michael Cunningham stripped naked and jumped into the Mediterranean—that was June 30, 2007. That same day terrorists loaded a Jeep Cherokee with propane canisters and drove it into the Glasgow airport.
At that point Amis had given up drinking and been sober for a few years. When we got word of the airport attack he began a loud rant. I’ll paraphrase: We ought to take all of those people and put them on a train and ship them to extermination camps! His tirade stopped all conversation at the table, and in the stunned silence that followed, the small, faint voice of Ian McEwan’s wife, Annalena McAfee, said, “I do wish Martin would start drinking again…”
Her comment got its laugh, and conversation resumed. I couldn’t imagine a world without Martin Amis or David Foster Wallace or Hunter S. Thompson or Barry Hannah or Katherine Dunn, but now here it is.
Sorry for your losses...
Its our doodie to write of gravity defying, time traveling turds.