One Minute With: Gary Giddins
Friday 04 December 2009
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm on the 17 floor in a flat which looks onto Third Avenue [New York] with the Beth Israel Medical Center and the top of Brooklyn in the distance.
What are you currently reading?
I'm re-reading Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers which I first read as a teenager and didn't understand.
Choose a favourite author and say why you like her/him
My favourite book is Ulysses but my favourite authors are William Faulkner, who has the most of America in him and can use words that would make other writers sound like complete idiots, and Thomas Mann.
Describe the room where you usually write
I have another apartment in the same building several floors higher, full of books and DVDs and my assistant, Laura. It's like a crowded minefield.
What distracts you from writing?
Reading. Sometimes you have to read to get away from obligations. I can't get on a flight to Paris so I read things as a vacation. Or watch a movie that I want to see, not one I have to see, and the same with music.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
Stephen Dedalus (from Ulysses) because he thinks he is the novel's hero but he isn't. He's the supporting character. I totally identify with that.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
They range from those who say "you've changed my life", to which I reply "It wasn't intentional", to those who say "I have read you for a long time. Will you listen to my CD?"
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby. Armstrong for his lack of pretension and Crosby for his insistence on doing things the way he wanted. He didn't negotiate on what was important.
Gary Giddins's and Scott DeVeaux's book 'Jazz' is published by WW Norton
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP