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
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Jeremy Clarkson courted by Russian Ministry of Defence TV station to present motoring show
One Direction fans campaign to buy the band after Zayn Malik quits
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest