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
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Refugee crisis: Sweden the only European country with a majority favourable towards non-EU immigration
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Malnourished two-year-old found being breastfed by dog in Chile
- 4 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 5 YouTube video shows woman verbally abusing takeaway staff 'because they used green peppers'
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Spanish town saved by botched restoration of century-old Christian 'Ecce Homo' fresco of Jesus
'Beasts of No Nation': Netflix releases trailer of first feature film, starring Idris Elba
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees