Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service, 6 Music, Sunday
Night Waves, Radio 3, Tuesday
Score draw in the battle of the Rushdies
Sunday 17 October 2010
It was Jarvis Cocker vs Matthew Sweet in the Salman Rushdie Cup last week: 6 Music vs Radio 3, representative of the common people vs a man with a doctorate in Wilkie Collins (and occasional reviewer for this paper).
In getting the best out of the controversial author, it was a score draw.
Rushdie was touting his new book Luka and the Fire of Life, written for his son. On Sunday Service he recalled writing Haroun and the Sea of Stories 20 years ago for his other son Zafar, who'd delivered a devastating critique: "Some people might be bored. It doesn't have enough jump." Dad took it back "through gritted teeth" and added some jump.
Sweet's Night Waves was slightly higher-falutin', though only ever so slightly, and they had a proper reader (a passage about intergalactic penguin teams and paper planes loaded with itching powder). Cocker got Rushdie to do his own reading, which I can't resist quoting:
"The torrent of words thunders down from the Sea of Stories into the Lake of Wisdom, whose waters are illumined by the Dawn of Days and out of which flows the River of Time. The Lake of Wisdom stands in the shadow of the Mountain of Knowledge, at whose summit burns the Fire of Life." Up from which, one's tempted to say, rises the Smoke of Gobbledegook, blotting out the Sun of Half-Decent Writing.
But Rushdie means well, he and Sweet covering topics such as the blows dealt by modernism to the art of storytelling, and the way free speech loses out these days to the hysterical tendency. (With Cocker, the thrust was the power of the imagination and why video games are a good thing.) Rushdie is an irritant to many – there was a common perception that he brought the Satanic Verses fatwa upon himself – and it's something of which he's aware. Kurt Westergaard, the Dane whose cartoons enraged so many Muslims, was honoured by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a conference about free speech. Would Rushdie accept such an award, Sweet asked? "For what?" Rushdie asked. "Pissing people off?"
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food