Arts and Entertainment

The epic, entertaining drama of madness and its misdiagnosis

BOOKS FICTION: SHELF LIFE

2 BOOKS FICTION: SHELF LIFE Subtitled "Interpreting an Icon", Wayne Koestenbaum's Jackie Under My Skin (Fourth Estate pounds 16) is a lengthy exercise in free-association, as the author neurotically questions images of the immaculate Mrs Onassis in an attempt to liberate his "inner Jackie". This book is entirely without depth, but this is not inappropriate to the subject. When Jackie died, "Fifth Avenue seemed deprived of its pre- eminent resident, Central Park of its sprite, Manhattan of its motivation." Koestenbaum finds himself among all the weirdos and obsessives on the pavement at Jackie's funeral, and the tension of this book lies in his uncomfortable awareness that he isn't so far from being a crazed fan himself. The funeral, from this outsider's viewpoint, is eerily evoked: the tramp who screams "Jackie was a slut!", the spontaneous applause at the sight of the casket, the glimpse of Jackie's sister Lee Radziwill which prompts the bizarre thought: "Lee's all we have left now." But he's still got the pictures, the magazine photo-spreads dating back to the Sixties. "Has Jackie ever appeared in your dreams? If so, what does her appearance there signify? If one were to compile a new Interpretation of Dreams ... what would Jackie mean? (What would Tony Curtis? Mia Farrow? Ringo?)" When will Koestenbaum get round to answering his own questions? For the rest, he offers inappropriate, sometimes distasteful classical references a la Paglia. Jackie, bloodstained, next to her dead husband, is Judith to his Holofernes, symbolically complicit in his death; in her trademark disguise, like Daphne: "she turns into a tree (scarf and sunglasses are bark) because she does not want to be ... pursued."

Once, Andre Previn made headlines. He even made Madame Tussauds. Now he just makes music. What a relief. By Edward Seckerson

A few years back, two of Andre Previn's old Hollywood chums - a famous director and an equally famous composer - came to pay their respects at a London performance of Beethoven's Ninth. During the prolonged ovation at the close, the composer turned to the director and remarked: "Such a reception. I'm pleased for Andre, really I am. It's just too bad he fucked up his career."

Something bard, and something much worse

VIDEO MONTHLY

Allen comes out shooting blanks

Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway is his first film conceived and completed since his bruising battles with Mia Farrow. Adam Mars-Jones sees signs of strain

THE INVESTMENT

It is Martin Amis's investment in style that has made him the most high ly regarded writer of his age, which is what led HarperCollins to invest half a million pounds in his new novel. And the new teeth, which have become such a p rominent part of the story, did not come free either. Amis says that, like most things about him, they've been much misunderstood. By ANTHONY QUINN. Portrait by ROBIN BARTON

New blow to Woody Allen

Woody Allen, the film-maker, lost another round in his child custody battle with his ex-lover Mia Farrow when an appeals court upheld a ruling that he was not a fit parent, and refused him custody of his six-year-old son Satchel, Reuter reports from New York.

FILM / What Mia Farrow did next: Mia Farrow has many regrets, but, while she rues the day she ever met the man, meeting Woody Allen the film- maker isn't one of them. The actress, making her first film without Allen in 12 years, talks to Sheila Johnston

Journalists who met Woody Allen late last year, while he was promoting Manhattan Murder Mystery, were struck by the almost comical cloak-and-dagger proceedings. One interviewer was flanked by 'security advisors' bristling with walkie-talkies which announced the director's advent from afar. Another met him in a darkened hotel room, where Allen materialised, as if by magic, out of the shadows.

BOOK REVIEW / Reel life ain't no joke: 'Woody and his Women' - Tim Carroll: Little Brown, 15.99

'GOSSIP,' somebody says in Woody Allen's Manhattan, 'is the new pornography.' This is one of the most pornographic books I have ever read. If Paul Johnson were to add a chapter on Allen to his Intellectuals he would find this fetid tome a vital resource. For almost two decades Allen has been one of our chief moralists. In film after film he has lectured us on the good life and how it is to be lived.

In a perfect world we would do without it

AS A CHILD I was convinced that sex before marriage was against the law. As I grew older, I began to wonder why so many people were getting away with it. But now, what with condoms and consent forms, sex is practically illegal] The IRA bomber was treated like a criminal in the press for being bisexual as much as for being a bomber. We've developed a squeamishness, worthy of the Victorians, about all things human. Any physical contact between parents and children is suspect. The mere mention of child sexuality brings you under attack. Nudity is banned - adults are not supposed to look at naked children, nor children at adults (going to a swimming-pool changing room should therefore qualify as a traumatising event).

Woody flies to Dublin to walk with Satchel

LIFE COULD be seen imitating Art in Dublin yesterday as Woody Allen, wry chronicler of failed relationships, sought to patch up one of his own.

Want a happy ending? Go see a movie: She is the child-gatherer, with a tally of 11; he is the embodiment of modern man, wrestling for the right answers. Their love affair was a New York urban idyll; their falling-out has been a story of lawsuits and sleazy revelations. Reggie Nadelson awaits the denouement of Allen versus Farrow

'IN GOD we trust' is inscribed in plain black letters on the wall of room 341 of New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The room is small, brown and shabby. It has peeling paint and shredded window shades. There has been a delay in the custody battle between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow for their three children, and at the bench, besieging the judge, is a phalanx of lawyers in suits, arguing over schedules. A bored group of reporters chew the fat, snacking on the minutiae of the proceedings they've covered for weeks, which will grind on towards a conclusion soon, in the next few days maybe.

Everything you wanted to know about schmucks: Peter Pringle in New York watches Woody Allen act out his most tragic role

THE SEEDY Manhattan courtroom No 341 is not the kind of place that makes it into Woody Allen films. Paint is peeling from the walls and ceiling, and the public benches are studded with spent chewing gum. The judge wanders in unannounced with a paper cup of coffee, his voice barely audible above the din of a jackhammer on a nearby building site. A muscular cop with a gun asks the witness to spell her name.

Mia's Valentine to Woody?

(Photograph omitted)

Allen 'affair'

When Woody Allen's adopted teenage son learnt that the filmmaker was having an affair with his sister, he wrote to say 'I hope you get so humiliated you commit suicide', AP reports from New York. 'Everyone knows not to have an affair with your son's sister,' Moses Farrow, now 14, said in a letter read in court yesterday. 'I just want you to know I don't consider you my father any more.' Allen is fighting his ex-lover, the actress Mia Farrow, for custody of their children.

Farrow's pointed Valentine

NEW YORK - Woody Allen did 'anything and everything' to try to 'de-escalate' his bitter fight with Mia Farrow over the custody of their three children, even sleeping with the actress at her request, he told a court hearing yesterday. But she retaliated by sending him a Valentine card containing small skewers and a knife, he said.
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