Five Questions: Dick Jones
1.Why do you blog?
I maintain a weblog in order to:
. . . sustain & develop further a unique form of communication that enables me to write in reflective solitude in the traditional way, but also enables me to locate & interact with a critical readership almost immediately.
. . . be able to read across a staggeringly wide spectrum of writing, offering an apparently limitless variety of style & content & to have instant personal access to the writer.
. . . remain in constant & fruitful contact with an ever-widening circle of fellow bloggers, a number of whom have already become – in the terms of the strange, separate-yet-connected intimacy of the blogosphere – close friends.
2.Which author and/or book has most influenced you?
This question is impossible to answer inclusively. As with you, no doubt, my influences range far & wide. I wanted to write from an early age so I guess my earliest influences – in the sense of their opening up new horizons & making their worlds real for me – would have to include:
Kenneth Graham, A.A. Milne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas Malory, Anthony Buckeridge, Arthur Conan-Doyle. . .
Then, in adolescence & beyond:
PROSE: James Joyce (first Portrait of the Artist, which hit me like a train, then Ulysses).
Jack Kerouac – On the Road.
William Burroughs – The Naked Lunch.
Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim.
John Cowper Powys – Wolf Solent, A Glastonbury Romance.
E. M. Forster. Jane Austen. Emily & Charlotte Bronte. Denton Welch. Iris Murdoch. John Le Carre . . . & so many others.
POETRY: Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Percy Bysshe Shelley. Gerard Manley Hopkins. D.H. Lawrence. e.e. cummings. Wilfred Owen. Ted Hughes Walt Whitman. Philip Larkin. R.S. Thomas. Peter Redgrove.
John Burnside. Pauline Stainer. Ruth Fainlight. Amy Clampit.
Sylvia Plath . . . & so many others.
3. Which three blogs do you most visit?
I regularly visit somewhat more than three. They are:
Blaugustine at http://www.nataliedarbeloff.com/blaugustine.html
Blogcabin at http://www.megfowler.com/
Bread Crumbs at http://blogs.salon.com/0004000/
Dr. Omed at http://blogs.salon.com/0002296/
F*R*L – this blog no longer exists.
In The Diaspora at http://www.inthediaspora.blogspot.com/
The Penkill Papers.
Perils of Caffeine in the Evening at http://blogs.salon.com/0001970/
Self-Winding at http://www.patriciascott.org/winding/
Via Negativa at http://www.vianegativa.us/
Wandering Willow at http://blogs.salon.com/0003947/
Wingtips at http://paulagrenside.typepad.com/wingtips/
I visit many others only slightly less regularly.
4. Why do you read fiction?
I read fiction in order both to confirm & confound my notions of what, at any one time, I believe to be true about human nature & the human condition. I read fiction more than any other kind of literature. For me (whether successfully or otherwise), the novel has provided the most fruitful sources in the process of the ‘getting of wisdom’.
5. What makes you laugh?
Anything that identifies & then debunks our attempts to locate meaning & order in, or impose meaning & order on, the existential process. Thus anything that activates a sense of the ridiculous; anything that parodies pomposity; anything that seeks to deflate pretension or lampoon officious authority; anything that attacks through satire the abuse of power.
I favour situational humour over mere jokes (although there are two jokes, which, respectively, nearly had me driving a van into Woolworth’s in Bromley & actually had me snorting beer out of my nose in a crowded pub – which I had never seen done before.) Set-piece plays & films generally do it for me over sit-coms, very few of which keep me on the couch for long.
I have followed with great interest & much enjoyment the rise of the ‘new comedy’ – the revival of stand-up that begun in the late ’70s & flourishes still.
A selection – only a selection – of comics & plays & films . . .
Lenny Bruce [d], Jack Dee, Jackie Mason, Linda Smith [d], Ricky Gervais, Alexei Sayle, Tommy Cooper [d], Eric Morecambe [d], Max Wall [d].
PLAYS & FILMS:
Three Sisters – Anton Chekhov, Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett, Lysistrata – Aristophanes, The Caretaker – Harold Pinter, The Bald-Headed Prima Donna – Eugene Ionesco, Blazing Saddles, Some Like It Hot, The Odd Couple, Groundhog Day, Dr Strangelove.
Dick Jones blogs at Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages, which can be found here: http://patteran.typepad.com/