Friday, 25 January 2008

Bright Eyes, Troubled Waters

I made my professional blog debut yesterday on Guardian Unlimited, expanding this post about Art Garfunkel's incredible book list by about 600 words.

I loved seeing my article linked to from the Guardian homepage and I was encouraged by the second commenter, Belinda, who called it a "great post". Then things got a bit funny.

At present there are a very respectable 56 comments on my post. But, in the words of my friend John Barner, who emailed me after seeing it, some of them are "a bit cranky". Responses like "I don't really see the point of this article" are par for the course. Another poster, chameleonwoman, opined that "Recording lists of the books you've read... is akin to keeping all your urine in glass bottles". Wittier was the person who just typed, "Like a bridge over Asperger's Syndrome". I laughed at that.

My favourite responses were those that took what I'd written and riffed on it. Quite a few people speculated about Art's high-brow selections - "Am I the only one who thinks Art is telling a few porkies?" asked GoddamitGaryAct2.

You thought it odd that Art Garfunkel records all the books he'd read? Well, dellamirandola brought our attention to something far more weird - Simon Le Bon's Book Club.

Sam Jordison suggested I pitch writing about Art's library to the Guardian after he read my original post. Sam told me, from experience, that some of GU's blog commentators "keep you on your toes" and he's right. I wrote that Garfunkel read Catch-22 14 years after it was published. Pinball73 correctly commented that "Catch-22 was published in 1961, not 1955 as stated in the article". (I copied the date from Art's list).

Another commentor has accused me of ripping off the New Yorker. I came across Nick Paumgarten's interview with Art just before submitting my text to the Guardian. Presumably Paumgarten heard the same Dylan radio show as me. Unless, of course, he reads this blog. I left my own comment saying that there's no way I could have got the idea from the New Yorker and the complainant has now apologised. There is some civility on the Web.

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Art Garfunkel's Library


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