Hollywood Oxon

There likely hasn't been a more glamorous British couple since Taylor and Burton, or a more literary-cinematic couple since Monroe and Miller, or, how about a more good-looking and smart couple since Hughes and Plath? Well, whatever you think of free publicity, and how it mixes with poetry (which is almost impossible to give away), the young British poet, Adam O'Riordan, has it in spades. He is in the papers for dating Alice Eve, pictured, a rising starlet formerly of Oxford - or she is in the papers for dating him. Wow!

He has a new book due out, she has a new movie out. And they live in California. If Eve-O'Riordan did not exist, Eyewear would have invented them. They fuse the interest in popular culture and high art this blog pursues. As is, no other poetry-movie couple in the world is currently as enviable. Or, would be, if one cared about such shallow things as glamour, fame, and being the talk of several towns. Yawn. By the way, I wonder what poet-celebrity journalist Olivia Cole makes of this star-studded and bright young couple of immense promise. Eyewear looks forward to O'Riordan's debut collection.


puthwuth said…
'if one cared about such shallow things as glamour, fame, and being the talk of several towns. Yawn.'

But you do, right, or you wouldn't have written about this in the first place? Clarification, please.
Todd Swift said…
Uhm - aren't you the person who hides behind the monicker Puthwuth, David? And you want me to clarify various registers and tones of irony and paradox regarding identity? We've been here before. Why is it that authorship of blogs must somehow be transparent, and yet poets and critics know that the "I" of a poem or text may be a narrator, or fictive? "Eyewear" is a persona, or character - a series of editorial stances. Eyewear (in italics) is the name of a blog with various authors whose opinions sometimes clash, sometimes overlap. There is no such thing as Eyewear "caring" about something and so writing about it. Eyewear notices and sees things in the news, in print, in culture, in the public eye, and sometimes passes comment. This seemed like a "good story" - starlet from Oxford dating young British poet and rising literary star. I (meaning me, not the blog) am interested in film and also poetry. I also find the history of Brits in LA to be interesting. If you want me to express a straightforward opinon on glamour, fame, etc - well, I'm not going to. I think if you read my poetry, or criticism you can suss for yourself what my position is. I assume you think it's that of a shallow publicity seeker. If so, I shouldn't have quit my former day job as a TV writer eh? I actually think this is a complex and challenging issue. How writers negotiate fame and the opportunities it brings is worth noticing. I think that, for example, Alan Sillitoe handled his success well. It is not clear that Dylan Thomas did.
puthwuth said…
Sorry, but I don’t understand your point here. Yes of course, my blog is by me, David Wheatley, and all the opinions thereon are mine, and not those of any kind of persona or character. The blog’s name is just the equivalent of a graffiti tagger – it is me, and nothing besides. This may be a ‘good story’, but there seems to be a basic and not very complex or challenging question at all here as to what our attitude to it might be – whether this kind of journalism is intrinsically important, or intrinsically laughable. And surely the notion that anything in The Daily Mail could be intrinsically other than shit on a stick is a bit much to ask, too. ‘Puthwuth’ calls on ‘Eyewear’ to level with your readers – shit on a stick, or not?
Todd Swift said…
Well, this boils down to two issues. Let me reply to the first one first - Eyewear is not just a compilation of opinions that "are mine" because it is a hybrid blog - and because I explore satire, ambiguity, and various voices, in the posts. This is clear to regular readers. The tone of this post for instance, uses the style of 1940s Movie Star magazines, more or less, and that sort of hype. I would have thought the Wow would give it away. On the second point, this story is not just in The Mail. Of course The Daily Mail is a problematic publication. But this "story" is a story about real people, and attacking one publication doesn't cut to the heart of the matter. Is this journalism laughable - on one level, celebrity journalism is all trash, and, on another level - perhaps because it is trashy, it is compelling. See Camp and Kitsch. Now, all writing about actors and poets is not s--- ona stick, even personal stuff. We all know about Poe's dipsomania. We want to know that. Will I read Monroe's newly-published diaries? Maybe. I care about Monroe, can't help it. She's part of the noise of the universe that buzzes around us as we move. You can't read poetry of the 50s and 60s without knowing who Monroe or Brando are. Context is vital. On the subject of what do I think of a young, good-looking, talented, well-educated couple living in California and getting a lot of media attention for her being in pictures and him having a major debut? Well, as I said earlier, Eyewear could barely make that up. But in a world that allows Carol Ann Duffy to basically anoint certain poets - in a world where prizes and hype are often dictated by the marketing forces behind larger presses with big names and major cultural capital - in such a world, one shouldn't be surprised by this next logical step of late capitalism's connection to poetry. Poetry will become ever-more complicit with other media, to survive. British publishing paved the way for this. Eyewear observes. Eyewear didn't start the fire, or the oil slick.
puthwuth said…
Trash versus occasionally compelling trash it is, then.

You may not have started any oil slicks, but there are some very dirty-looking gannets in Louisiana at the moment and, in conclusion, I would suggest they are more urgently in need of our attention than anything in the Daily Mail! Surely.
Roddy said…
But Eyewear IS Todd Swift. I quite understand that bloggers shift registers - fine and good. Yet so much of your rhetoric depends on the tricks you learned as a college debater. 'I said something outrageous? I was being a devil's advocate'; 'I told a lie? I was being ironic - wasn't it obvious?' 'I contradicted myself? All for the better of a reasoned argument.' But none of that will stop most people reading this post as a bitchy swipe at Olivia and Adam, which is what it is, however couched it is in supposed pseudo-gossip.
Todd Swift said…
I feel like Nick Clegg stuck between the two old parties - you know when David Wheatley and Roddy Lumsden both respond to a post it has touched a nerve. Let me reply to David first about the more important story - the oil spill. Well, David, this isn't Reuters. And I did apologise for it over at the Best American Blog on Saturday. Now, let's turn to Roddy's comments. 1) Eyewear IS Todd Swift - response: not, it isn't. Eyewear is a blog magazine, with many authors. It is often playfully satirical. Looking isn't love, but it also pays attention. 2) My rhetoric depends on tricks learned as a debater - response: that's tautological Roddy. My rhetoric is based on the rhetoric I learned from oratory? Of course it is. And they aren't tricks, anymore than poetic form is a trick. Rhetoric is an ancient art that informs all speech and writing, including yours. In fact, your poetry is very rhetorical - one of the things I like about it. 3) "Bitchy swipe at Olivia and Adam". Response: that's a bit ritch, Roddy. You've made a name for yourself, lately, for making swipes at people on Facebook and blogs, that make my gentle ribbing seem like butterfly kisses. You forget, Roddy, that we are colleagues - you should try and act with collegiate decorum. And watch your Facebook wall. Some of the cyber-bullying you hosted there is actionable, as you know. However, I let that drop. Turning to the current post, who died and elected you arbiter of what can and can't be said about poets you appear to be on a first name basis with? I am sure "Adam and Olivia" can defend themselves. Let me turn to each of your wards separately. 1) Adam O'Riordan. I have said nothing bitchy about him or the Hollywood movie actress he is dating. There was a two-page spread on him and her in this Saturday's Times Culture section, one of the most-read magazines in the UK. If people get that sort of publicity for living in Hollywood and dating starlets, it is hardly fair to claim they are no longer in the public domain. My satire was aimed at the press coverage, not them. In fact, I defended them from Wheatley's claim it is all trash. I merely questioned the way that such pr can skew impressions. I also expressed interest in reading his forthcoming collection. And I was in earnest when I said they were enviable. They seem to "have it all". Good for them. Now, 2) Olivia Cole is a friend of mine; I have a review of her good debut Salt collection forthcoming at Eyewear. Cole writes a gossip column in a daily paper, and writes about going to Cannes, and meeting actors like Brad Pitt; some of her poems are about scopophilia, fame, glamour, and desire. I was sincerely interested in her take on the intersection between celebrity and poetry. Finally, Roddy, if you knew the history of British poets and writers in LA - including Dylan Thomas, or read the excellent work of Ian Hamilton on this subject, you would know it is a genre of writing and life experience that is a rich vein to mine indeed. It is one I have been interested in for years, long before any friend of yours moved there. Stop trying to read antagonism into my blog when it isn't there. I have no reason to swipe bitchily at young poets. As you know, I aim to encourage young poets. You have been oddly silent on my week's posting on Identity Parade, and young poets, at the Best American Poetry blog. It might have been more constructive to hear your thoughts there.

Popular posts from this blog

My small press ethos

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds