Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A smorgasbord of interviews 

Yankee Pot Roast, who manage to up the humor quotient on a regular basis, continue their "Interviews with Interviewers" series with blog favorite Robert Birnbaum, whose style I someday hope to emulate. Previous installments have cast the Q&A lens on Claire Zulkey and the Black Table's A.J. Daulerio. (link from TMFTML.)

For some reason, I cannot find the Globe and Mail's lengthy interview with Hari Kunzru that ran in the print edition; but the Sunday Telegraph has its own, with Helen Brown trying to overcompensate for some unfortunate choices:
His new novel, Transmission, about a young Indian computer programmer's attempts to succeed in America, also centres on characters whose dreams and identities are subsumed by cultural surfaces. It is ironic, then, that lifestyle gurus from Channel 4's The Gay Team advised a reporter from The Telegraph to place Kunzru's books on his coffee table to help create a more convincing "metrosexual'' identity.

"I thought that was very, very funny," chuckles Kunzru, when I meet him for lunch at his publisher's whitewashed private club beneath the Strand. "I'm an urban lifestyle accessory!"

Thankfully, Helen Brown, the Telegraph's interviewer, does move on to talk about more weighty matters like Kunzru's rejection of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize that stirred up controversy late last year.

Brown also interviewed Eoin Colfer of ARTEMIS BROWN fame for the same paper, and it's the usual sort of thing, explaining what attracts children to his work, although it seems Colfer is a bit out of touch with what the kiddies are actually watching:
Colfer's work elegantly subverts our traditional perception of the little people. You thought you knew what a leprechaun was, didn't you? Jigging green midgets in tights? Forget it. In the world of Artemis Fowl, LEPrecon stands for "Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance". Colfer's fairies are a hi-tech bunch, whose enviable gadgetry helps them to stay beneath the radar of us "Mud people". Colfer twists traditional Celtic mythology in order to reflect his native Ireland. There's an old theory that tales of tricksy fairy folk thrive among subjugated races, that stories can represent the way in which the indigenous people and culture are forced underground by their conquerors. Ireland's recent economic resurgence, based largely on the IT boom of the 1990s, is mirrored in Colfer's canny fairies, who have mastered technology far superior to that of the clumsy, polluting humans.

Children love it, perhaps because they're also like fairies, darting about beneath adult surveillance. They may have to abide by some inexplicable adult rules, but they're normally far more adept in the world of microchips and basic video-programming than their parents. "I'm very keen on not writing down to children," says Colfer. "They all use computers and watch Ally McBeal."

Ally McBeal? That was cancelled a zillion years ago, right? The kids I know are a hell of a lot more likely to be watching Chapelle's Show....

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