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78. ‘Previous Convictions,’ A.A.Gill…

15 Aug
78. ‘Previous Convictions,’ A.A.Gill…
Previous Convictions,’ A.A.Gill
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OK, so I have already blogged on A.A.Gill.
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But when  writing is this good, this enjoyable, this damn quotable, how am I meant to resist? This latest offering was read during my stay in Guatemala, (which may have led to little squeals of excitement when I came across the chapter ‘Guatemala’), and I’m going to leave the man to speak for himself with a selection of witty, biting and/or informative quotes.
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On Golf:
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“The first time you try to hit a golf ball, lifting the stick higher than your elbow, you’ll miss. Not only will you miss the ball, I confidently predict you will miss the entire Earth. The world is a pretty big potato. It’s a planet, and to miss a planet with a stick while actually standing on it might give you some indication of the difficulty in getting on feel-good terms with the rudiments of golf…”
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“So far, in purely golfing terms, I have half a swing. Having half a swing is like having half a breaststroke. In functional terms, you’re still drowning. You’re just drowning with intent…”
MarioLuigi.
Casual (and hilarious) racism:
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“…being Italian – and therefore more superstitious than a convention of clairvoyants in a ladder factory…”
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A theory of dogs which is echoed by Michael Pollan in his book on plant adaptation:
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“The first dogs realised that, alone in the natural world, humans crave variety. Everything else wants continuity and certainty; people want novelty. And dogs provide it. What they came up with is the cleverest thing in all of nature: reverse-Darwinism – not the survival of the fittest but the survival of the least fit, the most needy…”
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On journalists in Haiti:
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“Over dinner on the veranda, the photographers commiserate with Gigi over her lost film. They compare tear-gas vintages: not as peppery as Israel 2000, but with a stronger choking aftertaste than Serbia ’98…”
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On why Guatemala is better than Mexico:
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“Where the Aztecs are all threats and instructions, the Maya are all observations and questions…”
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The shortest version of four decades of brutal Guatemalan history you will ever read:
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“Guatemala suffered an intractable civil war that started in 1960, instigated by the CIA on behalf of American fruit companies. Thirty years later, nobody could remember what it was they were fighting about, so they decided to give elections a go…”
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AntiguaGuatemalaOn Antigua, Guatemala, where I spent some of my favourite days in the country:
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“…there are no road signs, in any language, and indeed often not much road either…”
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“Outside in the courtyard, a drunk with rheumy eyes and an idiot’s grin tries to sell us good luck: he doesn’t look as if he has much stock…”
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On Vietnam:
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“The president’s palace is now a half-hearted museum, kept as it was left – a perfect example not just of the banality of despotism but of the political law that military dictators have taste in inverse proportion to their power…”
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On Oman:
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“Travel  should question, not confirm. It should excite, not relax…”
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On Africa:
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“Africans have buckets of sympathy but thimbles of empathy…”
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On the absurdities of icy Greenland:
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“Greenland has four time zones – two of them don’t even contain a clock…”
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And finally, on Brazil, my probably destination for 2014 in time for the World Cup:
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“But the favelas are also the engine of culture, which means music and dance. The best parties, the best clubs are up here. There was a dance called the ‘Little Train’; popular with nubile youth, it was a sort of lap-dancing conga. There were reports that teenage girls were getting pregnant not after the dance but during. Now that’s a party…”
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Could be an interesting trip!…
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Come join me in Rio, 2014?...

Come join me in Rio, 2014?…

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in BOOKS

 

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