Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The ever generous Paul Theroux

Thinking about Tom and his amazing Jacobean times is actually easier when not in his exact footsteps. But I'm never far away, even back in London. Today I'm off to a conference on renaissance spies. And especially Sir Henry Wotton, who was "bureau chief" as it were, in Venice - during the early part of the reign of James I. And who certainly met Tom in 1608. (There's much more to Wotton, and maybe I will know after my conference). That's him above.

Meanwhile, back on the circle line...Paul Theroux tries to flog a new book in a free newspaper, and sounds as charmless as ever. Wasn't he rather keen on V.S. Naipaul's tracks once upon a time?

A lot of travel writing is a stunt – “Ooh, I’ll bounce a ball around Iceland, I’ll throw a Frisbee around Namibia” – and doesn’t amount to much except someone in need of a subject. The other type is people thinking: “I’ll follow the tracks of Graham Greene, that’ll be exciting!” So I thought, some gap year punk’s going to do that about me, and I don’t want that – it’s my life, my trip, I’ll do my own return journey.