Believe it or not, I do actually put some time and effort into what I write. I know I make it look like words slapped down willy nilly, but my scribblings are the prose equivalent of perfectly coiffed “just got out of bed” hair, that takes hours to get right.
So I was thinking that my writing style is a little bit pedestrian, too soft, lacking bite – the heart of a terrier but the teeth of a hen. To find some inspiration I checked Anthony Bourdain’s latest book (Medium Raw) out of the library, and began gleaning it for grit and pith.
A. A. Gill, a man who I am not afraid to describe as a tit, has a quote on the cover of Medium Raw describing it as “Elizabeth David written by Quentin Tarantino”. Two chapters in and I’m not really getting that vibe. Perhaps I lack the vision to see the comparison, or perhaps folk just write things like that in the hope of getting a quote on the book cover. Bourdain has a much snappier style than Tarantino – he’s as good, just entirely different, apart from the odd “fuck” here and there, but you can’t use swearing as the lynchpin in a similarity argument.
In fact, I don’t find Bourdain’s writing particularly cutting or outrageous either: Funny – yes, a little grumpy – yes, impressively ready to point and criticise – yes, although often in such a way that I’d be chuffed to be on the receiving end. Like a blade of truth cutting the common man’s sensibilities and morals to shreds? No, not really.
So, out of the book so far I’ve gotten some enjoyment, but no shift in style. I also have further affirmation of my aforementioned belief that A. A. Gill is a tit… oh, maybe Bourdain has had some influence.