Martin Amis, RIP
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I haven’t actually read any books (just journalism) by novelist Martin Amis, who has died at age 73.

One thing I would point out is that his famous friendships with other writers like Christopher Hitchens and Ian McEwan were quite similar to those of his father, Kingsley Amis, with his pals Philip Larkin and Robert Conquest.

In general, the Brits are more into being pals than are Americans. I can recall some rock critic in the late 1980s pointing out that famous Brit rock acts tended to be led by two mates, such as Lennon-McCartney and Jagger-Richards, while famous American acts tend to be dominated by one guy like Elvis, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys, and Springsteen.

A funny story along those lines I read in a biography of Joe Strummer is that before starting the Clash, Mick Jones had an agreement for about six months to form a group with Chrissie Hynde, later of the Pretenders. On paper, teaming up the talents of Jones and Hynde sounds pretty promising. But the band never got off the ground because Jones, as much as he recognized Chrissie’s talents, was a young Englishmen not in the mood to put with an older, mouthy American bird. What Mick really wanted at that point in his life was to be in a band with some other young Englishmen who’d be his friends even if they weren’t as talented. Having spent most of his teen years in his bedroom alone practicing his guitar and making up answers to future interview questions, Jones didn’t have many pals. But he had strong opinions about what they would look like, which helps explain why the other two frontmen in the Clash he eventually recruited, Strummer and Paul Simon, look rather alike.

But I seem to be wandering off the topic of Martin Amis, so:

That reminds me that the English seem to be much more afflicted by burglary than are Americans. I could look up statistics, but I doubt if crime statistics for anything other than murder and car theft are reasonably comparable across cultures.

This is the kind of thing that happens more in England than in heavily armed America.

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