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Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's Gore Vidal!

Kind of. I decided not to risk getting my camera out, on the grounds that taking photos of an 82-year-old in a wheelchair might look a bit odd. And the flash could have brought on a heart attack. Ideally, I'd like to avoid being responsible for the death of America's greatest living writer.

But the Gore-fest on Thursday night was actually very good. Big-eared Martin Clunes lookalike, Andrew Marr was infinitely better than Miranda Sawyer the previous night (which is a bit like saying Michael Parkinson's better than Davina McCall), and the whole thing was probably the best night of the festival for me. I seemed to be in the minority though. As I walked out afterwards, most of the people around me were muttering about the brevity of Gore's answers, and the fact that he didn't say much. Frankly they should have been at Alex James the night before. When you've heard someone rambling on about cheese for half an hour, you appreciate a pithy comment. And at the age of 82, he needs to get to the point pretty quickly.

Personally I am in love with Gore Vidal (in a heterosexual way). Obviously I haven't read any of his books, been to his plays or seen more than five minutes of 'Ben Hur', but the man displayed more wit, insight and originality than the rest of his countrymen put together. Frankly brevity is the soul of wit, and he said more of interest in a few words than most people manage in a lifetime. I could have listened to him all night.

As Andrew Marr pointed out, Gore Vidal has personally witnessed more than a third of American history. Lisa's like that with Coronation Street. I'd like to say that old age has allowed him to say what he really thinks, but to be honest he probably always has. So he happily described George W Bush as "a known cretin" and questioned whether any of John McCain's war heroics ever really happened, before adding that "nobody who can lose a plane should ever be president", which is logic it's hard to argue with. Mind you, he wasn't keen on Barack Obama either, so he's not going to be happy come polling day.