I’ve just watched Andrew Denton interviewing Clive James on his Elders program. He asked James what gives him “joy”, and James replied “the Arts”. James said it didn’t have to be anything particular, it could be Marvin Gaye singing “I heard it through the grapevine” or the Adagio from Beethoven’s Ninth Sympathy or a painting by Toulouse Lautrec (whom he apparently adores). What a great answer! Being the eclectic dilettante (to lay it on thick) that I am, I can relate to that … I just hope all those responsible for funding education were watching. The Arts should be absolutely fundamental to any school program. (Now you know one of my soapboxes).
While James didn’t specifically mention books in response to that particular question, the interview did take place in his library. He is said to own 1000s of books. In response to Denton’s question about how we should judge him if we agree with the idea that we “can judge a man (hmm…) by his relationship to his books”, James said:
Intimately involved I should’ve thought. And this is just sort of the outer limit of the books that I own. And that immediately raises the question, not how many of them have you read – cause I really have read most of them, I’ve been alive a long time now – but how many of them will I read again? And if I won’t, why are they here? …[Answering this question he continued] I just like the look of them. I think the civilisation that exists in the book gets into you through osmosis, I like to have them around.
I hope he’s right … about the osmosis I mean! I sure know he’s right about liking to have them around.
Anyhow, anyone like to share what gives them joy?