It is all extensively researched and cited. To compound the bonkers brilliance of this game, each encounter is written in 1001 words (I don't know whether the many extensive footnotes are counted).
Celebrities, or at least this selection of them, are almost uniformly eccentric to the point of lunacy. Sex comes up time and again. It seems to me that to be anyone in the celebrity world you have to have sex with at least seven other celebrities.
Many of the most quotable moments belong to other people so I have tried to select my favourite bits from what Craig has written:
- "Gurdjieff ... was the most earthy of men, enjoying huge three-course meals, washed down with Armagnac, while his followers made do with bowls of thin soup. ... he often didn't bother to use the lavatory, preferring to defecate willy-nilly. ... He was a stranger to celibacy." P L Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, was one of his devotees!
- "Jack Kerouac ... collapsed while watching The Galloping Gourmet on television, then died in hospital of cirrhosis of the liver."
- "Traditionally, members of the royal family are granted a special licence as entertainers. Their efforts at sparkling, however dim, are greeted with enthusiasm; their repartee, however pedestrian, sets tables aroar; their musical forays, however painful, are hailed as delightful. This conspiracy of sycophancy has, over the years, led one or two of them to gain an inflated notion of their own talents."
- "When his father first warned him that he was spending too much, Elvis tried to calm him down by buying him a Mercedes."
- "When the Book of the Month club asks him to change the title [of The Catcher in the Rye], Salinger explains that Holden Caulfield won't agree to it."
- "Now aged forty-nine, penniless and plump, Isadora Duncan has seen better days. ... Dorothy Parker nicknames her 'Duncan Disorderly'."
- "She has always been prone to rage, and her progress around the world has been marked by the splinters of hotel furniture."
This book is incredibly clever and great fun. I loved it.
April 2019; 332 pages