On the other hand, there’s Steve Martin…

Comparing Grisham’s The Associate with Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Hollywood actor/comedian Steve Martin is certainly a case of apples and oranges.

But, unlike The Associate, Martin’s recollection of his stand-up career is immensely satisfying.

Martin is a beautiful, evocative and, not surprisingly, witty writer and this relatively short memoir is a delight from start to finish.

Stand-up has to be the most terrifying of all performing arts and Martin outlines how he painstakingly built up his act from a few clumsy magic tricks (learnt while working in Disneyland’s magic shop as a teenager) to an act which drew thousands and filled stadiums night after night. Anyone with an interest in writing – any kind of writing – would find his 20-something year quest to craft his act fascinating.

Martin admits he was never naturally talented and his persistence and dedication to the art of making people laugh is incredible.

And, as with all celebrity bios, it’s fun reading of his fellow-celeb encounters along the way including Johnny Carson, Dan Akroyd, John Belushi and Elvis Presley. Also interesting is the influence on Martin of an early romance with then-actress Stormie Sherk, now better known as Christian author Stormie Omartian.

Most poignant is Martin’s description of his deathbed conversation with his father, after a lifetime of disappointment and disapproval.

Martin is a sensitive, thoughtful, honest and self-deprecating artist. Just the kind of person I’d love to have dinner with.

John Grisham: I gave you some of the best hours of my life


Summer holiday reading. It’s often light, fluffy and it rarely fills you up. You don’t expect too much. A good yarn and a mildly satisfying ending is all you ask, right?

Well if that’s the case, allow me to steer you well clear of The Associate by John Grisham.

Mr Grisham has kept me turning the pages of his clever legal thriller for years. I’ve read most, not all. Sure, some have been way better than others but I think he’s got it right more times than wrong. And that’s why I picked up another of his titles.

After a cracking start which rendered me unable to put the book down until I finished the first five chapters, I maintained my interest right up until virtually the final page. The middle plods a little but the hook on which the whole book is set was so strong that I couldn’t wait to see how Grisham resolved things.

Trouble is I’m still waiting, and I finished the book about a week ago. Resolution? There isn’t one. The baddie gets away and…that’s it. Nada. Nothing. 

Either Grisham’s too big for his boots to accept editorial comment or his editors and publisher were caught napping. I cannot believe his publishers accepted the final draft in that state.

But then again, maybe they just figure that Grisham’s name alone is enough to sell books (or ‘move units’) so a compelling story with a crapola ending is of little concern.

And they’d be right. Because Grisham’s name alone was enough for me to read his book this time. But maybe not next time.

Can it be real?

I’d love to think it is.

Big Slip on YouTube

It must be summer…

If a 43 degree day wasn’t enough to remind me it’s summer, I just heard Gary Wilkinson’s voice for the first time this tennis season.

It happens but once a year: Christmas, Easter, your birthday, Gary Wilkinson on the telly. Or does it? What does he do the rest of the year? Does he have another gig, or does he just sit at home, practising his superlatives and waiting for January to roll around. I’m pretty sure he commentates the equestrian each Olympics, but that’s like saying you only work on 29 February.

What does Gazza do the rest of the year? Why do I care? I don’t really. But once a question like this pops into my head, that’s it; off to Google I go.

The inaugural post

Whoa…so much pressure. What to say? What to write? If first impressions count for as much as I think they might, I better go away and come back with something better than this. Back soon

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