Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Word music

I enjoy reading, as you know.  And it appears that as time goes on, the content of what I read matters less and less.  Written words sometimes aspire to the state of music; and the more abstruse the music, the more I like it.  I'm not thinking of bad writing, that's just boring; nor of deliberately obfuscatory scrivening (see what I did there?), which is just people who think they're clever.  No, I'm thinking of a piece of writing which is clearly taut, focussed, finely honed - but which has a subject, syntax and vocabulary of which I know absolutely nothing, and yet which grips me as only the very best poetry can do.

OK, here it is, my weekly treat: Victoria Coren, in the Guardian, on poker.  A correspondent recently rightly suggested that her column is best read, out loud or in your mind's ear, in a De Niro or Pacino accent, as if it were a clip from Goodfellas or The Godfather.  Try it.  The great thing is that, probably, none of us has a clue what it means, or indeed if it actually means anything, or whether she's just having us on.  So, yeah, just like the very best poetry.

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