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The OZone: 27-07-2010

Flashes of American psycho as Bret Easton Ellis takes exception to a typo, but Josh Ritter's chuffed by Ross O'Carroll-Kelly revelation

- Monday Apologies, readers, but OZone's far too busy to come up with a LOL-ishly clever opening line this week. To the Meyrick Hotel in the morning to interview controversial American novelist Bret Easton Ellis for the Herald (and GAF TV too).

We've met once before. Eleven years ago, when his novel Glamorama was published, I interviewed him in the Clarence Hotel. He told me that his UK publisher's libel lawyers forced him to take a line out of American Psycho: "I realise that Bono is the devil and I am just like him." We agreed it was unlikely that MacPhisto would've sued.

That interview was republished in my 2004 book of collected interviews, Palace Of Wisdom. He's delighted when I present him with a copy (though somewhat less pleased when he spots that his name has been spelt as 'Brett' in the contents list).

As we sit opposite each other, he observes that we're both wearing shades. "We can't both be wearing sunglasses indoors," he says. "That would look so un-cool."

"You're right," I reply. "You'd better take yours off."

Immediately afterwards, I've got to rush to the King's Head pub to interview Sir Terry Wogan for GAF TV (he's in town filming a BBC documentary called Wogan's Ireland). After a couple of hours hanging around, the producer informs me that it's not going to happen. Shite!

Minor disaster in the evening. I'm not feeling too well, but I've been asked to introduce Bret's reading from new novel Imperial Bedrooms in the Meyrick. My opening line gets a good laugh: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to children's storytelling hour with Bret Easton Ellis."

Embarrassingly, I suddenly start to cough my lungs out. It's somewhat excruciating with 350 people staring up at me. I eventually recover, but it's not my proudest moment. Worse again, I've got to sit at the side of the stage throughout the next 90 minutes.

Cartoonist Tom Mathews puts it in perspective for me afterwards in Neachtains. "I really wouldn't worry about it, my dear boy," he says. "Firstly, you weren't that bad. Secondly, the audience were there to see Mr Ellis -- sorry, but nobody really gave a toss about you. Thirdly, mine's a pint of Galway Hooker."

- Tuesday OZone's pretty sick this morning -- shaky, sweaty and exhausted. When I finally unpeel myself from the bed sheets to do some work, I discover that my laptop is even sicker. I've no idea how I managed to download a computer virus. All I ever visit is porn sites.

It's a fiendish virus; I can't even open text files. An annoying message keeps appearing, telling me I have to purchase software from a company I've never heard of. Methinks not.

Many thanks to local computer genius John Lally who spent two hours fixing the problem -- and then refused to accept any payment for his work.

- Wednesday Having been bailed out by the taxpayer, the thievery corporations are now expressing their gratitude by hiking mortgage interest rates. It goes without saying that our Government is doing SFA about it. Mainly because they're far too busy thinking up new ways to squeeze even more money out of the already cash-strapped citizenry.

At this sorry stage, the public-service parasite is far bigger than the private-sector host.

- Thursday There's a new waffle house opening across the road from UCHG. They've a massive picture of Biffo in the window with the slogan: "This guy likes a good waffle!"

- Friday To the Big Top in the Fisheries Field to interview supremely talented musician Josh Ritter for GAF TV. The last time we met was in 2007 on a snow-capped mountaintop in the Swiss Alps, when he was playing a music festival in Verbier.

Ritter was actually in Galway just a few months back, reading from his forthcoming novel Bright's Passage (due to be published by Random House in 2011), as part of the Cuirt Literature Festival.

He tells me that the novel is basically an expanded version of a song he wrote: "I'm really excited about it. As I was working on [last album] So Runs The World Away, I had been coming through a real period of writer's block, but then when I started writing again, I was writing a lot all the time. I had all these ideas and I wrote a ton of stuff that didn't get on the record.

"And I also wrote a song which was incredibly long -- so long that it didn't fit on the record. I've always felt that a good song could become a novel. I always feel like a song is like a hallway, and you can walk down the hallway and you put doors every couple of feet. People can walk down the hallway and take the door. Once they go through the door, they're in their own world."

Although Ritter is a fairly regular visitor to these shores, nobody has yet informed him that his name is used as rhyming slang in Paul Howard's Ross O'Carroll-Kelly books (as in, "I need to throw up so I dash to the Josh Ritter").

When OZone tells him, he's genuinely chuffed. "That's amazing!" he laughs. "That's better than the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Irish verbal technology is 10 years ahead of ours in the States -- verbal and snack foods. So maybe one day it'll spread to the US."

You can watch the interview on YouTube.

- Saturday To the Fisheries Field for a show by the Human League and Heaven 17. It's like an '80s' flashback. Then again, with this awful recession, everything is like an '80s' flashback.

- Sunday Online newspaper The Huffington Post has picked up on this paper's Bret interview, and has linked to herald.ie.

He certainly divides opinion. Some of the comments from outraged readers are hilarious. My favourite post: "Perhaps American Psycho was autobiographical."


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