There’s no longer any point in me transcribing the First Tuesday Book Club because the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has kindly decided to post each segment on their Web site. Now, with a few mouse clicks, you can view the show any time you want.
Yesterday’s special guests — in addition to regulars Jason Steger and Marieke Hardy — were Di Morrisey, an author, and Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal party politician. Morrisey wore a patterned suit (I couldn’t see the colour because my TV still insists on transmitting the ABC in monochrome) which was white and elegant. Her peroxide-blonde hair shimmered along with her glossed lips and her teased eyelashes. She looked like a cosmetics salesman. Turnbull wore an open-necked shirt and a jacket. Steger this time looked like a literary critic with his black skivvy, and Hardy had on a pretty green-and-white patterned dress.
To cut a long story short, they loved the Hazzard but hated the Le Carre. The spymaster came in for criticism universally. Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus: was it a perfect novel? Of the replies that resulted from this question I enjoyed Turnbull’s the most. He has read, he says, The Lord of the Rings trilogy dozens of times (and probably enjoys Wilbur Smith as much). “The language was perfect,” he said. “But I don’t think that any book can be perfect because books should be like life, which is never perfect.” Neat, if a little unsophisticated.
Steger of course would never say anything remotely similar to that. Turnbull was quite novel, I thought, and in addition to his novelty also brought some glamour to the set. As was no doubt intended by the producers.
As usual, Hardy was perky and “refreshing”, and said that she really liked Martin Amis, whose book The Rachel Papers (reviewed on last month’s show) contained a whole paragraph describing “a woman’s parts” which, she said, was something “basic and course”. She’s cute. If she’d said the word “cunt” it would have been bleeped out (but she’d never do that to the ABC’s producers, I’m sure). Or maybe she wouldn’t be invited back again. And wouldn’t THAT be a tragedy.
In all, it was a pleasant show. Next month’s show is to be an hour long and will be screened on a Sunday: the second Sunday in December (“sorry about that,” said Jennifer Byrne, the host, who was dressed in normal clothes; I can’t get that image of Di Morrisey, on a midday variety show promoting sales of lipstick and make-up compacts, out of my head!).