Boozing journalists and bad sex
In Frayn's two novels in the sixth decade of that century, the lure of television is already beginning to exert its anti-magic. The mindlessness of the opinion poll and the reader-survey is coming to replace news and analysis. The reporters and editors are beginning to think about mortgages and pensions. The editor is a cipher. I do not think that there will again be a major novel, flattering or unflattering, in which a reporter is the protagonist. Or if there is, he or she will be a blogger or some other species of cyber-artist, working from home and conjuring the big story from the vastness of electronic space.
The whole piece is an extensive survey of the journalist in literature - and a reminder of why when I became a journalist my father sternly forbid me to join the Press Club in Sydney, which he considered a den of the deepest iniquity. (Don't know if it was - I went bush, so no chance to find out.)
Probably it was mostly myth, which allows me to segue seamlessly into the Literary Review Bad Sex Awards, the winner of which I dealt when I worked at The Times. It severely tempts me to share a lovely piece of gossip about the man who leapt up happily to received the award, but I suppose I will restrain myself, since this isn't PopBitch. Instead I'll point you to the most unbelievably awful collection of writing - quite a bit by "serious writers" - you're likely to see in a long time: the nominations.
Then finishing the media gossip line - the Guardian is going into the comedy show business. Three blokes, so what's new?