Gore Vidal – my kind of guy.

I woke up this morning with the news on my clock radio telling me that Gore Vidal had died in Hollywood, at the age of 86. A good age, especially when you consider that his beloved schoolfriend Jimmie Trimble didn’t survive the fighting on Iwo Jima in World War II. You can read the Guardian tribute to Vidal here.

My first experience of Gore Vidal was seeing him on TV years ago during an American presidential campaign. He used to be given the job of commenting on the whole thing in his wonderfully witty and cynical way. He had stood for election a couple of times himself and as the grandson of the first ever senator for Oklahoma, he had plenty of information to pass on to the viewers.

It must be about 25 years since I started reading his books, his American historical fiction novels are my favourites but his memoir, Palimpsest is a fascinating read. He was a great writer, if you haven’t read anything by him you should give him a go, especially if you’re interested in American history.

Have a look at the video below if you want to listen to some of Vidal’s wisdom, you can follow on to parts 2,3 and 4 too.

It was Maeve Binchy yesterday, Gore Vidal today. Will there be a third author death this week?

Last week it was actors, with Simon West, Angharad Rees and Geoffrey Hughes (Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances).

10 thoughts on “Gore Vidal – my kind of guy.

  1. So sorry to hear that “Onslow” died. We had a BBC/PBS fundraiser with “Daisy” telling us that Onslow of all people was a good friend of the Duke of Kent. And Maeve Binchey was quite the character. We always saw her on TV St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish pub wishing us Americans a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    • Lorraine,
      They sound like an unlikely couple of pals don’t they, it sounds like opposites attracting! Maeve certainly was a character. St Pat’s Day seems to be very big in the US. We never have any St Patrick or even St Andrew celebrations here, maybe we should though.

  2. I’ve never read anything by Vidal, but he was definitely a major presence in American literary life and I feel I need to read something by him now. Very interesting to see that he wrote the screenplay for the film ‘Suddenly Last Summer’!

  3. Maeve Binchy died as well? I hadn’t heard or seen that. Oh, no, I’m miserable when I hear of beloved authors’ deaths. I’ve never read Vidal, though I know of his work, and his connection with the Kennedys. I read one Binchy novel and enjoyed it thoroughly. So many people in the US love her books; she will be sorely missed.

    I need to catch up with other posts on your blog to find out what you’ve been up to. I’ve been watching our tennis pal Andy Murray and am rooting for him like crazy, and I’m surprising myself that I’m suddenly a Serena Williams fan. She’s trying so hard–what a champ!

    I wanted to tell you that the Olympics have made my longing to visit GB more acute than ever. I imagine it’s the same for other “aliens.” I’d love to come late next spring…late May to early June. With my medical bills this past year, I’m going to have to save my pennies!

    Have you been to Herefordshire or Worcestershire?

    Sorry for so many off-topic thoughts!

    Best to you!
    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

    • Judith,
      I should really have e-mailed you when you were silent for so long after your accident but after your lung problems I feared the worst!! Anyway, now the worst is the medical bills, bad enough I’m sure. I’m rooting for Andy although I’m dead against the Olympics being in London at all. It has cost so much and has only harmed visitor numbers and the economy. Maybe the tourists will all come next year – like you.
      We went to Worcestershire a couple of weeks ago and just skirted past Hereford. If you put Worcester into my search bar bit you’ll get to some posts. We were also in Warwickshire again although not Stratford. I still have some road trip posts to do. I love-off topic thoughts, you can’t beat a good old verbal ramble. E-mail me if you have any more questions.

      • Katrina,
        Thank you for the information!

        Oh, yes, I feel a certainty in my bones that Americans will be visiting the UK next year and in subsequent years, based on these Olympics and the stellar coverage we’ve received here.

        I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed an Olympics more. From what I have seen (and it’s been a lot), it appears to me that Great Britain has done a superlative job with these Olympics. Our NBC coverage has been carried on 6 NBC-owned television channels, and as a result, every scheduled event is being broadcast for the first time. The coverage has been flawless, without a hiccup. Amazing!

        Time will tell, but I do hope that the end result will be a boost in UK tourism (of course not week[s] I want to come (!).

        • Judith,
          Hurrah, Andy got gold, we didn’t see it all because we had to take Duncan to Edinburgh airport, we listened on the radio and got back for the last set, almost got back into the car again to listen on the radio as things started to go off course when we switched the TV on! I think the coverage has been good, it’s a shame there were so many empty seats at the beginning, but that’s a problem which sporting events always have with corporate tickets being reserved and not used. I must admit that I watched the beginning of the women’s marathon this morning and London did look good.

          • Katrina,
            Pardon me, but how foolish of Duncan to need a ride just when Andy was having his shining moment!!!

            Katrina, Ken and I watched the match from the first point to the last, and we were shouting, “Go, Andy!!” and I was applauding every point, which Ken hates but I couldn’t help myself. We were GLUED to the television.

            I was astounded by how nearly flawlessly Andy played–he was inspired!! Ken had the nerve at the end to say, “Poor Roger,” though Ken rooted for Andy all the way. I said, “Poor Roger? The man has won 17 Grand Slams, more than any other player in history, and you’re saying ‘Poor Roger’? He’s had his time in the sun and now it’s Andy’s time.

            I was so extremely happy for Andy and I wish him the best in the matches to come. He has worked for this. And it did my heart so much good. I thought of you many times during the match, hoping you had the chance to see it.

            I felt exactly the same way about Serena Williams’s Gold Medal, but I won’t go into it here.

            Enjoy these last days of summer!

          • Judith,
            That’s kids for you and to be fair we did offer – but didn’t realise we would miss most of the match, I thought they would show it again but if they did I missed it – again! Actually the radio commentary was very good anyway. There’s no way I could feel sorry for Roger, certainly not after poor Andy being in tears after Wimbledon. Maybe it’ll give him more confidence for the next Grand Slam – or pile on more pressure. It’s cruel of the BBC to demand an interview straight after being beaten, they should give them a bit of time to themselves first. I hope you’re still enjoying the Olympics!

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