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Martin Amis

By Damon Albarn

I didn't get into Martin Amis by choice; when I was at drama school I auditioned for a part in The Rachel Papers and when I got down to the last three or four I thought I'd better read the book. I didn't really like it and I had no real desire to read anything else, until, in 1992, when Blur were doing our second tour of America, I read London Fields and it saved me. It gave me so many new options; I'd been quite traditional in my reading until then, stopping at Charles Bukowski and Saul Bellow. London Fields had a massive effect on me. It had a real sexual freedom. Keith Talent was so English and I wanted to be him. I wanted to read everything by Martin Amis after that. I thought Money had a kind of hedonistic energy about it, but the only other book which really grabbed me was Time's Arrow. I lost faith with The Information. I didn't relate to it at all. London Fields is so funny and sexy that you are distracted from the nihilism, but with The Information I thought Amis had lost all his optimism. There are two sides to Notting Hill; the good area to the east of Ladbroke Grove, which is where Keith Talent and I live, and the area on the west side where Martin Amis seems to have moved. And all the fuss about the $100,000 advance stank. I think he will have to write something really remarkable to make amends. Having said that, he changed a small part of my life for ever and in that sense he is a great author.

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