Thursday, June 06, 2013

"We're not prudes, we're gynecologists": More palaver from Crimefest panels

to thousands
of Chouans
who landed
at Carnac
in 1795. 
Here are a few more thought-provoking remarks from panelists at last week's Crimefest in Bristol. Stick with me long enough, and I may tell you what thoughts they provoked.

  • "He helped other writers also. He put out the Saint magazine."
  • Zoe Sharp on the literary philanthropy of Leslie Charteris, creator of The Saint.
  • "In the cast of cities, bars are closing. The rents are too expensive. ... When streets get too expensive, the first things to close is bars, where people used to meet."
  • "The nice thing about writing about Laos is that they've had forty years of civil war, and they can still sit down at the end of the day and have drinks and make jokes."
  • Colin Cotterill
  • "We're not prudes, we're gynecologists."
  • Lindsey Davis, quoting a regret-filled letter from two fans explaining the offense they took at sexual language in one of her novels.
  • "In Glasgow everyone pretends to be working class. It's a kind of reverse snobbery."
  • Denise Mina on working-class chic in her city
© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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Blogger R.T. said...

Varenne is right. The best bars are in the poorest parts of town. Of course, those are the bars in which only locals are welcome. This would mean, I suppose, that Glasgow should have some decent bars. But then I wonder: if gynecologists--not being prudes--were to congregate at their favorite bar, what would that experience be like. And as for Laos, and basing it upon my long ago, not so pleasant adventures in southeast Asia, I would take a pass on those bar experiences. Hey, I've got my reasons, and I would like to avoid revisiting those experiences.

June 06, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

One one wonders what gynecologists get up to when they get a little liquor in them.

But Glasgow must have decent places for a gregarious, if confrontational pint. (William McIlvanney has a line about one of his characters reaching the pint of no return, which a nice line.) I've been out for a meal and a drink in Glasgow, and the streets seemed crowded with folks out for a good time. I don't remember making any observation about what class they belonged to or wanted to be thought to belong to.

My guess is that Colin Cotterill, who has lived in Southeast Asia for many years (Laos, now Thailand) might suggest you were there at a time when tensions are higher than they are now.

June 06, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

Three points:
(1) I have often wondered about how medical students and interns make their decisions about specialties. Some choices seem really odd. 'Nuff said about that.
(2) SE Asia and "tension" were synonyms in my past experiences (i.e., late 60s). I kept remembering then a writer (the southern novelist Thomas Wolfe(?)) who had said, "You can't go home again," and--with every passing moment--I hoped he was wrong, and he way.
(3) My bar experiences in St. Andrews (Scotland) confirmed my hard-earned understanding that the small, local, neighborhood bars are really the best (i.e., avoid all big-wheel watering holes, and avoid all tourist stops). This was also true in Perth, Australia. True again in the Bowery (NYC) in the mid-60s. And don't get me started on the bars in the Philippines. Yikes!

June 06, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

1) So, what can you tell me about the bars in the Philippines?

2) I don't know what made the offended couple decide to become gynecologists, nor do I know the details of the passages that offended them. But who needs context for a line like that?

3) You might like to read William McIlvanney if you have not done so already. Start with Laidlaw.

June 06, 2013  
Blogger R.T. said...

I will take a look at McIlvanney. Thanks for the Rx.

As for bars in the PI, I speak of the Vietnam and post-Vietnam era when the U.S. had a huge military presence in the now-closed bases. The plentiful bars beyond the gates were infamous for cold San Miguel beer and hot entertainers (forgive the euphemism). The best bars were hidden in the side streets, away from the large, fancy traps for sailors and marines. My favorites were hiding on Gordon Street in Olongapo. They are, I am sure, long gone. I should have spent less time in those dives, but you only live once (even if it means much of that life can become a "lost weekend" experience because of--you guessed it--the cold beer and the hot entertainers [two of whom I still remember their names]). That is probably a sad thing to admit.

Postscript: The worst "beyond borders" bar was in "downtown" Mombassa, Kenya. The "entertainers" were downright frightening, and the Tusker beer was downright undrinkable. I should have skipped the downtown life and headed for the tourist hotels on the beach, but I wanted to experience the "real" Mombassa. That was a big mistake. The most expensive "BB" bar was in Rejkavik. That was another big mistake.

June 06, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Martin Limon's crime novels set among GIs in Korea include ample references to bars and their dangers, though I presume his descriptions are less lurid than reality.

June 07, 2013  
Blogger Kathy D. said...

Relevant or not, read Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller, if you haven't already.

It's the past mixed with the present, sadness, philosophy, poignancy and humor all mixed in -- i.e., good Jewish story telling with wit.

Premise: An 82-year-old Jewish man from New York is in Oslo and must go on the lam to protect a child.

I laughed for 25 pages; now it's getting serious. But humor is constant, too.

June 09, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Premise: An 82-year-old Jewish man from New York is in Oslo and must go on the lam to protect a child.

I laughed for 25 pages;

Kathy, that's quite a juxtaposition. I had not heard of this book, so thanks.

June 09, 2013  
Blogger Kathy D. said...


This book is witty for several pages, then it seriously gets into history, wars, guilt, loss and pain. But there's plenty of Jewish humor. It's woven together seamlessly.

And it's a police procedural, too.

I read it after reading rave reviews at Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Reactions to Reading and Mrs. Peabody Investigates.

It's all true. Haven't been able to get my head out of this book for two days.

You must read this book by Derek B. Miller. It's brilliant.

June 10, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I met Mrs. Peabody at Cimefest! If we'd talked a while longer, she might have recommended this book. Thanks again for mentioning it.

June 10, 2013  

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