Fugitive Fragments

by Mike McGuire

Boris Johnson opens Melbourne Writers Festival

adamprocter2006

I went along to see London Mayor Boris Johnson open the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival last night. The man declared himself impressed with the venue, our city’s quaint mid-nineteenth century neoclassical Town Hall, deeming it more appropriate than his own sterile and modern energy-saver abutting the old Pool of London.

In case any of you are wondering why a politician travelled 16891 kilometers to open such an event, Boris Johnson is a writer with a dozen or so successful books under his belt. He came up through the newspaper ranks to become editor of UKs The Spectator before straying into politics (holding shadow-ministries under then opposition leader David Cameron) before his successful tilt at the office of Mayor deposed the incumbent in 2008. He has developed a reputation for what the English call a Scallywag (scamp) or in the Aussie tongue, a Larrikin (mischief-maker) and he plays strongly to this image – indeed glorifies it with his puerile head of unruly blonde hair.

Dwarfed by a backdrop of nine thousand concert organ pipes, BoJo (a diminutive normally reserved for the glitterati) was welcomed enthusiastically by a fawning crowd who took the art of fawnology to Mercurial heights for the duration of the forty-minute address. The bold Boris allowed the audience to eat from his palm in measured doses until he got carried away by the adulation and wandered off topic, never to return to his chosen subject of ‘The Power of Words’. Instead we were treated to an ad lib on the importance of cities to the promotion of the arts in general and writers in particular. He cited Shakespeare as a country boy whose best works derived from the competition he found himself up against from other playwrights in London vying to “get bums on seats”. Ergo, had The Bard remained rustical, he could have been lost to literary history. Boris recognised Australia to be the most urbanised country in the world (89% live in half a dozen cities) “with the possible exception of Monaco”, and declared his desire for England to emulate this trend.

By this time I had begun to notice that some members of the audience (in particular women of ‘a certain age’) appeared to have outfawned themselves, gazing glazed-eyed with perpetual pain-inducing grins and involuntary outbursts of tittering. At that point of the evening the ever endearing tousle-haired private schoolboy could have graffitied the Waller murals looking down on the assembly and his congregation would have chipped in for the spraypaint.

Charm is something that Boris Johnson has in spades. He is a charismatic, witty, entertaining, self-effacing and knowledgeable polymath. His back-story of Classical Scholar-cum-journo authenticated many of his references (‘Urbanphobia’ – “what a mish-mash of half Latin, half Greek, an accident of a word”) left no doubt that we were listening to a man of letters who had a credentialed foundation in his epistolary language.

On J. K. Rowling’s outed pseudonym he declared his admiration and thought he might also adopt a pen name. The name Rosie M. Banks appealed to him (fans of Wodehouse will appreciate) and he saw no irony in publicising this. “In a trance, you will buy this blockbuster by Rosie M. Banks and I hope to be somewhere quietly raking it in”.

Bravo Boris, encore even.

Single Post Navigation

12 thoughts on “Boris Johnson opens Melbourne Writers Festival

  1. Reblogged this on How my heart speaks and commented:
    Interesting for an Brits reading my blog…and do look at Mike’s other posts and poetr

  2. He is very clever and charming… and persuasive…but probably dangerous to us Londoners.Charm alarms me even as it tries to disarm me.I’ve had a bad time with such a man.Beware of Bojo’s even of gifts.Love our blog,Mike

    • Your cautions are noted Katherine and I am always wary around politicos. Turned out his appearance was closely connected to a new book of his that he was enthusiastically peddling in the lobby afterwards :D

  3. The ‘celebrated female novelist, Rosie M. Banks..’ It is great to know that even small characters in P.G. Wodehouse’s novels are still very popular

    • Wodehouse continues to attract hardcore followers, particularly from among the writing literati who delve into the minutiae then pepper their words with references – it’s a real treat to listen to such people (the late Christopher Hitchens frequently got carried away on the theme to great comic effect).

  4. So, Bojo has mojo aplenty, then, Mike?

  5. one of the funniest British Mayors :)

  6. Dare I say it? why yes, you Mike could have given him a run for his money had you took the stage – it appears someone “boobed” by not inviting you to address the Gathering?

    Chris.

Whaddya think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A Lionhearted Journey towards Authenticity (c)

Sharing my love & passion for nature, animals & the soul journey through writing. With love, hope & courage, in harmony with nature we travel a Lionhearted Journey towards Authenticity (c)

From Maybe To Almost

One lost & confused 20-something's nonsensical account of the nowhereland of not-quite-adulthood.

Jemverse

Life in words

I-ZΛΛX-SØN

The Unpreachable

Brett's Future

Science Fiction or science fact....the thoughts of a budding author.

Poems: "Lax Rhetorica" (Fallible Rhetoric)

...Free Verse, Experiment, Illustration, and occasionally...Art !

Ajaytao Quotes Blog

Enlightening our souls

RePrEsSeD ExPrEsSiOnS

I like Eclectic. I am a blogging mutt. Sometimes I will dress it up a bit with a poem or song.

Stellular Scribe

the ramblings of a rogue writer

CultFit

Form, Flow and Grace

Blue Girl Poems

My thoughts, expressed in poetry

pantspoet

words with a twist, like knickers in a twist, you get the gist....

B-kiran Poetry & Musings

wAsTe pRodUcTs oF mY iDlE mInD

Tarns begins - Dead Brown Bird

Poetry, pieces and other bits of my writing

Incandescent Moon Poetry

Spiritual and Worldly Poetry for the Soul

Michele Marie's Poetry By The Fireside...

poetry by the fireside... life...

I.J. Keddie

Poet (of sorts). I'm hiding behind your curtains.

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

Looking At Raindrops

Some people look at rivers, writers look at the raindrops

Neues vom Hutschi

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Mr. Modigliani's Private Studio

Intimate expressions of a complicated man

becoming the muse

words on paper

My Invisible Crown

Impulsive writing from my inner Princess

Poet on the Farm

A Residency at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm 2014

ddwright

Author of Poetry 2Life: Youth. Struggle. Love. & Embracing: A Poetic Perspective

The Story Of A Guy

A Journey Through The Eyes Of A Guy

Book to the Future

More book than a mad 'orse

crossjover

The Tattletales of the Twister

Apoorv

A sidekick blog just to record my thoughts

The Ink Stain

Hi everyone! This is my blog, and this is where I post all of my stories. Writing is my favorite thing to do, and I love nothing more than this. I would appreciate it if you took the time to read my stories! If you like the blog, please share it with more people. Thank you!

Here

words on a page

subtlescrap

Gaurav jindal`s blog

writingwingsforyou

Marie Lukasik Wallace ~ passionate about life and writing and all things creative and poetic!

Steady Eye Shaky Bow

A girl aiming to find herself as she battles Rheumatoid Arthritis and the trials of being a teenager.

Something Like a Storybook

This is where Morgan Bradham shares stuff.

Maxima

Electronic thoughts Follow me and enjoy !

Soul Gatherings

Spiritual Moments in the Human Experience

The Fires Inside

A Literary Soul Scorching The Earth

The Breakdown of Taboo

Is Taboo Dying?

My Oeuvre

There is no agony other than bearing a untold story inside you.

Raised by Wolves

Selected musings of an Atlanta author.

Fall Into The Sky

And they danced with star-spangled eyes to music that only they could hear.

mindlessfloyd

A collection of nonsensical words thrown together

Maze of Musings

"Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an an enormous reward. You will have created something." - Kurt Vonnegut

jennalovestherain

I wait for rain, for the breath of heaven to descend.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,081 other followers

%d bloggers like this: