Oscar Wilde was said to have spoken like the written word. His spoken sentences were elegant, perfectly structured finished pieces, though he spoke them spontaneously, in the middle of heated conversation. Certainly that is a rare gift. Wasn’t any use to him in the long run anyway.
I love uncut spontaneous interviews. Some of the best thing of this kind I’ve seen is a long interview with the Texas psychedelic punk band Butthole Surfers, in their early years. All of them reclined in a big hotel bed, most likely all stoned out of their minds. Hearing a longer uncut interview gives one a completely different feel for those involved, and you see how the conversation evolves. It may seem chaotic at first, with loose ends all over the damned place, but in the end your impression is far more cohesive. It doesn’t work as well with experienced interviewees, I find, because they start using the same formulations over and over, in order to reduce the effort they have to put in to an interview. It sounds smoother, polished, but they are using stock sentences that can be heard in thousands of interviews. Most interviewers are no better in this respect.
In any case, what got me on this tack was the following, reblogged from Sentence first. Thanks for the pointer.
“Words troubled and failed Andy Warhol,” writes Wayne Koestenbaum on the first page of his psychological portrait of the artist (Penguin Books, 2001), even though Warhol wrote many books, “with ghostly assistance”, and had a distinctive speaking style.
Koestenbaum returns several times to Warhol’s relationship with language and with time, for example noting how Warhol’s love of repetition manifested in verbal expression, and remarking on how he “distrusted language” and didn’t understand “how grammar unfolded episodically in linear time, rather than in one violent atemporal explosion”.
I want to quote one passage in particular, from later in the book. Warhol’s magazine Interview, first titled inter/VIEW and then Andy Warhol’s Interview, featured stars interviewing other stars with the results transcribed generously and precisely, without the editing that conventionally turns spontaneous speech into readable prose:
Interview magazine was Andy’s most sustained attempt, after a [a novel], to cross…
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