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Andrew O'Hagan Quotes
- Page 2
High culture isn't what it used to be.
In Britain, the great hidden secret of talking animals and children's literature is how political it was in its bones, beneath the obvious cuteness.
Like children all over the world, by the age of 10 I'd come to believe that most of the really humane creatures were not really human at all.
The idea that people in novels should be more sympathetic than people in life simply baffles me.
As an old creative industry full of cruelty and moral sense, British journalism once flourished on the imperative that people required the truth in order to survive. But people don't require that now. They want sensation and they want it for nothing.
I was 10 when I realised I couldn't stand football. I'd tried, obviously, before this - no one wants to give in to social pariah-hood without a fight. I had stood frozen on pitches, done some running about and shouted a lot, as though I cared.
Events in America show the extent to which democracy there is fuelled by populism - Barack Obama's victory is a manifestation not of Washington's need for change, but of America's. That is not how democracy works in England.
I had always been literary, in the sense of loving poetry and discovering novels, but I found my voice, as they say, in an office full of elderly people who looked after blind ex-servicemen.
Everybody has an idea of the kind of society they'd like to live in, and I would like to live in one where our senior politicians were spirited and original and possibly even good at what they do.
I've been asked which of the other arts novel-writing is most like, and I have come to believe it is acting. Of course, in terms of pattern it can be like music, in terms of structure it can be like painting, but the job to me is most like acting.
I always knew I would come to London. I loved Glasgow, but it seemed filled with echoes of my parents' lives, and sometimes you just want a city of your own.
The working class of England today have no vision of society beyond the acquisitive - no version of themselves or their habits as anything other than transitional, on their way up or on their way out. The working class, at best, is a waiting room for people who aim to become middle class if possible.
We now live in the era of fake consensus, or phoney populism, a condition in which galleries and homes are seen to succeed best where they manage feelings of non-difference.
When I look back at my childhood on the Ayrshire coast, I recall a basic devotion to the idea that human nature and national character are as unknowable as the weather's rationale.
When I was very young, I thought the theatre was a place where higher beings went about their celestial business, as if they knew nothing of ordinary life and its political mysteries.
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