Category Archives: Americas, Russia

Burgess’s view of the Hollywood muck-heap

Anthony Burgess wrote in the course of a book review in ’84: ‘The snarling, whining, pampered, analphabetic humanoids of Hollywood emerge as garbage irrelevantly gilded with adventitious photogeneity.’


Burgess wrote in You’ve Had Your Time, Being the Second Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess that his visit to Canada had been ‘a great refreshment, a honeymoon, and a confirmation that the British Commonwealth worked. Even the haired barefoot young were civilised.’

Sex tourism in Leningrad


In the Hotel Astoria, Burgess’s wife Lynne collapsed, as she had in Singapore. She was taken to hospital, where she remained for an extended period. Burgess seized the opportunity, as he had in Singapore, to taste the sexual resources of the place in which he found himself, in this case the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The unrestrained rutting is extensively documented in Honey for the Bears (1963) and You’ve Had Your Time, Being the Second Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess (1990).

New York

In the early 1970s, the Burgess family — AB, Liana, Andrea, and their Ethiopian maid — lived at Apartment 10D, 670 West End Avenue, in New York in the USA.


Burgess writes in his autobiography:

I foresaw, and said so, that

  • student indiscipline
  • victimisation of the faculty, and
  • the elevation of racial rights above the demands of scholarship

were going to degrade the study of the liberal arts, kill the departments of humanities, and leave the real work in the hands of the students of computer engineering.

The Caribbean

Requests from commerce, Burgess writes in You’ve Had Your Time, Being the Second Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess, are best rejected by

asking for an exorbitant fee, travel by Concorde, and a hotel suite. But to the great firms and combines, money is better paid to me than to the taxman, and I find myself hoist. Yet demands for maximal comfort cannot always be met by the promoters: one can find oneself in the absent hands of strikers or frustrated by one’s stupidity as a traveller.’

He gives an example of what he calls this dual derangement.

Burgess speaking in ’72

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-21-29-03Burgess on

  • being a teacher
  • the revolutionary firing squad
  • Nausicaä
  • university lecturers who ‘get down with the kids’
  • the young
  • tabulae rasae
  • how the novelist uses experience
  • the lessons of the past
  • Homer
  • the need to avoid cynicism

Burgess interviewed in the USA

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-09-45-461971. Burgess on

  • the impossibility of writing in London
  • attempting to discover something about what Shakespeare was really like
  • the pretence of certain clergymen about Shakespeare
  • his alleged nervous collapse in Borneo
  • being accused of letting the side down by failing to write costively
  • being hounded out of Brunei for political reasons
  • the right not to be aborted
  • the pub
  • the impossibility of writing in Dublin
  • pubescent creative efforts
  • the hard-heartedness of the writing profession
  • his motherfucking novel

Burgess interviewing in ’74

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-22-43-10Burgess on

  • Orwell’s A Clergyman’s Daughter
  • micturition
  • fellow Lancastrian Stan Laurel
  • Enderby
  • the stage
  • the writer’s trade
  • candour
  • losing his virginity
  • the importance of lying
  • the novelist’s unhealthy lifestyle
  • Henry James
  • the reader over his shoulder
  • prolificacy
  • producing a second work
  • martyrdom
  • what the fiscal tyrants have wrought

Burgess interviewed in ’71

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 21.44.35Burgess on

  • that Friday worn-out feeling after a week of hard work
  • the game of American football
  • his house in Princeton
  • how to deal with the aggrieved parent of a student with poetic aspirations
  • Elizabethan English
  • how Shakespeare spoke
  • being of Irish extraction
  • being a northerner
  • Shakespeare’s genius
  • how his pianoplaying father got the sack after an unfortunate incident at the cinema
  • trying to be a composer
  • his late start as a writer
  • the problem of Künstler Schuld
  • the creative demon
  • a moose and a mouse
  • contrasts between London and New York
  • his novel A Clockwork Orange
  • the vigour of the American language