Sunday, 25 July 2010

Alex Higgins: Turn Him Up

I thought I saw Alex Higgins sitting at the piano this morning. Alex Higgins died yesterday. I saw him play live in a pub once (when I was young). I never learned the piano and I’m not interested in snooker, but the sight of 'Alex Higgins at the table'; it's as visually beautiful as Vespas playing table tennis, certain obscure outcrops of rock, or my personal shopper's smile of approval.
I see a lot of Higgins in the high-wire walker, Phillipe Petit. But the best place to look for him is in novels: Knut Hamsun’s, ‘Hunger’, or Radiguet’s, ‘Devil in the Flesh’. But you won’t find a truer portrait of ‘Higgins the artist’, of Higgins the twitching, chain-smoking, hollow-eyed, quick-as-a-flash, thin-as-a-pin, self-centered child/man, virtuoso that he was, than by reading ‘The Edible Woman’, by Margaret Atwood: wherever she says Duncan, read, Alex. I found him irresistible.

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