I love podcasts. It's become something of an addiction. One of my favorites is "Stop Podcasting Yourself". I highly recommend it.
On this week's show, the hosts, Graham Clark and Dave Shumka, asked listeners for suggestions for a literary figure to be a part of the League of Extraordinary Blokes. If you're not sure what a bloke is, think of Jason Statham.
Anyway, Graham and Dave started out just creating a list of blokes, then it morphed into creating a musical band composed of blokes, then blokey scientists, and now a shout-out for blokey literary figures. As someone with literary aspirations (failed, heartbreaking, soul-crushing, just-got-another-polite-rejection-letter-this-week kind of aspirations) I thought I'd share my two cents. Now, I'm not a bit blokey. I don't cheat on my wife, I rarely get a chance to drink, and I'm a pacifist, so bar fights are kind-of off limits. In fact, take Jason Statham, give him some glasses, remove his muscles, and take away his everything-that-makes-him-a-bloke, and you've got me. Basically, we share a hairstyle. But I can think of some writers who are blokey.
And alive. They have to be alive.
My first suggestion is Max Berry. He wrote Jennifer Government, a fabulously blokey book that will crack you up while it gives the middle finger to multinational corporations and the free market utopia they'd like the create. And how do I know Max Berry is a bloke? Just look at him.
My second suggestion is Salman Rushdie.
This guy is so blokey he pissed off the Ayatollah Khomeini and had to go into hiding, where he hung out with guys like Bono from U2. Meanwhile, he married a supermodel, got divorced, and is rumored to have moved on to some other Bollywood starlet. This guy has won a Booker Prize, and I'll bet he would also headbutt you if pushed to it. Super-blokey!
The most blokey writer I can think of who wouldn't qualify isn't Earnest Hemmingway. He was just a dick. Sure, he was a genius, but he was a jerk, which isn't the same thing as being a bloke. No, the most blokey ex-writer is Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
He reportedly thought of the idea for the brilliant, absurdist five-part-trilogy when he got drunk and passed out on a hilltop. When he woke up and looked at the stars, the premise came to him. Now that's blokey! Unfortunately, he died at 49. Was his death blokey? A bar fight? Headbutting a member of the paparazzi? Sleeping with a supermodel he'd just rescued from an evil gang leader? No. He got off the treadmill at the gym and had a heart attack. Not blokey. Still, when he told the story of his moment of inspiration, he originally said it happened in Australia, then changed his story, claiming it happened in Spain "because it's easier to spell." Now that's a bloke!