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Friday, February 10, 2006

Pulpit for Vinci Critics

Report in today's NYT about Sony's movie of the Da Vinci Code and its web site (still under construction when I tried it) "well ahead of the movie's release on May 19 — that will give a platform to some of the fiercest critics of "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, the book that is the movie's source."

I think they slightly miss the point: it's not the *movie* that'll deserve criticism but Brown's appalling literary  style.

Even before I knew of the genius but bankable miscasting of Tom Hanks, I acknowledged that it'd make one hell of a flick - if only they'd got Sophie Marceau for the sexpot.

Yes, indeed - Brown shares Stephen King's talent for wasting no time on familiarity or fondness for the alphabet and just getting on with churning out a great page-turner.

To hell with mere cartoons - why can't we mobilize some of that verve and energy from the Prophet's devotees into bands of Truss Irregulars to get equally steamed up and tinder-box ready over shoddy writing?

Hope springs eternal: perhaps by May everyone will be so thoroughly pissed-off and confused that they'll welcome a little cross-over and the two camps can swap causes.

I shall be in London so I can blog despatches from the front. Then come summer I shall be taking the azure waters round Corfu where I'm sure I can whip up discontent over those icons of St Spiridon.

Speaking of bankable casting, I wish someone had screen tested me for the Oxford-educated English prat that Brown describes with such cardboard incompetence; I'd have been perfect and it'd have silenced me in a trice.

Speaking of Albion idiots: a TV crew came out to Corfu to make mockery of the tourist English drunkards as well as root out some of the resident ex-pats for special treatment.

They fastened on Lady Holmes, flattering her with feigned interest in her famèd garden, and Mama of course agreed.

Wonderful, Lady Marjorie - oh, and since it's TV, we advise our guests to dress up a bit."

Pete and I arrived a few days later and the first we heard was Mum's hesitant, "But I never dress up for even the smartest garden tour - it just isn't practical ."

It doesn't take years dealing with these media creeps to smell a rodent: forget it, I told her. You dress like normal.

I also made a few phone calls to old pals to get some lowdown on the presenter and, sure enough, their stock in trade was to mock and lampoon.

Up turned the crew with all their fancy cameras and assistants; up turned the compère in his all-white plantation-owner's gear, complete with white hat and southern gemmun weskit.

"Oh, we thought our producer had mentioned the dress code. Not to worry, there's time to change as we set up the lighting."

Mother under strict orders to shtoom and leave the talking to her mastiff sons, Pete and I gave our most dazzling smiles and assured mein host that their interviewee was perfectly dressed for the occasion and they need lose no time getting on with the show.

The thing about real gardeners is that they have a genuine enthusiasm that shines like laser thru even the most reptilian attempts to hold them up to mockery.

Plus, most of the barbs and traps went right over darling mama's head, as she led the interviewer along her garden of paths, his white brothel creepers slipping in the mud and his fancy white hat catching on the brambles.

Not that Pete and I weren't at our most courteous and obliging. Goodness, if we'd known he'd arrive in his Colonel Sanders gear, we'd have prepared Mint Juleps instead of boring ethnic mezzès and ouzo for the crew.

One of my pals had sent me the cast list for the show, including the management team, which enabled me to ask how *was* Alan Yentob these days and Pete to extend an invite to Miranda Hughes-Hallett to get it together and take up his (fake) invite to take up his invite to visit him in Verdigliana.

"You, too - come and do a piece on me. You clearly travel with an army of fit camera wielders and muscular boom operators ... do your filming, a decent lunch, and a couple of hours weeding and digging before catching the next flight out of Pisa."

Mum: "What a splendid idea!"

Sickly looks all round.

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