Darling Poppycock

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Darling Poppycock was a novel krozruch worked on at university. It attempted to take the mood of the late nineties and (pre-9/11) early noughties.

From Radical Transparency

From the introduction on Radical Transparency:

"So called because of a comment made by a key character upon the death of one of his favourite actors. This was a 'lovey', a true British theatre type, a remnant of the empire days who would call everybody "darling". Film had moved on, however, and when he returned to film-making, it was in a series of State of the Nation pieces where, initially ironically, he played bad boy parts, of people who had lived a little, often in a 'Little Boxes' straight life, but had by now seen too much. I saw him perhaps as something like a Charlie Watts if he hadn't survived the 80s. Only, the actor himself wasn't so in control of it all, wasn't so capable of, like Havel, we are told, observing the process in order to better portray it. And so he starts getting these roles for real, and believes it could still do for his career what Bogie's getting typecast as a tough guy did for him. He gets into shooting up smack, and starts taking the method a little bit too seriously, as did Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger. Late on, he realised what this was and that he no longer had the will to control it. He took it, in his way, aristocratically, though you'd have to squint to see the resemblance to Christopher Tiejan's father or those Chevkovian aristocrats drinking themselves to death. Let's say he took to heroin as a lifestyle, if not by then what you call a lifestyle choice since it's easier in than out, and that he would shoot up and then record himself reading and variously commenting upon Confessions of an English Opium Eater and obscure contemporary poetry. By the end of this period it was rumoured that there was often nowhere his veins would take but in his penis. Baz, the [anti-] hero of the piece, loved this guy but had to cover up some expressions of sympathy, let alone hero-worship, with snark. Upon watching the news (which he commented on cynically day after day), and seeing that this old actor had died, perhaps after a drug overdose, he said "poppycock, darling", hiding his feelings of something like grief and also recognition.

I worked on Darling Poppycock at university, in my second year, 2000 - 2001, once I had changed from English and Philosophy to Politics, with a focus on political philosophy. I had read Turgeniev's Fathers and Children and it had affected me deeply and I figured I had something to say about the habits of snark and the modish refusal to commit to saying anything that I linked to postmodern relativism at the time but might well have been something else.

Looking it up now, I see that the Dandy Warhol's Not if You Were the Last Junky on Earth was released aroound that time and then, though they didn't much enter my consciousness at the time, the Libertines were doing the rounds in London, and so something might have been in the air. I remember now too that Baz was, in part, me. A fried I have not, I think, named yet, had written a story (and that was a big thing for me as I took it all so seriously and could finish nothing) and he had written our lives, basically, with me, or a character based upon what he could see as me, commenting cynically on the news. This thing was deep even then because this was a moral audit. Not the first time, of course, and even Love Letter Bombs and of Rice and Zen went deep in their way, but often when I have looked back, this was the first serious attempt I tend to recognise as a breakthrough of sorts, though the breakthrough in writing itself would come, if at all, many years later.

I don't know how good it could have been as a novel, but if I could have held it together enough to shake off some of the philosophical crap with a second, third, fourth draft, it might have come to something. Certainly it was one of the first creative abortions that meant a lot to me, that really began to hurt. I have decided that it would be inappropriate to license Darling Poppycock with anything other than a copyright license."