In the days before Comment Is Free, the author AL Kennedy provided entertainment to the masses with her Guardian columns, denunciations of the Bush/Blair axis of evil leavened with her particular fetishes - blood, Christians, reality TV, depleted uranium. Their fascination for evil right-wing bloggers was the sense that at any moment her head might go bang. Some of her columns seemed exceeding close to the edge.
But the pleasure was always a little tinged with guilt. As I wrote in 2004 :
Reading AL Kennedy's Guardian output is a little like watching the Stooges during Iggy's most wasted period, or more recently Shane MacGowan or Pete Doherty - the edge is the feeling that you're watching someone falling to bits right in front of you.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.
She's doing stand-up comedy these days, as well as apparently writing a WWII novel which (yawn) is all about Iraq. As the Times put it, 'hearing AL Kennedy is doing stand-up at the Edinburgh festival is a little like hearing Morrissey has been cast in Singin’ in the Rain'. Getting mixed reviews ('Emo Philips's lost sister' said the Evening Standard, advising her to 'stick to the day job') - and the depleted uranium fetish is alive and well.
Where was I ? She was on Radio 4's ghastly liberal Front Row (RealAudio, till next Wed, last item) arts prog the other night - and the presenter 'licked ass' in traditional FR style - telling her how brave she was.
"That's not bravery", said our heroine, "the audience aren't allowed to kill me. Going to the shops in Beirut - that's bravery".
Grudging respect, sister !
(It's probably just as well she's not on CiF. I think she'd get ripped to shreds.)