I’ve got a television now. Where is all this porn everyone is talking about? I’ve seen three bums and two pairs of titties. Martin Amis said the shops are full of porn:
Let him come to Hull [delivered with panache: shouting, arms waving].
I find it cruel to be called 60 just because you’ve been 59 for a year.
I never expected much from life but the thought that it’s near the end does terrify me. There can’t be many good bits to come.
Hull Fire: University magazine: There’s a lecture tonight on schizophrenia. I’ve half a mind to go. [Tom crumpled at the knees when he named the magazine, a silent groaning gesture.]
I don’t care about other places. Imagine me in America, poet in residence at a university there, answering questions, pretending to be me: Q: Can you discuss your techniques; why your imagery is so small? A: Search me.
I would quite like to see China, as long as I can come back the same day.
I always thought marriage is like promising to stand on one leg for the rest of one’s life. Sex is more trouble than standing for parliament.
One day I drove my car into a flood of water under a bridge, and was becalmed. It cost £58. ‘You are lucky to be alive.’ The garage mechanic found lots of things wrong… no brakes. £58!
I realised one day that all of my poems have been written in the evenings after work, and I wondered what it would be like to write in the mornings. A well-known and very good writer said to me once, ‘You are lucky, out meeting people, talking to colleagues. Writing is such a lonely thing.’ And I agreed. On waking up I always want to cut my throat, but after 15 minutes at work I want to cut somebody else’s.
Ted ‘the incredible hulk’ Hughes: I read that Ted Hughes was coming to Hull to give a reading; tickets cost £1.50 but for £4.50 people could meet him at the town hall, have tea, have their books signed. I thought I might walk up and down that day, outside the town hall, with a banner: Meet Philip Larkin for £3.95.
I heard later that a woman in his audience shrieked and vomited. I’ve never felt like shrieking. Larkin on Hughes: Crow shat on Buckingham Palace. God pissed himself.
I’ve been turning up weeds in the sodding garden; anything that looks bright and promising, I took to be a weed.
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