Young Southpaw has his first repeat guest with The Black Watch’s John Andrew Fredrick. Always a good time with the elegantly loquacious Mr. Fredrick, talking about Nabokov, tennis, the new Black Watch album ‘Fromthing Somethat’, the possibility that Rachel Cusk, Epiphone Guitars, The Ocean Blue, & Congress are all listening to this episode together, and much much more
Young Southpaw: Speaking of secret messages and Nabokov, I re-read ‘The Vane Sisters’ last night.
John Andrew Fredrick: Yeah, that’s a powerful one. That’s the kind of short story along the lines of a number of others of his, like ‘Spring In Fialta’ for instance, or other things, any given Chekov story, or lots of Katherine Mansfield, that you could read throughout your life and many, many times and find so much to be bewildered by and in awe of and in the presence of just wondrousness as well. Did you love it once again? I’m sure
YS: Oh yeah, and you notice little things more every time. And it’s about those little things, just finding the wonder in the ‘glass-blown minutiae’, the line that he ascribes to Cynthia Vale.
JAF: Yeah, it’s one of my favourites of his, and one that I think ‘okay, let me brace myself’ when I sit down to read it. Cause Nabokov’s on my top shelf. If you look up there (points to bookcase) you can see at the very top that he’s there. And Henry James and Proust right below him. Yes, absolutely. And he talked very sincerely, as sincere as he could be with interviewers, about the ways in which he wrote to amuse himself. And somebody with such a towering brain, I daresay he would have to invent a certain amount of games for his delight, thinking solely, as he remarked many a time in Strong Opinions that he really writes with nobody but himself, an ideal reader, in mind. That’s not to say that it’s all solipsistic, although he’s been accused of that. I think that he’s not alone. Robert Smith has said many a time about Cure songs that when he wants to hear a great song, without hubris he’d say ‘I write one’. And I can really relate to that because I do write both songs and stories in order to please myself. And I do the same thing when I paint something, to have something that I really want to look at or I’ll toss it.