a neat rebuttal to the argument that journalism is prose that's only meant to be read once, this book demands frequent consultation. i spent a lot of it wondering how typical Amis is of his generation. by his late twenties, he's on amicable terms with sex, drugs and rock and roll, but is still mildly scandalised by naked sunbathing and 'too old' to enjoy a Rolling Stones concert (which is wittily trashed). in a postscript, we find that an older Amis isn't bothered by naked sunbathing, so something's changed there then. he's very worried about nuclear weapons and seems to spend a lot of time morbidly brooding over them. later generations barely give them a thought, i think - or maybe they are a constant presence in the subconscious mind, underpinning the pessimism of the age. he's in touch with his macho feelings - the flush of the poker victory and the snooker conquest - in touch with them enough to amusingly undermine them. for Amis, winning at sport matters, but not so much that he doesn't have time to acknowledge his own (relative) crapness at sport - check out some of those 'live at the Crucible' break totals. interviews with other writers always contain a refreshingly large concentration on the writer's work - in contrast to the spirit of the age, for Amis, it's the writer's work that matters, not his private life. overall, Amis's cool, observant voice drags journalism out of skim-reading terrain and into the realm of serious thought. anyone who enjoys intelligent, urbane, amusing conversation will enjoy this book.