X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Bookends

Bookends: Disarming but disingenuous

14 April 2012

9:00 AM

14 April 2012

9:00 AM

At first glance, Be the Worst You Can Be (Booth-Clibborn Editions, £9.99) by Charles Saatchi (pictured above with his wife, Nigella Lawson) seems a rather distinguished book, with its gilt pages bound in what feels like genuine Gnomitex, and this impression persists until one begins to read it.

The title page explains the format — ‘Charles Saatchi answers questions from journalists and readers’ — and the first page sets the tone: ‘If you had a bumper- sticker on your car,’ asks a journalist or reader, ‘what would it be?’ And our modern Maecenas replies: ‘Jesus loves you. But I’m his favourite.’ (Boom boom!) So it’s not a distinguished book. It’s a toilet book.

[Alt-Text]


Nothing wrong with that, of course. My favourites in the genre are Bacon’s Essays and Thackeray’s Book of Snobs. And it’s quite witty to dress up a toilet book in Bible livery, and appropriate to the author’s twin careers in advertising and the art trade. The trouble is, as toilet books go, this one is a stinker. The kindest thing one could say is that it lives up to its title.

The most pertinent question is, ‘Why do you want to answer all these questions from people?’ Saatchi’s reply is disarming but disingenuous: ‘I can’t write. I can handle bits of simple-minded advert copy or a poster slogan, so answering questions is about all I’m good for.’ Yes, but why? Out of monstrous vanity, or a disinterested love of meretricious rubbish, or both? Not for the money, surely? Which raises another question: why would anyone buy this book?

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close