Gary Dexter

Surprising literary ventures | 14 December 2009

Here are two Alternative Reading Christmas gift ideas: books respect- ively by Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

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Gordon’s Way

Gordon Brown

Flowers of Bad

David Cameron

Here are two Alternative Reading Christmas gift ideas: books respectively by Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

The Gordonian offering is by an ordained minister who wants to help you with your finances. ‘Gordon Brown’s message is very clear,’ the back cover says.

The Cameronian offering is by a poet from Brooklyn, whose poems are ‘false translations’ of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. This he achieves by taking the original French verse and then transmuting it into English via a sort of wilful mishearing: ‘Tout Entière’, for example, becomes ‘Two Ton Chair’, and its first line, ‘Le Démon, dans ma chambre haute…’ becomes ‘Lime demons are out dancing.’ The back cover puts the matter in a nutshell: ‘David Cameron may very well be the best of the unknown rip-off artists of his generation.’

Gary Dexter’s latest book is Poisoned Pens: Literary Invective from Amis to Zola (Frances Lincoln, £9.99)