Monday, February 22, 2010

From The Sunday Times
February 21, 2010
Anna Ford tells Martin Amis to see a shrink

Left - Anna Ford and Martin Amis at a party in 1983. Now, she says, he is a 'curmudgeon'

Story by Richard Brooks, Arts Editor

AN attempt by Martin Amis to defend his reputation against the media “recklessly distorting” his views backfired spectacularly this weekend when Anna Ford, the broadcaster, claimed he had “social autism”.
Instead of rallying support against his critics, a self-justifying article by the novelist so angered Ford, his acquaintance of 30 years, that she went public with accusations that he had embroidered his past for public consumption.
“He needs to see a psychiatrist who, I’m sure, would have a field day with him,” said Ford. “I really don’t think he is able to relate to people properly or understands their feelings. It’s all about how he sees things.”

Ford, a former BBC and ITN news presenter, was speaking yesterday following a letter to a daily newspaper in which she angrily criticised Amis over his treatment of her late husband and their daughter.
Ford wrote in response to Amis’s article, in which he claimed he was repeatedly misrepresented, for example, in recent reports about his views on feminism and “euthanasia booths” for the terminally ill.

Ford’s rejoinder is based on two episodes from her own life.
When her husband Mark Boxer, a former editor of The Sunday Times Magazine, was dying in 1988, Amis visited him at their home in West London. He not only smoked over the sick man but also overstayed his welcome, Ford said.
What most infuriated Ford was that, as she later found out, Amis had lingered because he was “filling in time before [he] caught a plane at Heathrow
Amis deepened the insult by writing an article about his tears on leaving Boxer. Ford’s letter states that she saw no evidence of this.

The second occasion, according to Ford, 66, who retired in 2006, was when he came to dinner one evening to meet her and Boxer’s daughter, Claire.
Amis was her godfather but did so little in the role that Claire was unaware of the fact.
The author paid “scant attention” to his goddaughter, then a student, according to Ford’s letter to The Guardian. Claire, now in her twenties, has never since been contacted by Amis.
Read more at The Times.

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