Buoyed to hear the always fascinating Martin Amis differentiate himself from his grumpy old dad Kingsley thus: “He was very impatient with babies in public places, going ‘Shhhuddup’ under his breath in restaurants. But I am very keen on babies.”
The revelation of Amis Snr’s intolerance of modern irritations like visible babies will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read his novels.
Brilliantly funny, they are also clearly the product of an increasingly crotchety man who saw ‘the pram in the hall’ as an unwelcome distraction from a real man’s business of drinking and talking about skirt. It’s cheering that his equally sex-obsessed son is not just a greater talent, but a softer, child-friendly version of the old git.
As a working-from-home mum who enjoys sitting next to the first person to tut when I push my buggy into my local cafe, I’m heartened to know Marty would greet me with a smile.
If the Amis’ represent the evolution of intellectual British man (and who better?), this is welcome proof of progress.