The world according to Irving; Coupland's brush-off


From National Post (June 19, 2001)

by Shinan Govani

CBC BOOK BOY EVAN SOLOMON was married over the weekend, and chances are he didn't get a wedding gift from John Irving. It's been a few years since the author of The World According to Garp kicked off a war of words with fellow scribe Tom Wolfe when he revealed his dislike of the man on Solomon's CBC Newsworld show Hot Type, but Irving is still fuming about the experience. He tells the new issue of Elm Street magazine that it wasn't so much Wolfe that made him angry, it was Solomon. "I was invited on the show to talk about the movie The Cider House Rules, to which he responded that the book was really nothing but an advertisement for the film and made a dismissive review of the book while I was sitting there." Irving now insists that whatever subject Evan turned to after that would have "prompted a few f-words from me." And then he trots out this cheery-bouncy thought: "If you look at the interview, the real question you'd ask me is why I didn't wrap the microphone around Evan Solomon's neck."

- And here's another media mushroom cloud: When Medusa magazine, a small, Vancouver-based arts glossy, approached Douglas Coupland to appear in its latest issue, devoted to West Coast writers, the Generation X-Man apparently waved it off like it was carrying E. coli. Coupland is flagrantly absent from the writer-studded issue which, as editor Andrea Warner puts it, is a bit like "staging a Grease reunion without John Travolta." So what exactly happened? Warner tells me they spent months trailing after Douglas, who eventually declined because, according to his publicist, he doesn't "engage in shameless self-promotion." Which causes Warner to ask, has Coupland "ever read his books?"

On to some showbeeswax: It's not raining men for Diane Keaton. The Annie Hall alter ego tells More magazine that after a life of relationships with the likes of Woody Allen, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, she's through with romance. "I don't really think about it very much anymore. It's probably out of the picture, you know?" the 55-year-old Keaton laments. "I remember when I was younger, I honestly believed in some ridiculous way that you didn't really lose people -- that you would find someone who would be the person you lived with until you died. Now, I understand that these are episodes we go through with people, and they don't all last."

- OK, now that I've thoroughly depressed you, here's a lollipop to suck on. There are just a few days to go before the fourth season of Sex and the City kicks off in Canada, and I have word about the latest style craze it may start. (This being a show whose audience pays as much attention to the decolletage as they do to the dialogue, and where fashion is plot.) First, Sarah Jessica Parker didn't go anywhere without a gold nameplate hanging like a noose from her neck. Then, more recently, she spawned the truck-size corsage trend. And, now, this season -- stay tuned for the ladylike, Jackie O-ish three strands of pearls. That's what SJP is wearing lots of?

- Tennis cutie Martina Hingis has found herself a love match -- the prosecutor in her highly publicized stalker trial. Chris Calkin, a 31-year-old Miami-Dade assistant state attorney, tells the Miami Herald, "Martina and I have a personal relationship -- but anything beyond that is between her and me." The legal eagle has been romancing 20-year-old Hingis for more than two months, squeals the paper.

- Martha Stewart has signed on to ladle out her autobiography. The homemaking Maharanee tells the New York Post that the publication date is 2003, and that, "really and truly, it's about my best moments. People are always asking me how did you do it and I am hoping to tell them in this book." And that, I'm pretty sure, is a threat.

Black & White Photo: Douglas Coupland; Black & White Photo: Sarah Jessica Parker