For the sake of posterity, here published for the first time, is an old interview with literary editor and Prompt Arts founder Claude Barron (1965-?). Barron’s whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing, so the piece is an interesting curio…
Are you comfortable? Can I get you anything?
Coffee. Black, no sugars. I like them bitter. Bitter and black. Like my life. (Chortles)
What are you up to at the moment?
Lots of lunches. Salmon Rushdie on Tuesday, at which I confidently predict we will do much reminiscing about old lunches we used to have with Hitchens and Amis (laughs). And there’s dinners too, which are more expensive affairs.
With anyone interesting?
Did I tell you I owe a lot of tax?
So the Inland Revenue then?
Yes, the dinners are with the Inland Revenue.
So tell me about Prompt Arts.
Yes, yes, yes, it’s a Prompts website. Books, I think it’s fair to say have been my life. Love ‘em. I love the smell of them. I have them wall to wall and floor to ceiling stacked up at my house in Esher. That’s a room you don’t go in. Well you can’t go in, there’s no space between the books.
But you know what the curious thing is? I have never fucking read one! Fancy that? I somehow got away with it at school – stumbled upon this tremendous trick – Just read the blurb.
Yes, you were at Eton with David Cameron.
Physical Education – P.E. He did P.P.E and I did P.E. But the E is the important letter in that, isn’t it. Education. You cannot go wrong with a first class education. Cameron wasn’t much of a reader either. He reads people.
Could you explain?
No. Never explain. Never apologize.
No. Prompt Arts – collation of raw materials – randomly generated – outsourced ignition.
Whose idea was it?
Lazlo’s. He’s one of my clients. He’s the real talent. I’m just the stick man. I’ve got three ex-wives and I owe, quite frankly, a lot of money to the exchequer. Prompt Arts is one way of trying to earn some.
Is it working?