52 Quotes of John Niven

” Non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia can only celebrate Valentine’s Day behind closed doors. Apparently, this has led to a huge black market for flowers and wrapping paper. “
” I am, it is safe to say, not a practical man. The few attempts I’ve made to hammer in a nail have ended in broken thumbs, burst pipes, and water spraying everywhere with the house on fire. “
” You’ll never even catch me doing that ‘soft atheist’ thing of very softly singing along or just mouthing the words, looking down at a hymn sheet every few seconds to check the words. To state the obvious, as an atheist, the hymn sheet is no use to me. So I just stand there, looking straight ahead or up at the ceiling, and do nothing. “
” I spend a fair bit of time in Los Angeles, and there is much I love about the place – the weather, the food, the beaches and the golf. And a few things I don’t. Like the way an enormous number of mentally ill people seem to be forced to live on the streets with little or nothing in the way of government assistance. “
” Like measles, the reading bug is best caught when you are young. “
” It has long been known that if you want to see me turn into a raging, snarling beast, then all you have to do is use any combination of the words ‘chill out,’ ‘chilling,’ or – my maximum red rag – ‘chillax.’ “
” I love watching the Oscars and seeing everybody saying all that ‘it’s an honour just to be nominated’ rubbish. Then you see their faces when the split screen comes up as the winner is announced – the losers are all smiling through gritted teeth and looking as if they just swallowed half a pound of soor plooms. “
” I love England. I live and work here. My children have grown up here. I see no conflict between this and praying that my countrymen in Scotland never have to live another day under Conservative rule from London. “
” The Confederate flag was the flag of the American South during the civil war. It was the flag of people who were fighting against their own government in an attempt to retain slavery. It was the flag of people who thought slavery was no problem, who thought slavery was a good thing. “
” I’ve forgotten the birthdays of everyone close to me. I have forgotten to pay bills, file tax returns on time, go to meetings, and, every week, I forget to put the bins out. But I have never forgotten I want my lunch. “
” In your teens and twenties, death doesn’t exist. In your thirties, you glance down the road occasionally. But then in your forties, it becomes a full-time job looking the other way. “
” I am very fortunate. I am a glass-half-full eternal optimist type to the point of being a moron. But I would never presume to know how hard it goes for others. How, for some people, just getting though the day is an incredible effort that can hardly be borne. “
” I go to the Caribbean for a month every January with hand baggage only. All you need is a passport and a credit card. “
” I’ve never understood why the end of a relationship – especially one involving children – has to immediately signal a descent into hatred and toxicity. “
” If you put a frog in boiling water, it’ll jump straight out. If you put it in cold water and gradually bring it to the boil, it’ll sit right there until it dies. Scotland has been sitting in England’s gradually boiling water for so long that many people are used to it. “
” From everything I can read about Aussie spiders, it seems like all they really like doing is hiding in your house or garden or car until you ‘accidentally’ disturb them – probably by doing something crazy like putting on the shoe they are lurking in – and they can officially bite you to pieces. “
” I love being a writer. I have a great life. I get up in the morning and pad around in my dressing gown and listen to Radio 4. “
” I once read Updike after writing a first draft, and I wanted to put my own book on the fire. I’ve since learned to read utter crap while I’m writing: pulp is the thing. “
” The first book I bought with my own money as a teenager was Martin Amis’s ‘Money.’ You know that thing when you read a book and you think, ‘I’m going to have to read every word ever written by this man.’ “
” I’m very fond of Glasgow, particularly the West End. The whole stretch of the west coast of Scotland from Loch Lomond up through Mallaig to the Kyle of Localsh is so beautiful. “
” My family went to Toronto to visit relatives when I was 13 or 14. It was the first time we had ever been abroad. This was the early Eighties, and I remember the impossible glamour of air travel – my mum spending days trying to decide what she was going to wear on the plane. “
” I don’t do sports, and my idea of hell is being dragged around ruins/museums/famous buildings, so I guess I’m a beach bum. “
” I wound up becoming an A&R man at London Records in the 1990s, during the boom of Britpop, the last great gold rush of the music industry. I saw incredible greed and terrible behaviour. I was greedy and terribly behaved. “
” Being on set is difficult for the writer. Your job is done, and you have to step back and hand it over to the director. “
” When you are a novelist, you are used to making a narrative do what you want. “
” I remembered being young in the late ’70s and early ’80s and growing up at the height of the Cold War. I remembered how scared I was of nuclear weapons, how often I though about them and about the possibility of everything and everyone I knew vanishing in a second in temperatures hotter than the centre of the sun. “
” There is a psychic cost children bear when they grow up in fear. “
” I do find the sight of small children eating very moving. Watch the way their tiny fingers clamp the cutlery. The exaggeratedly precise way they move cups or glasses to their lips. “
” If you watch a group of schoolchildren eating lunch together, you cannot help but notice how it is a comically Lilliputian version of the adult thing – the cocked eyebrows of conversation, the reaching for condiments, the shovelling of food into tiny mouths. “
” I quite like the Queen. Now, this must come as a fairly amazing statement for someone who is avowedly left wing, pro-independence and anti-monarchy, but there you go. “
” If pushed to say what I like about Elizabeth, who, as I’m sure most of you know, overtook Queen Victoria this week to become our longest-serving monarch, it would be her uncomplaining, getting-on-with-it ethic. “
” It is publication week for my new novel ‘The Sunshine Cruise Company.’ Go me! Anyway, I may as well get the shameless plug over with right away – buy it. You’ll like it. It’s about a bunch of old ladies who rob a bank. “
” I have to confess to not being a great forward planner. I’m the kind of person who regularly arranges to have dinner with five different people on the same night. “
” Certainly in the case of ‘Kill Your Friends,’ a book I wrote more than 10 years ago, I routinely meet interviewers who appear to know the book better than I do. But still, you have to talk about it. “
” You know that thing where you repeat a word over and over until it just sounds like utter gibberish? That’s what doing a day of press on a film is like. Ten interviews in a row, all asking pretty much the same questions until you find yourself giving pretty much the same answers. “
” It’s tough being a dictator, but I’ve always thought it must be tougher being a hanger-on to a dictator. The late nights spent listening to his crazed ranting, the weary rictus grin from smiling at bad jokes, the draining knowledge that one misjudged comment could land you on the chopping block. “
” I returned from my last L.A. visit to find myself tipping the scales like Homer Simpson when he tries to gain enough weight to qualify as disabled to be allowed to work from home. All I was missing was his kaftan and Fat Guy Hat. So, I decided it was time to diet. “
” When I was a boy during Thatcher, you watched elections and wept in disbelief as the whole country turned blue, Scotland turned red, and we still got the Tories. “
” I’ve often found myself looking fondly at the Valentine’s cultures in other countries. South Korea, for instance – where women must give chocolate to men. “
” I had left the music industry at the end of 2001, after 10 years, and had spent three years writing every single day – producing two unpublished novels, one abandoned novel, and three unproduced screenplays. The word ‘no’ and I were on more than nodding terms. The word ‘no’ and I were talking about going on holiday together. “
” If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people out there toiling over your unpublished manuscript, trying to make your way across that vast ocean in a bathtub, I can only say this to you: keep paddling. Well, either that or start vlogging. “
” On one level, of course, the notion of judging films or books or music against each other is completely ridiculous. Who’s to say ’12 Years A Slave’ is a better film than ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’? Or that one album in a certain genre is better than another in a completely different genre? “
” There are some sentences you cannot see yourself ever writing. ‘I heartily endorse the Conservative Party’ would be one. ‘I look forward to Justin Bieber’s new record’ would be another. “
” Forget worrying about the break-up of celebrities you don’t even know. I have long since given up trying to figure out why even my closest friends split up. “
” I’m something of a black belt at break-ups. I have had two long-term relationships in my life, both of 10 years, both resulting in children, and both very much over. Things end. It is how you manage them being over that’s key. “
” I cannot, will never, understand these couples who hate each other, who conduct open warfare in front of their children – the kind of people who have to drop the kids off at the end of the driveway in case they lay eyes on one another. At the very least, civility must reign. “
” I do shamefully little for charity, and I always talk about it when I do. “
” I can still remember my mum (a voracious, if not discriminating, reader – I have seen everything from the sublime to the ridiculous by her bed, from Ian Rankin and Elmore Leonard to Barbara Cartland and James Patterson) taking me to get my library card when I was four and not yet at school. “
” A novel, of course, is a fully self-contained work of art. You pick it up off the shelf, open it, and there it is – a whole universe waiting for you to enter. A screenplay is just a blueprint for making a movie. Until the movie is actually filmed, the script really means nothing. “
” In the end, being the writer on set is a bit like having organised a big party, but you’re not allowed to eat or drink anything. You just have to stand in the corner. “
” Among the Internet’s many gains for humanity, decreasing paranoia has not been one of them. Anything from that lump under your armpit to what’s lurking in the sea – just type it into a search engine and watch your nerves explode. “
” When my last relationship broke up, I bought a house one door along from my ex so that our daughter could continue to see as much of both of us as possible. This seems to me eminently sane and civilised. “