I've long known that Martin Amis is considered one of the unreconstructed hedonists of British letters, but it wasn't until I shared a train car with him on a journey from deepest Wales to London that I believed it. Every three or four stops, which on a train like that means every 10 or 15 minutes, Amis—half-grizzled, half-impish—stood and walked to the sliding doors, then alighted onto various near-empty platforms to drag hastily at cigarettes. When, after 30 seconds, the train threatened to start off again, he hopped back on, flicking the barely consumed cigarette to the pavement—a fresh smoke for each stop. How was this man going to survive the smoking ban that was coming to England in a mere two months? Moreover, how did I happen to be sitting close enough that I could... More >>>