Keith Talent is a Crook and Cheat

 From Artillery, Vol. 5, Issue 3, January/February 2011

Dear Editor,

I just read your article about the Tom of Finland theft . It was a good read, but I was suprised that you didn’t mention one juicy fact that U.S. audiences might enjoy. Keith Talent Gallery takes its name from a fictious character from the Martin Armis novel London Fields. In the novel, Talent is a petty crook and cheat — just like the gallery owners, messrs, Clarkin and Pittuck turned out to be.

Alun Williams, Brooklyn, NY

Comment by SHARP  – More on the fictional character, “Keith Talent”

London Fields is a black comic novel murder mystery by British writer Martin Amis.

The characters have few, if any, redeeming features.

Recently arrived in London, he immediately meets Keith Talent, a cheat (i.e. a small-time criminal)…

Keith regularly cheats on and abuses his wife. He regularly sleeps with an underage girl in return for cash payments to her mother. He drinks, gambles, and takes part in burglaries and semi-violent crime (although he is unable to follow through with actual violent crime). He is addicted to pornography and television to the extent that he is unable to distinguish reality from what is shown on the screen. He has raped several women in the past (including his wife).

A witless, wife-beating darts enthusiast, ”Keith cheated people with his limousine service at airports and train stations; he cheated people with his fake scents and colognes at the pavement stalls of Oxford Street and Bishopsgate . . . he cheated people with non-pornographic pornography in the back rooms of short-lease stores. . . . Keith earned three times as much as the Prime Minister and never had any money, losing heavily every day at the turf accountants on Portobello Road. . . .

“Keith Talent was a bad guy. Keith Talent was a very bad guy. You might even say that he was the worst guy. But not the worst, not the very worst ever. There were worse guys. Where?”


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