Russell Smith Quotes

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A song is a short composition for voice and instruments. It is a piece of sung poetry set to music. It is usually only a few minutes long.
— Russell Smith

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More Russell Smith Quotes

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A suit is just a suit: a practical garment, not a ceremonial robe; it can be worn out to dinner with friends or for a visit to an art gallery. Its beauty and craftsmanship are utterly wasted if you think of it as something magical and symbolic.

Russell Smith

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Ah, the intractable Canadian problem: Winter and finery are basically incompatible.

Russell Smith

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All coffee shops now have WiFi. Why bring a book when you could be wittily attacking some idiot columnist on Twitter, or responding to your date requests, or posting a picture of your foot? All of that is more gripping and immediate and social than books.

Russell Smith

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An Indian tribe is sovereign to the extent that the U.S. permits it to be sovereign.

Russell Smith

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Anyone who has set out to invent a purely imaginary story knows that the whole thing is fantasy, from beginning to end; there must be a sense of magic created about the most restrained of naturalism.

Russell Smith

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Anything that encourages a boy to open a book, in a world of more violent and therefore more compelling video games, is something I'm going to pay for.

Russell Smith

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Calls for the simplification of abstract or allusive art have always come from governments suspicious of artists themselves. This is why totalitarian regimes have always legislated some form of realism.

Russell Smith

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Canadian writers don't live in gated mansions; you can just talk to them when you see them lining up at the Second Cup.

Russell Smith

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Conformism is essential to the group coherence and 'spirit.' The whole impetus behind tribalism of this kind is conservative: Belonging to the tribe is defined by opposition to other tribes. Our tribe, and its traditional ways, is superior to other tribes because it is ours.

Russell Smith

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Even in early adulthood, men can't be told what to wear; they can only be subtly moved by example, encouragement, and a generally sophisticated atmosphere.

Russell Smith

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Everyone likes to hear that their eccentricities and their addictions are simply evidence of their sensitive artistic nature.

Russell Smith

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Fashion has always been in conflict with convention. Style involves some knowledge of both. But you can pretty much forget these seasonal injunctions.

Russell Smith

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From its beginning, fan fiction has been written mostly by women. Originally, this was because of a dearth of interesting female characters in conventional sci-fi.

Russell Smith

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Frosh-week songs are meant to be offensive because offensive is rebellious.

Russell Smith

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Guys think that the military associations of camo are going to make them look tough, as if they might just break out a shotgun and take down a passing duck at any given moment. I'm not so sure.

Russell Smith

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Have you noticed the people most likely to be up in arms about governments apparently spying on us tend to be the most non-private people you know? The people launching petitions and wailing about Big Brother and data collection are most likely to be the most constant self-presenters.

Russell Smith

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Here is a fundamental conflict in educated society: We are not supposed to value beauty so highly, and yet who can defend against its sheer power to move, its rhetorical force?

Russell Smith

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I am indeed completely nuts, but that doesn't mean I don't care about how I look. Sometimes, I admit, I will privilege appearance over comfort.

Russell Smith

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I am so sick of being exhorted, as a writer, to improve the world by representing it in a more hopeful way.

Russell Smith

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I dislike turtlenecks at the best of times, as they are always unflattering to the imperfect male physique, but when worn in combination with a v-neck sweater, they say 'Grandpa' louder than any other item of clothing.

Russell Smith

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I don't see my artist friends as any more neurotic or addiction-prone than the others. The roommates I have had who were into triathlons or environmentalism were just as crazy as the poets, just as prone to tears over gardening or air conditioners, just as ready to kite a cheque or binge on cookie dough.

Russell Smith

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I have argued about the future of fiction with jaded novelists, far-seeing postmodernists, technologists, television critics. The argument that future generations will not know the pleasures of the novel has been a staple of book reviewing since at least 1960.

Russell Smith

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I have never, ever, not once, met a writer who said he or she would never read a mystery or a story set in some imagined future.

Russell Smith

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I was given a thick paperback copy of the 'Guinness Book of Records' when I was 11 years old, and I read it gluttonously, cover to cover, paying special lip-smacking attention to all the incredibly gruesome chapters about the violence of human history.

Russell Smith

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I went to Queen's - a fine university with the proudly stupidest frosh week in the country. This was, when I was there, supposed to be somehow evidence of a higher social class.

Russell Smith

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I would rather be nuts than unattractive.

Russell Smith

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I'm in favour of hipster androgyny: Any trend that permits men to rebel against strict gender rules of appearance is going to make the world a more expressive and sensitive place for all of us.

Russell Smith

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If people didn't read books on the subway, underground journeys would be dreary.

Russell Smith

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If you define eccentricity as creativity, then yes, creativity is eccentricity.

Russell Smith

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If you tell your husband or boyfriend for his whole life that he needn't worry about his clothes, that he couldn't possibly understand them, that they are a woman's affair, then you can hardly complain that he doesn't have any style sense. You all make this bed.

Russell Smith

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In the best stories, people are morally complex; they are flawed. We read them because the world is flawed, and we want to see it truthfully represented. And because it can be thrilling to be shocked and upset, and even to feel, for chilling moments, what it's like to be a bad person.

Russell Smith

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Increasingly, to dismiss any popular artistic style is seen as the worst kind of snobbery. And snobbery, it goes without saying, is unacceptable in a diverse and democratic world.

Russell Smith

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Indeed, the whole point of the man bun, I have surmised, is to assert a high proficiency at yoga. There are no yoga-achievement badges, no coloured belts like judo, so the male yoga expert needs some other kind of visible symbol.

Russell Smith

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It's great that I can look up a fact instantly on my cellphone, but I miss the days in my room with a dog-eared, text-heavy paperback, immersed in the statistics of crime and punishment and lunacy, completely alone with the narrative of human depravity.

Russell Smith

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Kindle Worlds is a clever way to monetize a formerly underground trend, and to enable its participants to be remunerated. But it will be of no interest to writers with any literary ambition, as its constraints are designed to stymie even the most rudimentary impulses - even the first flickering of a dangerous originality.

Russell Smith

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Men over 60 often think that if they wear athletic shoes - soft-soled referee shoes or hiking shoes or actual running shoes - then they will look more youthful. The contrary is true.

Russell Smith

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Most critics of gender division are women, and they're worried about girls and the roles presented for them by gendered entertainments. They are quite right to be. Telling girls that the cars and the guns are beyond their domain of expertise, and that they should content themselves with clothes and friendships, is limiting.

Russell Smith

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Most men are petrified of standing out in any way or being thought superficial.

Russell Smith

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My father was a graduate student at Oxford in the early 1960s, where the conventions and etiquette of clothing were crucial to the pervasive class consciousness of the place and time.

Russell Smith

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My son craves picture books about Transformers and Ninja Turtles and the Hulk; they show one fantastic creature smashing or zapping another into smithereens on page after page. They are dull and ugly and show no interesting stories or models of conflict resolution or character building.

Russell Smith

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No matter how fine your suit and your shoes, you will remind everyone that you are not yet a grownup man by wearing them with your old college knapsack, in its nasty, nylon glory.

Russell Smith

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No surprise here: Pop music is by far the most conservative art form there is.

Russell Smith

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One of the qualities essential to writing exciting stories, whether for page or screen, is an ability to abandon one's morality. We simply cannot be good writers and good people. One must be able to access one's darkest self, one's venality and pettiness and murderousness.

Russell Smith

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Only a tiny portion of music history involves a singer and a lyric. Songs in music are generally thought to be a minor form.

Russell Smith

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Periods of nostalgia are impossible to predict or explain.

Russell Smith

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Personally, I see little distinction between an artistic mentality and criminality. You couldn't possibly create a compelling story without some wickedness or some fascination with the disgusting. Being good is a hindrance to a writer.

Russell Smith

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Possibly the strangest book ever made, the 'Codex Seraphinianus' is an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, with illegible calligraphy - it is written in an alphabet no one can understand - and surreal drawings of odd beasts and machines.

Russell Smith

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Sadly, I don't really believe in the idea of timeless fashion. It's an oxymoron. If 'classic fashion' really never changed, we'd all still be wearing togas.

Russell Smith

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Songs are great. I love songs. I sing them in the shower sometimes. They can be poignant or cheery or angry, and they can have catchy and satisfying melodies. There's nothing wrong with songs.

Russell Smith

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A song is a short composition for voice and instruments. It is a piece of sung poetry set to music. It is usually only a few minutes long.

Russell Smith