One of the writers whose portraits I use for my screen saver, Norman Mailer, has died aged 84 of renal failure, according to the BBC. This short video obituary is pretty much on-the-money: quite a likeable, gregarious, opinionated and controversial figure who broke noses figuratively and literally, but I can’t think of another writer who used English in quite the same way. I reviewed a couple of his books for Spike Magazine — Ancient Evenings and Of A Fire On The Moon — both of which I can recall vividly even years after reading them. I’m still trying to recover from the magnificent Harlot’s Ghost. You’ll get a good sense of Mailer from this mid-1980s Don Swaim interview. Not sure what more I can say without sounding trite. One of America’s greatest writers is gone.