This is the second volume of The Smoking Diaries wherein our author-cum-protagonist, Simon Gray, answers the eternal question: What is a jouncer? Nope, I'm not going to give it away. You'll just have to read this very funny book to find out. Also, you'll find out what it's like to have Harold Pinter direct a play (in this case, Gray's The Old Masters)and also learn interesting tips on how to write a play. Indeed, Gray has some fascinating observations about Shakespeare. Here's a sample:
How could I possibly conclude a play, after a long, too long, scene between the two main characters - a kind of clash-of-the-Titans scene - with an interminable scene between two minor characters, on whom I actually proposed to bring down the curtain, leaving the two major characters, the leading actors, in the dressing room, no doubt glumly hoping that the audience would remember them when they came on stage to take their bow? Only Shakespeare could get away with such slapdashery, and he wouldn't have spent months labouring over it. Perhaps that's another definition of genius. It doesn't waste time when doing things badly, it does them at the double.
And that's a good working definition for The Smoking Diaries as well: full of slapshdashery, written on the double, but still endlessly amusing.