Does Martin Amis have no friends who can have a quiet word with him? No sooner has he finished rubbishing that increasingly large and influential section of society, the elderly, who, he recently informed us "stink" (subtlety always his hallmark) than he turns his attention to his fellow writers. Prospect magazine in a preview of an interview it is about to publish with the Great Writer offers us a view of the second rate talents against whose mediocrity the talent of Amis shines out more brightly: "Coetzee, for instance—his whole style is predicated on transmitting absolutely no pleasure,” he explained. “I read one and I thought, he’s got no talent. But the denial of the pleasure principle has got a lot of followers.” How did we get here – to a world where Coetzee is declared to have no talent and Amis is fêted? Answers on a postcard please.