Say what you like about Martin Amis’s novels–and most critics did when Yellow Dog was released last year–but his occasional journalism, the commissioned “colour” pieces usually contain a clutch of phrasings that reveal an aesthetic sensibility absent in most others’ hack work. In today’s Guardian, he finds an accommodating subject for his style in the autobiography of Maradona, a figure that would make Money‘s John Self cluck his tongue in disapproval. Take this paragraph, for example, as a primer in the use of comic understatement:Maradona’s anarchistic streak also reveals itself in his contempt – no, his disgust – for the law. On the occasions when he attracts the attention of the police he can barely bring himself to say why. “I was arrested, arrested!” he says, and briefly describes the ensuing “farce”; meanwhile, with a polite cough, a footnote steps in to divulge the charge (possession of cocaine). The “with a polite cough” clinches it….