Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Thomas Merton and me

Posted by HC in Celibacy / Monasticism / People on 2 November 2008 | No comments ›

I have the yacht to myself. I shall use the time to remember Thomas Merton, it being close to the 40th anniversary of his death. Read more ›

Ghosting: why the novel is so very good

Posted by HC in Books / People / UK politics on 27 August 2008 | No comments ›

Robert Harris seems to understand what it is to become the shadow of a person. The ghost-writer in The Ghost is wonderfully aware that he is of less significance than those he writes-up, even if they are phoneys, or stupid or second-rate. He’s not a negligible person, but he knows his secondary place in the order of things. Journalists should all know that, and seldom do. As he passes into the world of his subject, he knows that he’s there on sufferance and briefly. He doesn’t for more than a few seconds and occasionally even bother to fantasise that this is really his world. Read more ›

Dickensian enterprise

Posted by HC in Art / Books / People on 25 August 2008 | No comments ›

It’s striking how often any thing grim about social life in Victoria’s reign is called “dickensian”. That was the word Michael Holroyd used to describe the actor Henry Irving’s “drudgery” as a clerk in his early days. (This was in a doubtless fabulous work on the actor by Britain’s greatest literary biographer, just published.) Actually, what was more striking was Holroyd’s evidence of a rather joyful dickensian entrepreneurship. Read more ›

The great – upbeat – 1950s

Posted by HC in Books / People / Travel on 7 August 2008 | No comments ›

Norman Lewis has found a very decent if slightly verbose biographer in Julian Evans. I am particularly keen on Evans’ understanding of the cultural milieu in which Lewis operated. So often we hear of England as being socially ossified, at least until the 1960s. Actually, England has never been socially rigid and it was becoming ever less so in the first half of this century. So here is a quotation from the book which may help rehabilitate the rather vibrant post-war decade. Read more ›

Awful football, the new lingua franca

Posted by HC in 'In the news...' / Controversies / People on 4 August 2008 | 1 comment ›

I am completely immune to the charms of football. It is the game which most eagerly embraced cash and abandoned sportsmanship. It encourages narcissism and spitting. The only good thing you can say for it is that it may exorcise very slightly more tribalism than it encourages. So why does the intelligentsia queue up to endorse it? Read more ›

Eric Newby on the “fuzzy-wuzzies”

Posted by HC in People / Travel on 27 July 2008 | No comments ›

Until I saw a recent BBC 4 TV documentary, I had an inadequate idea of the life of the travel writer Eric Newby. I knew he travelled in ladies’ fashion (“the apparel trade”, as friends of mine who are in it call it). But I had for some reason missed how he ran away to sea (and really sailed before the mast) before becoming known as the hardest man in his year at Sandhurst. But the real revelation was about 1970s Britain. We watched lush colour film of the great adventurer cycling round Hyde park Corner. It has always been good fun. Newby was heard saying that its was like being chased “by fuzzy-wuzzies without one’s trousers”. Read more ›

Living it large the Porritt way

Posted by HC in 'In the news...' / Boats / Monasticism / People / Travel / UK politics / US politics on 21 July 2008 | No comments ›

Every time I do something un-environmental, I think of Jonathon Porritt. He is the embodiment of my guilt. The other day, the phenomenon was given a twist by my reading a column of his. It was uppermost in a mulch of Guardian pages left behind by a passenger on a short haul flight I was taking. Read more ›

Can the Wright brothers fix climate change?

Posted by HC in 'Good Business' / Books / Controversies / People on 17 July 2008 | No comments ›

A fascinating new book, Fixing Climate, holds out hope that mankind can mop up the emissions of carbon dioxide which are over-heating the planet. There are lots of reasons to hope that the authors are right. Not the least of them is the fact that two brothers called Wright are foremost in the developments. Wouldn’t it be great if siblings once again solved a problem we have with the air? Read more ›

Yachting with Francesco da Mosto

Posted by HC in Boats / People / Sanctuary / Spirituality / Travel / TV on 8 July 2008 | No comments ›

I imagine married men find Francesco da Mosto rather tiresome. He purrs and growls like a muscular old tabby cat – obviously one well-used to prowling the alleys of his native Venice. And used, too, one somehow supposes, to having his way with female felines. Good territory for a bit of jealousy, then. In my own case, I envy much of his solo life, as in his new TV series Francesco’s Mediterranean Voyage. Read more ›