Sunday, May 27, 2012

Clive James


We are about to lose Clive James so soon after the loss of Christopher Hitchens. The two had to be great friends.   Like Hitchens , Clive James is writing bravely to the end.

"This month has been the launching season for my new collection of poems, Nefertiti in the Flak Tower. Not many younger people, I have been discovering, know what a flak tower is, or was. Perhaps I should have called the book something else. One of the poems in the book is called ‘Whitman and the Moth’: it might have been wiser to call the book that. Early in the launching season I was asked to read the poem aloud on that excellent radio programme Front Row. The poem is a meditation on the old poet at the point of his death and I’m afraid I found the right voice for it exactly".

Hitchens last published work Arguably is perhaps the finest collection of previously published political essays and reviews in the English language since Orwell of whom Hitchens was a great admirer and I like to think at times actually seems to channel. Given that both were atheists the notion amuses me.

hat tip : kae


  1. I'm also a fan of Hitchens. I enjoyed reading Arguably, particularly this article:

  2. Thank you for that Greek Fire

    Reading that again came at an important moment. Why am I doing this? Here's one good reason Hitchens reminds as clear as the language gets from para one. The way they treat their women. And I do mean "their women". They treat them like some kind of human livestock that are kept under wraps until it is time to ...

    I was going to say "sexual livestock" but would that be racist?

    And that's just Pakistan.

    That's disgusting right?

    It's unmanly right?

    We've talked about the silence of Western leftist feminists but what about the silence of Western leftist men?

    Here are some questions for these men.

    Come on guys? Fess up? We're talking about laws where "their" women and girls are born slaves that can slaughtered like livestock right down to the blunt knife.

    And at what point does even talking about this cross some line?

    Hitchens and freedom of speech.

    Look at that latest Pat Condell video for instance

    A global blasphemy law?

    No thanks.

    A local blasphemy law is a bad idea.

    Except smaller.

    And how easy to be called a racist or something. At some point you cross someone's line or you are shoved across.

    I choose an article from Arguably and put it up.

    Thanks again

  3. The first sentence seems a bit ghoulish and melodramatic. It's far from certain that we're about to 'lose' Clive James. He's an outpatient these days, with, as he said on his own website, "nothing to 'battle' against except heaps of pills every morning." Hopefully he'll be entertaining us with his wise, perceptive, humane writing for some time to come.

  4. I hope so too. Clive James is like an old friend. When the man said leukaemia was practically the least of his ailments I may have allowed a touch of sentimental over enthusiasism creep into the report even by Mark Twain standards.

  5. Cheers Geoff,

    I have the audiobook with Hitchens reading. That article brings out a lot of emotion in his voice.