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Clive James: Well I wasn't actually requested to leave, I just faded away. The idea is you sign on and then gradually you don't do the degree, right? Clive James: But it's the way into the media in my experience.Usually the reason you don't finish your degree is you've found something better to do, which is what we did didn't we?!
Yesterday, coincidentally, was the anniversary of her death so it feels timely to pay tribute to her.
A similar weakness is evident in his chapter on Evelyn Waugh.
You look just the way you look on the television - it's quite uncanny!
Clive James: That's what Margherita said the last time I talked to her.
Is it an issue for you that your TV audience perhaps doesn't know the real you?
Clive James: I'm not so sure which is the real me first of all, I'm not even sure what's my real audience.
James starts out by stating Waugh was “the supreme writer of English prose in the 20th century”. Then the rest of the essay descends into a discussion about the grammatical errors in the prose of the writer Anthony Powell, which merely informs us how knowledgeable James is about dangling modifiers rather than helping readers to appreciate why Waugh occupies classic status. In his essay on Charles de Gaulle, in which he quotes de Gaulle’s words on the death, aged 20, of his daughter Anne, who had been born with severe Down’s syndrome and who died in his arms, he concludes, “Nothing is more likely to civilise a powerful man than the presence in his house of an injured one his power can’t help.
Every night he comes home to a reminder that God is not mocked: a cure for invincibility.” That is well said.
Nobody's ever seen a mass audience, not even Hitler saw the whole of the mass audience really, yet he saw a few hundred thousand people. Clive James: Well she's back in New York doing very well, she's back selling men's underwear at Sacks 5th Avenue, actually, which is where we found her. The hazard is that once she's flown the Atlantic, the airline crew always recognises her and invites her to the flight deck and she sings 'Hello' over the PA system.
They're all sitting at home alone or in families, and I think it's a mistake to do too much thinking about what they might know or what they mightn't know. Can you imagine paying for a first class ticket and hearing Margherita coming down your earphones?