Mr Swales in Bram Stoker’s Dracula puts the human condition pithily: For life be, after all, only a waitin’ for somethin’ else than what we’re doin’; and death be all that we can rightly depend on.
And while we’re on the theme of death and the Great War, here’s Joanna Cannan in High Table: Look on, Cynic, your dozen years, to the time when such words as these will be explained away as wartime hysteria, when such a marriage as is planned now, in this brief, pink-and-white haven, will be dissolvedContinue reading “More death (and love)”
A reflection from Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March on how life – and death – has changed since 1914: In the years before the Great War, at the time the events chronicled in these pages took place, it was not yet a matter of indifference whether a man lived or died. When someone was expungedContinue reading “Joseph Roth on dying, and living”
Good advice from C.K. Stead on having an appetite for life: Self-absorption is slow death by interior corrosion, and what protects us against it is curiosity, an appetite for the world in all its forms. If you enjoy the world enough to look hard at it, it will save you – but only from yourself,Continue reading “Self-absorption v. curiosity”
This made me laugh, from Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Wife: All of them, the novelists, the story writers, the poets, desperately long to win. If there is a prize, then there is someone somewhere on earth who desires it. Grown men pace their homes and scheme about ways to win things, and small children hyperventilateContinue reading “Awards”
Here are some bullet points to consider, some suggestions of how to survive with integrity in an environment which seems to have become inimical to good sense, tolerance and civilised values: Listen to others, be polite and attentive, while holding firm to what you believe to be right. Do not provoke, or allow yourselfContinue reading “How should people of good will live in this fractured time?”
Coming up at 1:24, I describe the burning of heretics in Smithfield:
Nice to have been able to get St Bartholomew the Great into this French TV history programme about Mary Tudor.
We could perhaps do with a Thomas Cromwell in UK politics today. This is from Tracy Borman’s biography: Cromwell’s love of all things Italian was highly unusual for a Londoner. Andreas Franciscius had been aghast to discover on his visit to the capital that its inhabitants ‘not only despise the way in which Italians live,Continue reading “Thomas Cromwell’s lack of xenophobia”
Hello, I’m Virginia Rounding, and I was previously a Councillor in this Ward from 2011 to 2017, and would now like to take up the cudgels on your behalf again. To summarise, and briefly expand on, the pledges contained in my election leaflet: If elected, I commit myself to being available and attentive to yourContinue reading “My 3-minute ‘speech’ at tonight’s Farringdon Within Ward Mote”