Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Another wonderful Daily Telegraph obituary - for Clarissa Dickson Wright

Clarissa Dickson Wright was after my time, which is to say her television programmes were, my time being when I started work and stopped watching television except for the news. This week, however, she was the subject of another great Telegraph obituary.

Some lives are picaresque novels, far more than careers counsellors and writers would have us believe and Miss Wright's was one of these. Not quite so much so as the life of the subject of the funniest obituary of all time, Denisa, Lady Newborough, but comparably interesting.

Her descriptions of Mr. Blair are priceless. 

She observed the budding union between [Cherie] Booth (“desperately needy”) and Tony Blair (“a poor sad thing with his guitar”). Later still she observed that the “wet, long-haired student” that she had known had been replaced by a man with “psychopath eyes. You know those dead eyes that look at you and try to work out what you want to hear?”)
I wonder what changed him. I know what she means about dead psychopathic eyes but I would not have fingered him for a psychopath.

I went in my youth to meet the deputy editor of the Telegraph and told him the obituaries were the best thing in the paper and he said he agreed. They are the best history of the 20th century - the John Aubrey's Brief Lives de nos jours. They outdo Anthony Powell, himself the biographer of Aubrey.

Much as one likes fat people in principal it is worth noting that they die in their fifties and sixties, so note this well dear reader before passing on. On the other hand, Kingsley Amis said that
'No pleasure is worth foregoing for the sake of 10 more years in a nursing home.'
You might decide this goes for steak and kidney pudding, trifle and other glories of English cuisine.


  1. marvellous! Dear Clarissa. Requiescat in pace.

  2. I am a vegetarian & still loved to watch these 2 create some amazing meat monstrosities as they were content doing it! Huzzah Clarissa Huzzah