Serendib
An intermittently Liberal anthology compiled by Jonathan Calder


Wednesday, November 24, 2004  

Accents

Charlie Whelan
Born in Peckham in 1955, Whelan would above all be obedient and loyal to Brown's cause. "Able but very lazy," was his headmaster's conclusion after the young Whelan failed one examination. In the hope of solving the problem, his parents sent him to a fee-paying boarding school in Surrey. He secured an unimpressive degree in politics at the City of London Polytechnic.

When he started his first job as a foreign exchange dealer in the City, he spoke in a home counties accent. One year later, employed as a researcher by the AEUW, he spoke like a Cockney.

Tom Bower Gordon Brown (2004)


John Peel
I found myself spending more and more time in London. Living like the young country squire was all very well, I told Genny, but realistically I had to keep in touch with everyone in the business to get the jobs that were going. And I had to do what I could to supplement my income.

I even did a stint as a DJ in those days - not a good one - and, worse, I adopted the mid-Atlantic accent that appeared to be a given at the time. It seems incredible to credit John Peel with once sounding close to Jerry Springer, but this is fact.

David Hemmings Blow-Up and Other Exaggerations (2004)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 9:48 p.m.


Sunday, November 21, 2004  

Tony Benn and Margaret Rutherford
As it happens, among Benn's innumerable cousins was Margaret Rutherford, who came to acting late, then achieved immortality as Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, thereafter becoming a national institution (latterly as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple) in her own right. Benn writes warmly about her kindness to him as a child.

He also reveals that Margaret's father, William Rutherford Benn, murdered his father (Benn's great-grandfather) by banging him repeatedly on the head with a chamber-pot.

Paul Johnson Daily Telegraph 4 October 2004

posted by Jonathan Calder | 1:21 a.m.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004  

The futility of reform
Headmaster: The first thing he will do is abolish corporal punishment, the second thing he'll do is abolish compulsory games. And the third thing he'll do is abolish the cadet corps. Those are the three things liberal schoolmasters always do, matron, the first opportunity they get. They think it makes the sensitive boys happy. In my experience sensitive boys are never happy anyway, so what is the point?

Alan Bennett Forty Years On (1968)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 9:52 p.m.
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