Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Economist Book Of Obituaries: Keith Colquhoun and Ann Wroe

The Economist is a weekly paper that publishes a single obituary per issue. Clearly the editor has to be selective- and the dead people who make the cut aren't always the obvious ones. Ted Heath is here- as are Gerald Ford and John Paul II but they rub shoulders with the last surviving British cavalryman of the Great War, a Frenchwoman who lived to be 122, a monk who bred a disease resistant bee and a spirit medium who took dictation from dead composers. Often the death is used as a peg on which to hang a little essay on cultural and social attitudes. Judgement is skewed towards the personal. Whoever wrote the piece on George Harrison isn't much of a Beatles fan and Alan Ginsberg is treated with something less than full seriousness. There seem to be rather a lot of Catholic priests in the mix and a paucity of the 57 other varieties of religious leader. Taken as a whole the book amounts to a quirky, frequently amusing overview of the 20th century. I've been dipping in and out- and my mood on putting the book aside is always a little less sunny than it was when I took it up.

We have lived through dispiriting times.

Recent Posts from This Journal

  • A Busy Dreamlife

    I dreamed that Philip Mould, the auctioneer, was very unpopular with his rustic neighbours and they were harassing him on the grassy lane leading up…

  • Defying The Vegan Police

    I fell off the wagon. I'll clamber back on again but just for an hour or two I was off it. We were in the shop in Hastings that sells fabrics and…

  • Orange Moon Rising

    It was warm enough yesterday for us to sit out on the patio in the afternoon. I did a little light gardening. In the evening we went to collect…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.