Yes, jolly good

His most memorable dispatch from France came after an unidentified aircraft had aroused a fever of speculation by crashing and scattering grenades across the runway at Orly. For whom was this deadly cargo intended? Ottaway was sent to investigate, and came back with a crisp one-line telegram: “Grenade is French for pomegranate.”

Decoding obituaries

Squire, who was the flamboyant and bibulous chairman

Err, I’m not sure here. Are we supposed to read that as loud and obnoxious drunk?

Wit, raconteur, bon viveur, Squire could sometimes enjoy life too much. He became ill in recent months when his conviviality finally caught up with him.

Possibly so, yes.

Fidel’s dead. Good

Fidel Castro’s Economic Disaster In Cuba

And do note that Puerto Rico result. That Caribbean island remained under that American domination, that cruel capitalism and the chaos of markets. It was never enriched by the scientific planning of socialism. And living standards soared by a factor of 4 while those in Cuba stagnated for 5 decades. And the Cuban system justified itself by freeing Cuba from such American hegemony.

For that Fidel Castro should not be forgiven.

We also need to heed this lesson. Non-market economic systems do not work. We do only have that spectrum available to us, laissez faire all the way to social democracy. Socialism, not even once people, not even once.

Nothing like admitting error and changing your mind

This obit writer is having fun:

Two years later he published The Unhappy Gays in which he argued that though homosexuals were “vile” they could be “cured”. In later life he seems to have moved on from this position, suggesting in an interview that, actually, homosexuals should be put to death, as recommended by the Old Testament.

Yes. Lots of fun:

Not that any of them really need a job because their father’s writing left the family extremely comfortable. The Left Behind series spawned a merchandise industry with CDs, DVDs, clothing, a board game in which players earn “redemption tokens” that can be cashed in for eternal life, and calendars that allow the chosen to count down the days until the rapture.

LaHaye was not thought to be using one of these calenders when he died from a stroke in hospital. Nor were there any reported sightings of his mortal remains lifting off into the sky.

Err, no

Lord Rix was told to put his daughter into a home. Instead, he fought for people like me
Ciara Lawrence

Actually, he did put his daughter in a home.

Did the fighting as well, true.

How damned British is this?

In 2002 he recruited well-known fellow peers to appear in a fundraising West End revue. The End of Peer Show featured Lord Healey (obituary, Oct 5, 2015) in a false moustache, flat cap and brown mac reciting The Lion and Albert and the Marquess of Bath singing The Stately Homes of England.

From the obituary of Lord Rix


Among the many extraordinary feats he achieved in his lifetime, the one which his fellow runners remember most fondly concerns his shoelaces. He learnt to tie them without stopping during a record breaking 350 mile run in 1987.

It was indeed a grand joke

It was on The Mrs Merton Show that she asked with straight face of Debbie McGee, the much younger wife of the magician Paul Daniels: “So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”

That recurrent cancer finally caught up with her:

Caroline Aherne, who created, wrote and starred in the Royle Family, has died of cancer at the age of 52,

Sensible lad

Attrell Cordes was born in 1970, in Jersey City, across the Hudson river from Manhattan. His early life was marred by misfortune — his father died from pneumonia and a third brother drowned at the age of two. Attrell and Jarrett were raised by their mother Janice, a follower of the American spiritualist and mystic Edgar Cayce, and stepfather George Brown, who had played drums in Kool & the Gang.

The brothers sang together in a church choir but by their teens they were hanging out on the street, on the periphery of a netherworld of crime and drugs. “I lived between the yuppies and the killers,” Attrell noted with impressive understatement. “When you’re 14, it’s hard to know how to deal with that sort of thing, but I saw myself slowly becoming an idiot, so I left.”

This message just in from Yugoslavia

Two years later he conducted Kenneth McKellar, who came ninth in Luxembourg singing A Man Without Love. McKellar had been persuaded to perform in a kilt, but when the BBC collected feedback from around Europe they found an unexpected comment from Yugoslavia. They thought the entry had been OK, but they felt the lady who sang it looked “rather butch”.

That could well be one of those tales which has improved with the telling of it…..


I bumped into him at The Open at Sandwich a few years ago and noticed he was limping. He’d fallen in a ditch, he said. “Drink taken?” I asked. “Don’t be daft, man,” he said in that lovely Welsh lilt, “who falls in a ditch sober?”

Not read them but shall perhaps have to

The family emigrated to Wairakei in New Zealand when Louise was 15, much to her distress. Rather than go to school she lay in the back garden, where violent geothermal activity caused trees to shake. After a few weeks her parents gave in and dispatched her to Yorkshire to stay with her grandmother. On a brief return to the Antipodes she became pregnant “out of sheer boredom”. The baby was given up for adoption and Louise Rennison eventually flew back to Britain.

Has to be said my New Zealand cousins all come from large families.

Louise Rennison, the author, who has died aged 64, was the creator of Georgia Nicolson, the 14-year-old protagonist of such young adult novels as Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and Startled by his Furry Shorts
Much of the time, the dominant emotion was embarrassment – as when Georgia gatecrashed a party dressed as a stuffed olive, or accidentally shaved off her eyebrows.

Luuurve is a Many Trousered Thing (2007) and Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? (2009). Withering Tights, the first in a series starring Georgia’s equally eccentric cousin Tallulah Casey, won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2010.

Male and female teenage years are not exactly and precisely the same. But that incredible embarrassment of never quite getting anything at all right is common to both.

The North is a different place, isn’t it?

Warren’s mischievous flamboyance was perhaps the result of his early induction into showbusiness. His grandfather had started the family’s performing tradition by becoming a champion clog dancer in Eccles, and his father George, a multilingual fruit importer from Manchester, carried it on. A former major in the Intelligence Corps during the First World War, Warren’s father supplemented the family income by playing the musical saw in his band the George Simpson Tonics Dance Orchestra.

How do you explain “champion clog dancer”, or even Eccles, to anyone not from the North?

And there was a time when the education system knew what it was doing:

Born Anthony McVay Simpson on July 8 1936 at Eccles, now Greater Manchester, Tony Warren was educated at Clarendon Road primary and Eccles grammar schools, where he was bullied for being “posh” and for “not liking rough games”. His remedy was to play truant and he stayed away “for almost a year, almost every day” by mimicking his mother’s voice on the telephone in calls to the school secretary. When he was finally traced to the local library, Tony’s headmaster asked him what he had been looking at and gave him a further reading list.

There was even a time when the BBC knew what it was doing:

Aged 12 he wrote to the producers of the BBC’s Children’s Hour to tell them that he was better than any of the child actors they were using. His subsequent audition earned him radio work which lasted through his teens, and brought him some theatre, film and television roles.

And this is wondrous:

Expelled from stage school for rabble-rousing, at 17 Warren ran away to London

How can you rabble rouse in a stage school?

This is a bit trite:

Warren was proud of having created Coronation Street, and of having fans of the calibre of the poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, who likened the soap to The Pickwick Papers. When the Queen – herself apparently a fan – visited the new Coronation Street set at the Granada studios in 1983, she asked Warren: “Where is the real Coronation Street?” He replied: “In the hearts and minds of your subjects, Ma’am.”

But a good innings overall, a very good innings.