Maeve Binchy

“Nothing terrible has ever happened to me,” she told an interviewer. “I met and married the man I love in my thirties when I thought all that had passed me by. Success and money came in my forties, when I’d my head screwed on… I’ve never really searched for success, never felt there was some hole in my life that needed filling. I’ve only ever wanted more of the same.”

Not a bad
life, eh?

Telegraph Obits Dept: Must try harder

Born in Poland on October 15, 1915, Shamir emigrated to British-ruled Palestine in 1935 after his family perished in the Nazi Holocaust, and the diminutive but pugnacious immigrant soon joined Begin\’s Irgun Zionist militia.


He emigrated to Palestine in that year, yes. The Holocaust was indeed where his famiy perished. But the emigration was before the Holocaust…..1935 was before even Kristallnacht, let alone the execution camps. Goog grief, Hitler didn\’t even invade Poland until 1939.

Sorry, just not good enough, not in an obituary.

Something to remember from Ray Bradbury

For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangu­tan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversation­ist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mor­mons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent type-writers. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intel­lectuals wish to re-cut my “Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” so it shapes “Zoot,” may the belt unravel and the pants fall.


In sum, do not insult me with the beheadings, finger-choppings or the lung-defiations you plan for my works. I need my head to shake or nod, my hand to wave or make into a fist, my lungs to shout or whis­per with. I will not go gently onto a shelf, degutted, to become a non-book.

All you umpires, back to the bleachers. Referees, hit the showers. It’s my game. I pitch, I hit, I catch. I run the bases. At sunset I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m out again, giving it the old try.

RIA and RIP.

That\’s an interesting trio

Obituaries »
John Demjanjuk
John Demjanjuk Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk dies aged 91

Soviet peasant turned US auto-worker accused of war crimes as Treblinka’s \’Ivan the Terrible’
His Holiness Shenouda III
His Majesty King George Tupou V of Tonga

The three obituaries linked on the Telegraph front page. A maybe, maybe not, concentration camp guard from WWII, the Coptic Pope and the King of Tonga.

No real point to make, just an interesting trio to be writing about at the sametime.

Somewhat euphemistic

Lord St John was also accused of spending an excessive amount of time with a small clique of mainly public school-educated young men who, it was alleged, were favoured with introductions to royalty and captains of industry, to dinners at White’s, private theatrical performances at the Master’s Lodge and long, affectionate letters. Such special privileges were extended to very few. Other undergraduates would recall the Master cutting them off in mid-sentence with some disparaging remark in Latin. To bitchy colleagues in other colleges, Emmanuel became known as “Mein Camp”.
In Who’s Who Lord St John described himself, somewhat superfluously, as “unmarried” (the description, coming after details of his parentage, led at least one profile writer to describe him, erroneously, as “illegitimate”). He had a close friend who was a merchant banker, but claimed to be “celibate” or “chaste”.

Matt Yglesias and a shocking breach of protocol

Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead

That\’s just scumbag horrible. A despicable breach of good manners.

It\’s just fine to think that the world\’s a better place without a certain person or people in it. It\’s even just fine to say so. But there is this little convention that human beings have found very useful over the centuries.

We wait until the body\’s actually in the grave before pissing into it.

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum

This does not apply to all the dead. It applies only to the recently dead.

Various reasons can be given for this social observance. Allow the weeping widow a day or two at least to try and come to terms with her loss. A reminder that we\’re all headed that way perhaps and a little bit of solemnity about one who has preceded us is a good idea. I\’ve even heard it said that as hearing is the last of the human senses to fade the origin is that you don\’t want someone\’s last memories of this Earth as being \”well, I never liked that scumbag anyway\”.

But whatever the reason we really should wait until the body\’s cold and in the ground before dropping our pants and indulging in a willy waving contest over who can be most dismissive of that societal convention.

He didn\’t want to be remembered for St Custard\’s

Or so the obit says for Ronald Searle. So an entirely different point:

In October 1935 the Cambridge Daily News accepted his offer to provide a weekly cartoon, for which he was paid a guinea a week.

If we upgrade that by inflation we get to £80 to £150 a week as his fee. Depends whether we upgrade by retail prices or average wages.  That lower figure is about what you would get writing a column for a local paper these days.


He went on to serve as head of station in Bonn, and during the 1960s in Beirut, where he enjoyed skiing at The Cedars, a resort where, as he recalled, discipline in the lift queues improved dramatically after an attendant shot dead the two worst queue jumpers.

Odd obituary

Swedish beauty whose affair with JFK began weeks before his marriage – and carried on just after

If we\’re going to have newspaper obituaries for everyone JFK shagged we\’re going to need several new newspapers, aren\’t we?


Steve Jobs: co-founder of Apple dies aged 56

He really did work right up to the end, didn\’t he?

But this price allegedly should have been $21.10, thereby incurring a taxable charge of $20 million that Jobs did not report as income.

Lordy, no, that\’s not what the problem with backdated options was: although it\’s a problem.

Jobs receiving $20 million and not declaring it on his income tax, well, minor. Apple paying Jobs $20 million and not including it as an expense, thereby reducing it\’s profits, much bigger problem. That was the general problem with these backdated options.

You\’re allowed to issue an option at absolutely any price you like as a company. You\’ve just got to account for it properly. Which they didn\’t….and nor did several other companies and that\’s what all the fuss was about.

Issuing in the money options should take a slice off the reported profit. Not taking that slice off was the naughty bit.

David Croft

Not a bad thing to have left behind.

More than 30 years on, the appeal of Dad’s Army endures. Repeats attract more than 10 million viewers, and the famous “Don’t tell him, Pike!” scene has repeatedly been voted the funniest television moment of all time.

Somewhat otherworldly

These scions of the Guinness family:

More recently, in 2004, Kindersley went into his local branch of Waitrose . Asked by the checkout girl if he would like some cash back, Kindersley (who was unfamiliar with this transaction) replied: “That’s really awfully sweet of you, how kind.”

He suggested £50, which he took across the road to the betting shop, investing it on a 10-1 shot which duly won its race. He then returned to the store to tip the checkout girl £10 for her kindness. For good measure, he gave £10 to the other girls on the tills as well. It was only when his credit card statement arrived that he understood the nature of “cash back”.

The things you find out from obituaries

She swore that after Tony Crosland, she could never again experience a close relationship. But in the mid-1980s she struck up a friendship with Auberon Waugh that deepened until his death in 2001. She dedicated her novel The Prime Minister\’s Wife (2001) to him. Waugh had no intention of leaving his wife, but the couple of evenings a week they spent together mattered to them both.


The art of bookmaking

Legend had it that he was once been consulted by a Ladbrokes manager who had been asked to make a book on the name of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, but did not know where to start. “You want a start, I’ll give you a start,” Stein replied. “The Chief Rabbi’s 1,000 to one.”