Sensuous Françoise Hardy, Sixties icon, is now 76 years old

Françoise Madeleine Hardy (French: [fʁɑ̃swaz aʁdi]; born 17 January 1944) is a French singer-songwriter. She made her musical debut in the early 1960s on Disques Vogue and found immediate success with her song “Tous les garçons et les filles“. As a leading figure of the yé-yé movement, Hardy “found herself at the very forefront of the French music scene”, and became “France’s most exportable female singing star”, recording in various languages, appearing in movies, touring throughout Europe, and gaining plaudits from musicians such as Bob DylanMiles Davis and Mick Jagger.[1] With the aid of photographer Jean-Marie Périer, Hardy also began modeling, and soon became a popular fashion icon as well.[1]

BornFrançoise Madeleine Hardy
17 January 1944(age 76)
Spouse(s)Jacques Dutronc(m. 1981)
Partner(s)Jean-Marie Périer(1962–1967)

Musical career
GenresFrench popchanson
yé-yébaroque pop
Years active1962–present
LabelsDisques VogueSonopresseWarner Bros.EMIVirgin
Associated actsMichel BergerSerge GainsbourgJean-Claude VannierTuca

As the yé-yé era drew to a close in the late 1960s, Hardy sought to reinvent herself, casting off the fashionable girl next door image that Périer had created for her and abandoning the “cute” and catchy compositions that had characterized her repertoire up to that point.[1][2] She began working with more accomplished songwriters such as Serge Gainsbourg[3] and Patrick Modiano.[4] Her 1971 album La question represented an important turning point in her career, moving towards a more mature style; it remains her most acclaimed work and has generated a dedicated cult following over the years.[1][5] The early 1970s also marked the beginning of Hardy’s renowned involvement with astrology, becoming an expert and writer on the subject over the years.[1][5]

Hardy remains a popular figure in music and fashion,[6][7] and is considered an icon of French pop and of the 1960s.[8] The singer is also considered a gay icon and has “repeatedly declared that her most devoted friends and fans are gay.”[9] Several of her songs and albums have appeared in critics’ lists. —

“Also recommended is Françoise Hardy’s L’Amour Fou. Hardy will be 70 next year. At the age of 23, she released a song called ‘Ma Jeunesse Fout l’Camp’ (which translated roughly as ‘my youth is disappearing’) – I think she even has Morrissey trumped in the ‘old and world-weary before their time’ stakes. Some have accused her of never maturing as a writer or vocalist, but great later-period tracks like ‘La Verité des Choses’ put paid to that notion. Her voice has become deeper while its reedy quality has become more pronounced, and the songs resonate with the truth of more hard-won insights; it’s as though she’s caught up with herself. Perhaps it’s true that she doesn’t range too wide stylistically anymore – L’Amour Fou, apparently the ‘soundtrack’ to a book of the same name, is largely composed of the stately and ethereal ballads that are her stock in trade. But my crush is eternal; just the way she sings “alors, cours mon coeur imbécile” (“so run, my foolish heart”) on ‘Normandia’ sends my own heart into a foolish swan-dive.” —

Perhaps the World Ends Here by The Poet Laureate of the United States

Joy Harjo (born on May 9, 1951, Tulsa, OklahomaMvskoke) is a poet, musician, playwright, and author. Harjo is a mem­ber of the Mvskoke Nation and belongs to Oce Vpofv (Hick­o­ry Ground.) She is also the first Native American United States Poet Laureate. She is an important figure in the second wave of the literary Native American Renaissance of the late twentieth century. She studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts, completed her undergraduate degree at University of New Mexicoin 1976, and earned an M.F.A. at the University of Iowa in its Creative Writing Program.

Perhaps the World Ends Here

Joy Harjo – 1951-

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.


From The Woman Who Fell from the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright c 1984.

April 1, 2020

  • By Elizabeth Lund Correspondent

Joy Harjo is the 23rd poet laureate of the United States and the first Native American to hold that post. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and an acclaimed musician, she has published nine books of poetry and released five award-winning CDs. After her inaugural reading in September 2019, she traveled extensively, performing solo and with musicians for audiences of various backgrounds and political affiliations. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

Q: Why are poems so necessary?

Poetry tries to hold all aspects of human memory – grief, failure, love, joy – and moves toward a liminal space in the borderlands between here and there, in between yes and no, what was and what is to come. The great paradox is that poetry uses language to create a place you can go when human words fail. 

We go to poetry to find a road to understanding, and not just any road – it must be compelling, and take us somewhere we’ve never been before. Even before the pandemic,  sales of poetry books had gone up. The audiences for poetry have grown dramatically since the last national elections four years ago.

Q: You have described poetry as a conversation of the soul. How is poetry “soul talk”?

Just about every poet out there – from Walt Whitman to Emily Dickinson to Marilyn Nelson – is ultimately writing a conversation with their soul. Each one has a different patterning, of course, a kind of sound frequency you can hear. And every poem has poetry ancestors. 

My own poetry ancestors include a great-grandfather who helped me enter the realm of poetry. He was a good speaker and I think some of my sense of language comes from him. I have some of his handwritten pages of sermons. I also consider Emily Dickinson a forebear. I hear her in her phrasing, a single human voice rising from the seclusion of a room or darkness or loneliness.

The whole country seems to be in that kind of place right now, so quiet you can hear the collective heart. We might feel especially alone because we have been individually isolated. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. All sound becomes magnified; that’s when we can really listen.

Q: Why is listening important? 

Listening is the tool required for life, and for any art. It doesn’t matter if it’s literature, painting, or architecture. You might listen with your eyes to color or to the line or just shape. But it’s all about listening with all of your senses. 

Q: How did you come to love poetry?

I didn’t start writing poetry till I was almost 23. But I came to poetry as a child because my mother, with her eighth grade education, loved and read poetry, mostly Tennyson and the visionary Blake. 

She also wrote love-song lyrics – ballads were her form – and worked with some of the best country-swing musicians. 

What I have discovered is that most traditions of poetry have their roots in music, and when you go back to those roots we all have, you’ll find poetry hanging out with music and hanging out with dance. They form a threesome.

Q: When did you start writing?

I started writing poetry around the time of the Native American Renaissance, which began in 1969 when N. Scott Momaday, a Kiowa novelist and poet, won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. I was an art major at the University of New Mexico and had an eye towards a career in art, which made sense since I had a grandmother and a great aunt who were painters. Then I started attending poetry readings, and discovered Native poets. That’s when I realized that poetry was part of me, and could reflect my own life as a Native person. 

Q: As poet laureate, do you feel that you provide the same validation for other Native writers?

This position has made it possible for me to open a door of self-affirmation for Native Americans, who still don’t see themselves represented much in the culture. This position has enabled me to open a door for many. I represent poetry and the power of what poetry can do: It can speak across chasms, through gunfire. It has saved lives – including mine – and enlarged countless levels of meaning. I am only one of many gifted poets, one of many Native poets, one of many voices who have something to offer in these times and in timelessness.

Q: How would you describe the gift of poetry?

Every gift comes with sacrifice. There is always something demanded. To take care of the gift of poetry demands listening, even when it seems as if there is nothing or no one there. It remembers listening to history and beyond history. It means walking a road of language alone, until you teach someone how to hear you. My mission is to take care of the gifts that I carry, to develop and feed them, and then to share them. We must all take care of our respective gifts, because with them we will find the answers to our problems. With poetry, we can sometimes sing the answers. 

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Today’s Corona virus was more successful at disrupting the Kentucky Derby than Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson’s 1970 valiant attempt to do the same

The Corona virus appears, when least expected, In this case in my memories of my first “real” job now 50 years ago. “O tempora! O mores!”,as that old windbag Cicero once exclaimed.

Today, I watched as a noted epidemiologist observed that each individual’s reaction to  the pandemic is unique. You ain’t kidding bub. Enter Hunter Thompson and how his legendary infant terrible editor used all the money at his command, which briefly was a lot, to not only disrupt the Kentucky Derby but also to disrupt the next American icon on his hit list, the America’s cut.

Let’s start with Hunter Thompson, whose career exploded after we at Scanlan’s published this story written under the influence of lots of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Santayana did say, “What’s past is prologue.” His words are engraved in marble on the outside of the DC archives building which houses, in a nuclear safe container, the original of The Declaration of Independence.


ikipedia: “Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. He first rose to prominence with the publication of Hell’s Angels (1967), a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in order to write a first-hand account of the lives and experiences of its members.”

Not that many years later, Hunter Thompson committed suicide. While Hunter was talking to his wife on the phone, he said goodbye, put a pistol to his head, and shot and killed himself.

“In 1970, he wrote an unconventional magazine feature titled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” for Scanlan’s Monthly which both raised his profile and established him as a writer with counterculture credibility. It also set him on a path to establishing his own sub-genre of New Journalism which he called “Gonzo,” which was essentially an ongoing experiment in which the writer becomes a central figure and even a participant in the events of the narrative.”

Editor Warren Hinckle, III decided to send Hunter, who had spent a year living with the Hells Angels to see what Hunter might do when reporting on a cherished American institution. Then, Warren called illustrator Ralph Steadman in the middle of the night in London and somehow convinced Ralph to immediately fly to Kentucky to join Hunter.

Enter Ralph Steadmen, May 1970, drawing the largest horse penis I have ever seen

“It’s a mystery why artist Ralph Steadman ever got along with Hunter Thompson,” wrote Thomas Novally for the Louisville Kentucky Currier Journal in May, 2018
“During his first assignment with Thompson in Louisville during the 1970 Kentucky Derby, he would be insulted for his “nerve-rattling” appearance, critiqued for his “horrible drawings,” and even maced with “chemical billy” by the oft-psychotic writer.

“Thompson wasn’t normal, but, thankfully, neither was Steadman. 

“‘Everything was wrong with Hunter,”’ the 81-year-old Welsh artist and England resident told Courier Journal during a video interview. ‘When we first met, he looked at me and said ‘they told me you were weird.’ … I knew I couldn’t take it too seriously at all.”

“After their mint julep and Colt 45 malt liquor induced Kentucky Derby hangover finally subsided, Hunter’s infamous essay “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” was published in Scanlan’s Monthly, the only true recollection of the duo’s drunken encounter during the 96th Run for the Roses.  

But it was from that cesspool of decadence and depravity at Churchill Downs that the genre of Gonzo journalism was born and the fastest two minutes in sports started a friendship that lasted a lifetime.”

[ Joel’s note. Temporarily, I am too pooped to pop.Too old to roll. This memory wave requires me to pause as I observe that, to paraphrase wildly President Trump, the microscopic virus has altered—trashed—our county’s established traditions in a way mere mortals, e.g.dissolute Hunter Thompson, try as he did, could not. ]


Wikipedia redux: “Steadman had a long partnership with the American journalist Hunter S. Thompson, drawing pictures for several of his articles and books.[5][6] He accompanied Thompson to the Kentucky Derby for an article for the magazine Scanlan’s, to the Honolulu Marathon for the magazine Running, and illustrated both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.”

I am back with this 1970 tale of excess and destruction now vastly surpassed by our deadly and powerful pandemic which makes postponing the Kentucky Derby child’s play.

Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
 Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

As President Trump and Prime Minster Trudeau close off the Canadian border, strange thoughts pop into my head

How much weirder will our experience with the Corona virus get?
I awoke this morning in the residential hotel where I live in rural Rust Belt PA to read in the LA Times that the Canadian border will be closed ( nearly air tight). Instantly, Willie Nelson singing “We guard the Canadian border” popped into my head. I cannot get it out.

You may remember the song was a critical part of the film Wag the Dog, where a fictional president, up for re-election and the focus of a sex scandal, hires Robert de Nero to distract the American Public.

De Nero succeeds by declaring war on Albania. Why Albania? Why not?

In this contemporary pandemic life of ours, where truth is stranger than fiction, will we next learn that the Carona virus did not originate ( as President Trump suggests ) in China, but in Albania?

Dylan Thomas’ “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

In 1963, when I was a sophomore at Cheltenham House School in suburban Philadelphia, I first listened to Dylan Thomas read this, his most famous poem. My biology teacher had “punished” me by expelling me for a week for egregiously reading in class. For a solid week, I was in bliss at my school’s excellent library listening to this:


“Caitlin Thomas’s autobiographies, Caitlin Thomas – Leftover Life to Kill (1957) and My Life with Dylan Thomas: Double Drink Story (1997), describe the effects of alcohol on the poet and on their relationship. “Ours was not only a love story, it was a drink story, because without alcohol it would never had got on its rocking feet”, she wrote,[147] and “The bar was our altar.”[148]Biographer Andrew Lycett ascribed the decline in Thomas’s health to an alcoholic co-dependent relationship with his wife, who deeply resented his extramarital affairs.[149] “

This Caedmon record label remains evocative. Then, at 16, it evoked in me the sense that I too must die young, a notion belied by my 72 year old age. But, we Baby Boomers on the cutting edge wrote in1968, as I did in a diatribe, never trust anyone over 30.
Today, we Baby Boomers are surprised by our longevity and by the high cost of our health care which is poised to bankrupt countries in the developed world. Understandably, but not pleasantly, younger generations boast of the Corona virus, “Baby Boom remover.”
This is New York City’s White Horse Tavern where legend has it, Dylan Thomas drank himself to death from so many shot glasses.There were times during my terrible teens, that I wished for that fate. Now, that I am a grandfather, I am glad the genie was deaf to my wishes.

“Do not go gently into that good night” forever remains a helpful guide to our future death


Notorious (1946); Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman


This film was released over 71 years ago— one year before my birth. Ben Hecht wrote the screen play. Early on Cary Grant slugs Ingrid Bergman. There is no way to defend such abuse.

Otherwise, it is a great film.



Ben Hecht


Ben Hecht (/hɛkt/; February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist, and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write thirty-five books and some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films.

Ben Hecht
Ben Hecht Billboard.jpg


Hecht c. 1945
Born February 28, 1894
New York City, New York, US
Died April 18, 1964(aged 70)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Screenwriter, novelist, playwright, journalist
Style Comedy, newspapers, gangster
  • Marie Armstrong (1916–1926; divorced; 1 child)
  • Rose Caylor (1926–1964; his death; 1 child) (1898–1979)

At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where, in his own words, he “haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops”.[1] In the 1910s and early 1920s, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure. In the 1920s, his co-authored, reporter-themed play, The Front Page, became a Broadway hit.

The Dictionary of Literary Biography – American Screenwriters calls him “one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures”. Hecht received the first Academy Award for Original Screenplay for Underworld (1927). Many of the screenplays he worked on are now considered classics. He also provided story ideas for such films as Stagecoach (1939). Film historian Richard Corliss called him “the Hollywood screenwriter”, someone who “personified Hollywood itself”. In 1940, he wrote, produced, and directed Angels Over Broadway, which was nominated for Best Screenplay. In total, six of his movie screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards, with two winning.

He became an active Zionist shortly before the Holocaust began in Germany, and wrote articles and plays about the plight of European Jews, such as We Will Never Die in 1943 and A Flag is Born in 1946.[2] Of his seventy to ninety screenplays, he wrote many anonymously to avoid the British boycott of his work in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The boycott was a response to Hecht’s active support of paramilitary action against British forces in Palestine and sabotaging British property there (see below), during which time a supply ship to Palestine was named the S. S. Ben Hecht.(nl)(he)

According to his autobiography, he never spent more than eight weeks on a script. In 1983, 19 years after his death, Ben Hecht was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[3]

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

MOSCOW — By Russian standards, the few lines that Melania Trump used from Michelle Obama for her speech at the Republican National Convention this week would barely tip the plagiarism scale.

— The New York Times, July 22, 2016

By Russian Standards, Melania Trump Would Be a Plagiarism Amateur

I had been hoping to awake in this state of mind. It is hours before 5 A.M. when I am scheduled to leave my bed, drink coffee, toast bread, smear the toast with butter and consider whether to add marmalade.

The truth is I found myself writing about Bashir Gemayel (given the odd situation the current Prime Minister of Lebanon is experiencing) and as a matter of course mentioned Evelyn Waugh. One thing led to another.  I found myself searching the Internet for a public domain copy of Scoop, a truly wonderful book–although “wonderful” is a word I do not like using because doing so requires unnecessary elaboration. Here it is. Wonderful enough





Even though Evelyn Waugh’s black comedy novel requires no introduction, I am introducing it anyway because doing so makes it possible to tell you about my romance with Pola Negri (clearly not her real name).

This is the wrong Pola Negri.
The right one (who would never have consented to her photograph) [much as I had wanted to] to call her MINE.
Regarding my living PN, I first met in her October of 1973 at one of the offices of the House of Representatives where she was a receptionist for Rep. Ella T. Grasso.















My story may have some truth in it. I am not the only one Scoop has influenced. Tina Brown was sufficiently influenced by the novel that she called her real news institution The Daily Beast based on the Scoop newspaper.


Chapter One

While still a young man, John Courteney Boot had, as
his publisher proclaimed, achieved an assured and enviable
position in contemporary letters.  His novels sold fifteen
thousand copies in their first year and were read by the
people whose opinion John Boot respected.

Between novels he kept his name sweet in intellectual circles with un-profitable but modish works on history and travel His
signed first editions sometimes changed hands at a shilling
or two above their original price.

He had published eight books – (beginning with a life of Rimbaud written when he was eighteen, and concluding, at the moment, with
Waste of Time , a studiously modest description of some
harrowing months among the Patagonian Indians) – of
which most people who lunched with Lady Metroland could
remember the names of three or four.

He had many charming friends of whom the most valued was the lovely Mrs Algernon Stitch.

Like all m her circle John Boot habitually brought his
difficulties to her for solution. It was with this purpose, on
a biting-cold mid-June morning, that he crossed the Park
and called at her house (a superb creation by Nicholas
Hawksmoor modestly concealed in a cul-de-sac near Saint
James’s Palace),

Algernon Stitch was standing in the hall, his bowler hat
was on his head; his right hand, grasping a crimson, royally
emblazoned despatch case, emerged from the left sleeve of
his overcoat; his other hand burrowed petulantly in his
breast pocket. An umbrella under his left arm further in-
convenienced him. He spoke indistinctly, for he was holding
a folded copy of the morning paper between his teeth.

‘Not in Wasters. On Arthur’s ceiling I put it in the Prime
Minister’s bedroom ’

‘Did he read it?’

‘Well I don’t think he reads much.’

‘Terracotta is too long, madam, and there is no r.’

‘Try hottentot It’s that kind of word. I can never do
anagrams unless I can see them. No Twisbury , you must
have heard of it.’

‘Flonbus Austrum,’ Josephine chanted, ‘perditus et
liquidis immisi fontibus apros; having been lost with flowers in the South and sent into the liquid fountains* apros is
wild boars but I couldn’t quite make sense of that bit.’

‘We’ll do it tomorrow. I’ve got to go out now. Iis “hotten-
tot” any use?’

‘No madam,’ said Brittling with ineffable gloom.

‘Oh, dear. I must look at it in my bath. I shall only be
ten minutes. Stay and talk to Josephine.’

She was out of bed and out of the room. Brittling followed.
Miss Holloway collected the cheques and papers. The
young man on the ladder dabbed away industriously.
Josephine rolled to the head of the bed and stared up at

‘It’s very banal, isn’t it, Boot?’

‘I like it very much.’

‘Do you? I think all Arthur’s work is banal. I read your
book Waste of Time

‘Ah.’ John did not invite criticism.

‘I thought it very banal.’

‘You seem to find everything banal.’

‘It is a new word whose correct use I have only lately
learnt,’ said Josephine with dignity. ‘I find it applies to
nearly everything* Virgil and Miss Brittling and my gym-

‘How is the gymnasium going?’

‘I am by far the best of my class although there are
several girls older than me and two middle-class boys.’

When Mrs Stitch said ten minutes, she meant ten min-
utes. Sharp on time she was back, dressed for the street ; her
lovely face, scraped clean of clay, was now alive with

‘Sweet Josephine, has Mr Boot been boring you?’

‘It was all right really. I did most of the talking.’

‘Show him your imitation of the Prime Minister.’


‘Sing him your Neapolitan song ’


‘Stand on your head. Just once for Mr Boot.’


‘Oh dear. Well we must go at once if we are to get to
Bethnal Green and back before luncheon. The traffic’s

Algernon Stitch went to his office m a sombre and rather
antiquated Daimler; Julia always drove herself, in the latest
model of mass-produced, baby car, brand-new twice a year,
painted an invariable brilliant black, tiny and glossy as a
midget’s funeral hearse. She mounted the kerb and bowled
rapidly along the pavement to the corner of St James’s,
where a policeman took her number and ordered her into
the road.

‘Third time this week,’ said Mrs Stitch. ‘I wish they
wouldn’t. It’s such a nuisance for Algy.’

Once embedded in the traffic block, she stopped the
engine and turned her attention to the crossword.

‘It’s “detonated”,’ she said, filling it m.

East wind swept the street, carrying with it the exhaust
gas of a hundred motors and coarse particles of Regency
stucco from a once decent Nash facade that was being
demolished across the way. John shivered and rubbed some grit further into his eye. Eight minutes close application was
enough to finish the puzzle. Mrs Stitch folded the paper and
tossed it over her shoulder into the back seat, looked about
her resentfully at the stationary traffic.

‘This is too much,’ she said, started the engine, turned
sharp again onto the kerb and proceeded to Piccadilly, driv-
ing before her at a brisk pace, until he took refuge on the
step of Brook’s, a portly, bald young man; when he reached
safety, he turned to remonstrate, recognized Mrs Stitch, and
bowed profoundly to the tiny, black back as it shot the corner
of Arlington Street. ‘One of the things I like about these
absurd cars, 5 she said, ‘is that you can do things with them
that you couldn’t do in a real one.’

From Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus the line of
traffic was continuous and motionless, still as a photograph,
unbroken and undisturbed save at a few strategic corners
where barricaded navvies, like desperate outposts of some
proletarian defence, were rending the road with mechanical
drills, mining for the wires and tubes that controlled the
life of the city.

‘I want to get away from London,’ said John Boot.

‘So it’s come to that? All on account of your American

‘Well, mostly.’

‘I warned you, before you began. Is she being fright-

‘My kps are sealed. But I’ve got to get far away or else
go crazy.’

‘To my certain knowledge she’s driven three men into
the bin. Where are you going?’

‘That’s just what I wanted to talk about.’

The line of cars jerked forwards for ten yards and again
came to rest. The lunch-time edition of the evening papers
was already on the streets; placards announcing


were fluttering in the east wind.

‘Ishmaelia seems to be the place. I was wondering if
Algy would send me there as a spy.’

‘Not a chance/


‘Foregonners. Algy’s been sacking ten spies a day for
weeks. It’s a grossly overcrowded profession. Why don’t
you go as a war correspondent?’

‘Could you fix it?’

‘I don’t see why not. After all you’ve been to Patagonia.
I should think they would jump at you. You’re sure you
really want to go?’

‘Quite sure.’

‘Well, I’ll see what I can do. I’m meeting Lord Copper
at lunch today at Margot’s. I’ll try and bring the subject up.’


When Lady Metroland said half-past one she meant ten
minutes to two. It was precisely at this time, simultaneously
with her hostess, that Mrs Stitch arrived (having been
obliged by press of traffic to leave her little car in a garage
half way to Bethnal Green, and return to Curzon Street by
means of the Underground railway). Lord Copper, however,
who normally lunched at one, was waiting with some im-
patience. Various men and women who appeared to know
one another intimately and did not know Lord Copper, had
been admitted from time to time and had disregarded him.
His subordinates at the Megalopolitan Newspaper Corpora-
tion would have been at difficulties to recognize the uneasy

figure which stood up each time the door was opened and
sat down again unnoticed. He was a stranger m these parts;
it was a thoughtless benefaction to one of Lady Metroland’s
chanties that had exposed him, in the middle of a busy
day, to this harrowing experience, he would readily, now,
have doubled the sum to purchase his release. Thus when
Mrs Stitch directed upon him some of her piercing shafts
of charm she found him first numb, then dazzled, then
extravagantly receptive.

From the moment of her entrance the luncheon party was
transformed for Lord Copper; he had gotten a new angle
on it. He knew of Mrs Stitch; from time to time he had
seen her m the distance, now for the first time he found
himself riddled through and through, mesmerized, in-
ebriated Those at the table, witnessing the familiar pro-
cess, began to conjecture m tones which Lord Copper was
too much entranced to overhear, what Julia could possibly
want of him ‘It’s her model madhouse , 5 said some, ‘she
wants the caricaturists to lay off Algy , 5 said others; ‘Been
losing money , 5 thought the second footman (at Lady
Metroland’s orders he was on diet and lunch time always
found him in a cynical mood); ‘a job for someone or other , 5
came nearest the truth, but no one thought of John
Courteney Boot until Mrs Stitch brought him into the
conversation. Then they all played up loyally.

‘You know , 5 she said, after coaxing Lord Copper into
an uncompromising denunciation of the Prime Minister’s
public and private honesty, ‘I expect he 5 s all you say, but
he’s a man of far more taste than you’d suppose. He always
sleeps with a Boot by his bed . 5

‘A boot ? 5 asked Lord Copper, trustful but a little be-

‘One of John Boot’s books.’

The luncheon party had got their cue.




4 Dear John Boot/ said Lady Metroland, ‘ so clever and
amusing. I wish I could get him to come and see me more

‘Such a divine style/ said Lady Cockpurse

The table buzzed with praise of John Boot. It was a new
name to Lord Copper. He resolved to question his literary
secretary on the subject. He had become Boot-conscious.

Mrs Stitch changed her ground and began to ask him in
the most flattering way about the chances of peace in
Ishmaeha. Lord Copper gave it as his opinion that civil
war was inevitable. Mrs Stitch remaiked how few of the
famous war correspondents still survived.

‘Isn’t there one called Sir Something Hitchcock?’ asked
Lady Cockpurse (This was a false step since the knight m
question had lately left Lord Copper’s service, after an
acrimonious dispute about the date of the battle of Hastings,
and had transferred to the Daily Brute camp )

‘Who will you be sending to Ishmaeha?’ asked Mrs Stitch.

‘I am in consultation with my editors on the subject.
We think it a very promising little war. A microcosm as
you might say of world drama. We propose to give it
fullest publicity. The workings of a great n jwspaper/ said
Lord Copper, feeling at last thoroughly Rotarian, ‘are of
a complexity which the public seldom appreciates. The
citizen little realizes the vast machinery put into motion for
him in exchange for his morning penny.’ (‘Oh God/ said
Lady Metroland, faintly but audibly.) ‘We shall have our
naval, military and air experts, our squad of photographers,
our colour reporters, covering the war from every angle and
on every front,’

‘Yes/ said Mrs Stitch. ‘Yes, yes. I suppose you will . . .
If I were you I should send someone like Boot. I don’t
suppose you could persuade him to go, but someone like






‘It has been my experience, dear Mrs Stitch, that the
Daily Beast can command the talent of the world. Only last
week the Poet Laureate wrote us an ode to the seasonal
fluctuation of our net sales. We splashed it on the middle
page. He admitted it was the most poetic and highly paid
work he had ever done.’

‘Well, of course, if you could get him, Boot is your man.
He’s a brilliant writer, he’s travelled everywhere and
knows the whole Ishmaelite situation inside out.’

‘Boot would be divine,’ said Lady Cockpurse loyally.

Half an hour later Mrs Stitch rang up to say ‘O.K.,
John. I think it’s fixed. Don’t take a penny less than fifty
pounds a week.’

‘God bless you, Julia. You’ve saved my life.’

‘It’s just the Stitch Service,’ said Mrs Stitch cheerfully.


That evening Mr Salter, foreign editor of the Bea$t 9 was
summoned to dinner at his chief’s country seat at East
Finchley. It was a highly unwelcome invitation 5 Mr Salter
normally worked at the office until nine o’clock. That even-
ing he had planned a holiday at the opera; he and his wife
had been looking forward to it with keen enjoyment for
some weeks. As he drove out to Lord Copper’s frightful
mansion he thought sadly of those carefree days when he
had edited the Woman’s Page, or, better still, when he had
chosen the jokes for one of Lord Copper’s comic weeklies. It
was the policy of the Megalopolitan to keep the staff alert
by constant changes of occupation. Mr Salter’s ultimate
ambition was to take charge of the Competitions. Mean-
while he was Foreign Editor and found it a dog’s life.

The two men dined alone. They ate parsley soup, whiting,
roast veal, cabinet pudding, they drank whisky and soda.





Lord Copper explained Nazism, Fascism and Communism;
later, in his ghastly library, he outlined the situation m the
Far East* ‘The Beast stands for strong mutually antagonistic
governments everywhere, ’ he said. ‘Self sufficiency at home,
self assertion abroad.’

Mr Salter’s side of the conversation was limited to expres-
sions of assent. When Lord Copper was right, he said,
‘Definitely, Lord Copper’; when he was wrong, ‘Up to a

‘Let me see, what’s the name of the place I mean?
Capital of Japan? Yokohama, isn’t it?’

‘Up to a point, Lord Copper.’

‘And Hong Kong belongs to us, doesn’t it?’

‘Definitely, Lord Copper.’

After a time* ‘Then there’s this civil war in Ishmaeha. I
propose to feature it. Who did you think of sending?’

‘Well, Lord Copper, the choice seems between sending
a staff reporter who will get the news but whose name the
public doesn’t know, or to get someone from outside with
a name as a military expert. You see since we lost Hitch-
cock . .

‘Yes, yes. He was our only man with a European repu-
tation. I know . Zinc will be sending him. I know . But he
was wrong about the battle of Hastings. It was 1066. 1 looked
it up. I won’t employ a man who isn’t big enough to admit
when he’s wrong.’

‘We might share one of the Americans?’

‘No, I tell you who I want; Boot.’


‘Yes, Boot. He’s a young man whose work I’m very much
interested in. He has the most remarkable style and he’s
been m Patagonia and the Prime Minister keeps his books
by his bed. Do you read him?’

‘Up to a point, Lord Copper.’

‘Well get onto him tomorrow. Have him up to see you.
Be cordial Take him out to dinner. Get him at any price.
Well, at any reasonable price/ he added for there had lately
been a painful occurrence when instructions of this kind,
given in an expansive mood, had been too literally observed
and a trick-cyclist who had momentarily attracted Lord
Copper’s attention, had been engaged to edit the Sports Page
on a five years’ contract at five thousand a year

Mr Salter went to work at mid-day. He found the Managing
Editor cast in gloom.

‘It’s a terrible paper this morning/ he said. ‘We paid
Professor Jellaby thirty guineas for the feature article and
there’s not a word in it one can understand. Beaten by
the Brute m every edition on the Zoo Mercy Slaying story.
And look at the Sports Page

Together, m shame, the two men read the tnck-cychst’s
Sports Page.

‘Who’s Boot?’ asked Mr Salter at last.

‘I know the name/ said the Managing Editor.

‘The chief wants to send him to Ishmaelia. He’s the
Prime Minister’s favourite writer.’

‘Not the chap I was thinking of/ said the Managing Editor.

‘Well, I’ve got to find him.’ He listlessly turned the
pages of the morning paper. ‘Boot/ he said. ‘Boot. Boot.
Boot. Why! Boot — here he is. Why didn’t the chief say he
was a staff man?’

At the back of the paper, ignomimously sandwiched
between Pip and Pop, the Bedtime Pets, and the recipe for
a dish named ‘Waffle Scramble,’ lay the twice-weekly half-
column devoted to Nature. LUSH PLACES edited by
Wilham Boot 9 Countryman 

‘ Do you suppose that’s the right one?’

‘Sure of it The Prime Minister is nuts on rural England.’

‘He’s supposed to have a particularly high-class style*
‘ Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing
vole ’ . . . would that be it?’

‘Yes/ said the Managing Editor. ‘That must be good
style. At least it doesn’t sound like anything else to me. I
know the name well now you mention it. Never seen the
chap I don’t think he’s ever been to London Sends his
stuff in by post. All written out in pen and ink.’

‘I’ve got to ask him to dinner.’

‘Give him cider.’

‘Is that what countrymen like?’

‘Yes, cider and tinned salmon is the staple diet of the
agiicultural classes.’

‘I’ll send him a telegram. Funny the chief wanting to
send him to Ishmaelia.’



Given the Impact P.–decades later P would have (still has on my internal life—what surprises israel the casual nearly routine nature of our first meeting



John Mellencamp, Mozart, Ravi Shankar: My Music, December 20, 2016

J.M.W. Turner, The Slave Ship (1840). Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Good morning.

5:00. John Mellencamp, Pink Houses

Well there’s a young man in a T-shirt
Listenin’ to a rock ‘n’ roll station
He’s got a greasy hair, greasy smile
He says: “Lord, this must be my destination”
‘Cause they told me, when I was younger
Sayin’ “Boy, you’re gonna be president”
But just like everything else, those old crazy dreams
Just kinda came and went



5:59. Mozart . Clarinet Concerto . Sharon Kam


8:12. Joan Baez. There But For Fortune.


Procrastination  Good Afternoon.

Ravi Shankar at Monterey Pop, June 1967


Bogus afternoon 3.  Ofir ben Shitrit  Someone.



“Someone, someone worries
Worries for me up there
Came and lit a few stars
And they fall one by one.”

A song by Hebrew writer Ehud Manor, at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel, on Yom HaShoah (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה), Holocaust Memorial Day. Singing for remembering the people who were killed in the holocaust and for all the victims of terrorist attacks.