Saturday, February 28, 2015

D.W. Brogan

From the Reeve* collection. D.W. Brogan's books have become somewhat hard to sell but he is here recalled as a great lecturer by a connoisseur of lecturers (and Dons.)

© National Portrait Gallery, London


From what I had read and heard I hoped to see an attractive man, when I attended a lecture at King’s College, in London. I was not disappointed. He must be one of the most interesting lecturers in Cambridge; and his memory, particularly concerning American history is certainly uncanny: a phenomenon which must have been apparent to millions of people who have heard his ready responses to questions from America which surprised the American questioner, who had evidently expected to puzzle the Cambridge don with unusual questions.
Few at the lecture had seen him previously;

Hampsteadophobia / Jimmy Kanga

Found in the vast Jimmy Kanga* collection a signed presentation copy of Robert Lynd's The Sporting Life and Other Trifles. Lynd (1879-1949) is a rather forgotten Irish born essayist. His Gaelic name was Roibéard Ó Floinn, and he wrote essays, often humorous, occasionally under the name 'Y.Y.' (wise.) Lynd settled in Hampstead, in Keats Grove near the John Keats house. He and his wife Sylvia Lynd were well known as literary hosts (Hugh Walpole, Priestley etc.,) Irish guests included James Joyce and James Stephens. The publisher Victor Gollancz reports Joyce intoned Anna Livia Plurabelle there to his own piano accompaniment. Hampstead is the now the haunt of oligarchs and wealthy media types. A customer recalls that even into the 1970s, when he lived in Frognal, cabs were reluctant to venture that far from the West End. Now it is probably a favoured destination…Lynd writes:

HAMPSTEADOPHOBIA is a disease common among taxi-drivers. The symptoms are practically unmistakable, though to a careless eye somewhat resembling those of apoplexy. At mention of the word " Hampstead" the driver affected gives a start, and stares at you with a look of the utmost horror. Slowly the blood begins to mount to his head, swelling first his neck and then distorting his features to twice their natural size. His veins stand out on his temples like bunches of purple grapes. His eyes bulge and blaze in their sockets. At first, for just a fraction of a second, the power of speech deserts him, and one realises that he is struggling for utterance only because of the slight foam that has formed on his lips.

Hampstead Heath by Gerald Ososki (thanks A.T.G.)

As one catches the first words of his returning speech, it is borne in upon one that he is praying. One cannot make out from the language of his prayers whether he is a Christian or a devil worshipper

Friday, February 27, 2015

I once met…Eric Korn

Eric Korn (1933-2014) seems to have been a much admired man, if all the many recent tributes in the Letters pages of the TLS to the polymath, ex-marine biologist, bookseller and brain-box star of Round Britain Quiz, are any indication.  All these encomia remind me of a visit I paid to his home over fourteen years ago.
Eric in Red Square (from ABA Newsletter )
Having been impressed for years by his performances on Round Britain Quiz on which the current less demanding TV show  Only Connect  is loosely based, and having some notion of his special areas as a book dealer, I was curious to discover how he had become so well read in so many disparate subjects. Locating him was easy enough. Like so many dealers nowadays, his home was also his shop, and this turned out to be a rather conventional looking Edwardian terraced house in Muswell Hill. I’ve interviewed a few booksellers in my time but not one of them  answered the door wearing scruffy jeans and a T shirt. I took to him immediately.

The voice, of course, was immediately recognisable

The Duchess of Atholl

How and where does one begin when describing such an exceptionally experienced public woman as the Duchess of Atholl?
I* might do worse than start at a meeting held in Essex Hall, Strand, when she was Parliamentary Secretary to the old Board of Education. Appointed by the Prime Minister, Mr Stanley Baldwin, and under the leadership of Lord Eustace Percy who, she said, was no shirker, she admits to feeIing honoured to be the second woman in English history to be a Minister, and she soon made it evident in her public life that she was never afraid to join the ranks of a minority group of people.
I had better not mention the number of years of my regular attendance at meetings at Essex Hall. I spoke there at a conference; I made reports there monthly during one period; I witnessed many exciting arguments; but never was any other meeting in that historic building so memorable to me as one at which the Duchess delivered

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The man who gave his name to Sydney, Australia

It’s a long way from East Anglia, to Sydney, New South Wales, but Thomas Townshend, who was born in Raynham, Norfolk, in 1733, and who became Viscount Sydney in 1789, was the Home Secretary who gave his name to the growing coastal community which later became Sydney Town.

Here we have his bookplate, probably printed soon after his elevation to the Upper House. It depicts a coronet over a shield that features the scallop shell symbols of his branch of the Townshend family. The son of a minor aristocrat, Townshend   attended Clare College, Cambridge and in 1754, not long after graduating, entered the Commons as Whig member for Whitchurch at the age of just 21.He subsequently held offices in various ministries until Shelburne appointed him Home Secretary in 1782. Not long afterwards he was elevated to the Upper House as Baron Sydney and under Pitt the Younger continued as Home Secretary until 1789. In office he declared his intention of reforming convicted felons by sending them to make a fresh start in New Holland, as Australia was then known. His policy proved so successful in New South Wales that the Governor, Arthur Phillips named the tiny community of Sydney Cove after him. Subsequent Australian historians, however, have been less enthusiastic

The Magnetor

The Magnetor, according to this advert placed in the Winter 1958 issue of Tomorrow, the quarterly review of psychical research, is a 'stunning device' and an 'admirable conversation piece' which 'demonstrates dramatically reality of the non-material.' Apart from having an aversion to the definite article, the person who placed this advert from the office of a distinctly dodgy outfit in Woodstock, New York, called ‘the Far-A-Field  Co’, also seems a trifle unforthcoming about the actual powers of the Magnetor.

The phrase ‘conversation piece ‘is usually a warning sign that what you are urged to buy is a load of old tat disguised as something extraordinarily fascinating. In the case of this particular device, the word Caution inscribed on a label tagged to the base of what seems to be some sort of electrical apparatus, is a direct invitation to the adventurous among the Tomorrow readership to do something dangerous.

It’s all appears rather fraudulent,

Quest for Fire 'undeserving of translation'

Found with the press cutting about Anthony Burgess inventing a grunt language for the 1980 movie Quest for Fire, this reader's report for Souvenir Press about the possibility of publishing an English translation of the original 1911 book. The report is by the distinguished translator Eric Mosbacher (1903-1998) who had translated Freud and Silone and at the time of the report would have been working on Pitgrilli's novel Cocaine. Not noted is the fact that J.H. Rosny's book  had already been translated by one H.Talbott and had appeared in America in 1967 under the Pantheon imprint. The mention of 'strip cartoons' is fortuitous as the book had appeared in France more than once in this format.

La Guerre du Feu. 
By J. H. Rosny Aine.
Published by Bibliotheque-Charpentier, 11 Rue de Grenelle Paris (1911)

This remarkably uninspired story is totally undeserving of translation, and the Souvenir Press Ltd. should firmly decline it.
It was obviously written many years ago and half-heartedly masquerades as literature, but belongs to a genre which has long since been overtaken by the strip cartoon. The time is prehistoric, thousands and thousands of years ago, when the aurochs and the mammoth still flourished.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quest for Fire & Burgess (1980)

Found- a press-cutting from 9th November 1980 about Anthony Burgess and the making of the movie Quest for Fire - which came out in 1981. Burgess created a primitive language which is spoken in the movie by the Ulam tribe. The article is joshing in tone. It was published in the 'Public Eye' section of The Observer, possibly a sort of gossip column.

Anthony Burgess Back to Basics

Remarkable things have come off the typewriter off the author Anthony Burgess; but none so odd  as two hours of grunts for a £4 million film about the Stone Age.' Hell of a lot of work creating a language on basic principles', he says.

The grunting, Burgess-style,  has been going on around Aviemore in the Scottish highlands. 14 elephants, heavily disguised as woolly mastodons are also playing their parts, trumpeting as they fancy without literary guidance.

 On the telephone from his home in Monaco, the distinguished grunt writer seemed astounded  that the film Quest for Fire was not being shot in Iceland. 'I thought they'd sent the elephants up there'  said Burgess.  'The lights good in Iceland.'

Wilfred Owen - 'A Cribber'?

Has it ever been acknowledged that the memorable and now iconic line of Wilfred Owen- ‘the pity of war’ is actually the title of a novel from 1906, that happened to be written by his close friend and fellow soldier-combatant Conal O’Riordan?!
The Pity of War. F. Norreys Connell ( i.e. Conal O’Riordan) 1906. Henry J Glaisher, London. [Sent in by ATSJ - for which thanks]

Friday, February 20, 2015

Japanese Rupees in Burma 1944

Fell out of a book - this curious souvenir of what is now known as The Burma Campaign - which raged from 1941 to 1945 with the Japanese in the ascendant much of this time. The tide was turned (with heavy losses on both sides) in early 1945 and Mountbatten staged an elaborate victory parade, at which he took the salute in Rangoon on 15 June of that year. This took place despite the fact that thousands of Japanese were still fighting hard behind British lines - as they tried desperately to escape across the Sittang river into Thailand, losing heavily as they went. This 100 Rupee note printed by the Japanese was issued under their 'puppet government' lead by Dr Ba Maw in early 1944.

Jabberwock Jot Cloud

Origin of the species of word cloud, a summary of all around Jot101, seditiously aimed at foxing the meanderer with buzzwords. In a world where books are generated without human intervention (see Bookride Half Book / Half Biscuit-the story of Lambert, a robot who wrote 150,000 books) engineers are kings; fine minds - but do they have books on their shelves? Are they steeped in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy or even the non fiction of Goethe or  Franzen? -- possibly. Now - a boat load of flotsam; claptrap masqueraded - ending with a resounding quote from deathless Robert Burton…

The Jabberwock just awake Finnegan version using organic, optimistic search engine keywords, shade grown too - if you get the drift of my banter... talking big data, the world brain of H.G. Wells, an olla podrida, a rag bag of information, trivia and factoids. A hotch potch, a mélange, a damned farrago, a salmagundi, too hot to hoot... Knowledge is power. Truth is beauty. Need to know this (and much more) on earth. Hail that one silent human (in mocha brown) who will actually get it and reap the whirlwind. A coming world of leisure where time is spent in pursuit of knowledge and robots empty the waste paper basket. A dream of no work, all play and jack not a dull boy any more.

The oddest collection, passing strange, a saga, a fantasy, an unlocked roman a clef, with Captain Cuttle and the pedant Casaubon (a maligned man, Madam George). Keeping some sort of record, factoids, footnotes, ephemeroids, factbooks and essential trivia not lost but kept in a safe deposit box. An information bank, an interest bearing investment (they never saw that they needed it). An index of all knowledge, no less. Know more. In the flat box lay the lost monograph- A Proposal for an Information Sharing Galaxy.

An amazing expanding archive, beyond the algorithmic dream, post Mass Observation, many beautiful things no longer lost, bringing forth the one mind of the Gods, the all seeing eye - the library of Babel, Alexandria, far Antioch and the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft. Universal access to all knowledge [A2K]. A vanished world recaptured. Notes and Queries honoured: New Encyclopaedists [Encyc2]. Nothing lost or forgotten. Time spent in research, curiosity and scholarship (the daring to be dull) the Renaissance ideal, the Victorian vicarage - just 4 hours a week of money yielding work. By Timothy! The answer is written on the wind, on the wall of the world. So much to know. Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus... "He had a tale to tell." Madam, I'm Adam. Exit, pursued by a bear.

Robert Burton takes the baton: "---shipwrecks, piracies, and sea-fights, peace, leagues, stratagems, and fresh alarms. A vast confusion of vows, wishes, actions, edicts, petitions, lawsuits, pleas, laws, proclamations, complaints, grievances, are daily brought to our ears. New books every day, pamphlets, currantoes, stories, whole catalogues of volumes of all sorts, new paradoxes, opinions, schisms, heresies, controversies in philosophy, religion...Now come tidings of weddings, maskings, mummeries, entertainments, jubilees, embassies, tilts and tournaments, trophies, triumphs, revels, sports, plays: then again, as in a new shifted scene, treasons, cheating tricks, robberies, enormous villainies in all kinds, funerals, burials, deaths of Princes, new discoveries, expeditions; now comical then tragical matters. Today we hear of new Lords and officers created, to-morrow of some great men deposed. And then again of fresh honours conferred; one is let loose, another imprisoned, one purchaseth, another breaketh; he thrives, his neighbour turns bankrupt; now plenty, then again dearth and famine; one runs, another rides, wrangles, laughs, weeps…

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Meaning of the Missiles

The Meaning of the Missiles---a Cold War warning from American peace organisations.

If the cease fire in Eastern Ukraine fails and the US government votes to arm the Ukraine forces, some experts predict that this dangerous escalation could create a situation similar in its ramifications to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

This 'Survival Leaflet no 6', which was issued in 1958/59 by three American peace organisations, possibly  directed by Quaker pacifists, but acting in concert, seems deliberately alarmist in its predictions of a push button nuclear war in which American cities are atomised by Soviet H bombs and cities in the Soviet Union are destroyed by rockets from European installations under the control of the Pentagon. But this destruction was quite feasible in 1957, when, according to the leaflet there were 'precise plans to erect in Europe some fourteen rocket positions in each of which will be emplaced perhaps fifteen missiles.'

The antidote to such warmongering, according to the authors of this pamphlet, is love and pragmatism overcoming political ideology. Public opinion in favour of a build up of missiles must be changed and the way to do this was for American lovers of peace to write to their representatives, talk to those in positions of power, organise local meetings and distribute copies of this leaflet, which cost $1 for 50. [RR]

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gladstone at Dollis Hill

One of the most crass and insensitive planning decisions made in 2012 was the demolition of Dollis Hill House in NW London. The fact that this semi-ruinous building, which began as a farmhouse in 1825, was once the country retreat of four-times Prime Minister William Gladstone and the home for a while of American novelist Mark Twain, couldn’t  save it from the philistines on Brent Council or, for that matter English Heritage. It has been argued that too much money was required for its restoration and back in the middle of the post 2009 recession, no entrepreneur was willing to come forward with a viable plan. A museum with a café or restaurant attached would have been a perfect use for this building. As it is, Dollis Hill Park now has a razed platform where the historic house once stood, and although there are plans for some sort of reproduction of Gladstone’s bolt hole, it is  not, dare I say, quite the same…

On the evening of 3 May 1892 the G.O.M of Victorian politics once more left his home at Carlton Gardens, in the heart of Westminster, for Dollis Hill House. Just before his departure he wrote the following letter (discovered in a collection of autographs) to a friend, possibly Lord Rendel, an old Liberal comrade.

I send herewith the Life of Manning. He was Roman, and he was ultra Roman : no man more so. But he was a great Christian, in respect of detachment from the world,

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Silence Please!

Bits and Pieces: The Penguin Book of Rock and Pop Facts and Trivia (Steve Smith 1988) has a useful section on silence in music. Naturally it starts with John Cage's piece entitled 4′33". I have seen the sheet music for this which, as I recall, has instructions about opening a piano and closing it at the end, after 4 minutes 33 seconds of obligatory silence. Smith notes that the performer, 'usually a pianist,' is expected to use his fingers to show the audience which of the song's three parts they are listening to… In Wikipedia's piece they mention that Frank Zappa recorded it as part of A Chance Operation: The John Cage Tribute on the Koch label in  1993. It was also recorded by Swedish electronic rockers Covenant in 2000 (the piece was entitled You Can Make Your Own Music.)

4'33" was first publicly performed in 1952. In 1953 CBS issued a blank record entitled 3 Minutes of Silence - it was intended for juke boxes, enabling those tired of the music to purchase a few minutes of peace and quiet. Steve Smith notes 'Hush records released a similar disc in 1959.'

The last note of She's Leaving Home on The Beatle's Sergeant Pepper album lasts 43 seconds - the last part of which appears to be silence but is at a high frequency only audible to dogs.

Allison Crowe on her 2010  album Spiral has a track Silence (82 seconds of) which can be 'heard' here.

John Lennon played around with silence several times. There is his three second silent Nutopian National Anthem from his 1973 Mind Games album and Two Minutes Silence on his 1969 Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions. This silent tribute was for John Ono Lennon II, the child that John and Yoko lost to a miscarriage in 1968. Silent tributes probably form a whole subsection…

On the 2005 album  World Play by Soul SirkUS  tracks 16 and 17 both called Soulspace are silent.

Smith notes that the title track of Afrika Bambaataa's 1986 LP Beware (The Funk is Everywhere) 'is a band of silence.'

Magic Records (actually Stiff records 'in disguise') released an album in the 1980 called The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan. It consisted of two 20 minute blank/ silent sides.Apparently John Denver has a similar silent track The Ballad of Richard Nixon. Another blank track is The Ten Coolest Things about New Jersey by The Bloodhound Gang. Similar blank gag books abound…The Wisdom of Sarah Palin, The Banker's Book of Ethics etc.,

Smith also records attempts to sell the silent space

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Florence Hancock

From the L.R. Reeve* collection of short sketches of people that he had met - this affectionate piece about teacher Florence Hancock. There is a more famous Florence Hancock who was a union leader and, confusingly, our Florence was also involved in union politics (National Union of Teachers)…

Florence Hancock

Perhaps I ought to remind readers of my main purpose throughout these pages. It is to stress the fact that wherever you live for a few years you meet very intelligent people, many of whom seem to be unaware of their distinctive qualities, who would, if they felt a compulsive urge, be leaders of any locality in which they happened to be placed. This fact has long been noted by observant members of the human community for hundreds of years, but in any century too little comment has been made of such people who are worthy to be inscribed on the pages of history, and sometimes the final mention of these 'Village Hampdens', even in a local paper, is also the first public acknowledgement of their existence. The Second World War gave us innumerable surprises in this phenomenon.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beware----Lady Decorators at Work !!

Here is one of four press photographs from the Photopress agency showing the same group of female house decorators performing various tasks. The other photographs depict two decorators limning Georgian panelling in a ‘West End mansion ‘, painting exterior window frames at the rear of another Georgian house by means of a ladder, while a third shows paint being mixed. This particular shot of three painters white washing a plaster ceiling while standing on two very precarious looking duckboards would probably horrify our Health and Safety jonnies. Back in the early 1930s, when these photos were probably taken, Risk Assessment Reports were sixty years into the future.
A slightly  sexist comment typed on the back of the Georgian panelling photo by some agency worker is worth examining:

Many of the big houses and mansions in the West End are now in the hands of decorators. At some of the houses woman decorators are busy on the job of working with effecientcy (sic) that expert decorators would find hard to beat.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Life and death in a Georgian workhouse ( A real life Mr. Bumble)

Here is a letter picked up years ago in London among a box of ephemera. It is undated, though the watermark is 1821. It is addressed to ‘Mr or Mrs Peacock’:

Mrs Kennion is quite surprised that Mr Peacock should have sent this poor boy to work. He was certainly very ill & ought to be in bed & have medical advice immediately. Mrs K will call at the workhouse about 1 o’clock & hopes that Mr Peacock will have sent for the Parish doctor before that time,that she may hear what he thinks of the child. Mrs K has sent him to Dr Sympson & Mr Richardson, but they are both from home.

A bit of Googling revealed that the action took place in Harrogate, then just beginning on its journey to becoming the most select watering place in the north of England.  In June 1822 Henry  Peacock, formerly the master of Aldborough and Boroughbridge workhouse,  arrived, with his wife Elizabeth, as the master of Harrogate’s workhouse in Starbeck. Evidently aiming to make an impression with the employers by saving money, the couple soon managed to reduce the average cost of keeping a pauper by establishing what was basically a vegetarian diet.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Rings of Baron Corvo

Biography of Baron Corvo
A.J.A. Symons
An interesting side note on the appearance of the great cult writer can be found in this speech by C.H.('Harry') Pirie-Gordon (1883-1969) co -author with Baron Corvo  of The Weird of the Wanderer (by Prospero & Caliban). Baron Corvo was also known as Frederick Rolfe. The speech was delivered at the first banquet of the Corvine Society in June 1929 16 years after Corvo's death. Caliban speaks:

"His Archblessedness the Grand Master has referred to the Baron's sub fuse (sic) and sometimes revolting vesture. I cherish happier memories of his sartorial appearance. While he was our guest, sometimes he appeared in the purple habit designed and devised by himself for the Order of Chivalry, of which we were both members, a habit sumptuous and amaranthine: at others, when dining with the doubtless bucolic society, which marvelled at his conversation and his lore, he would wear a dinner jacket of soft bluish-grey velveteen,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Stephen Graham—a prince among Soho tramps

Just a few minutes walk from Leoni’s Quo Vadis is Frith Street, now famous as the home of Private Eye, but for a century or more  the haunt of Soho journalists, writers and other near- do- wells, including Stephen Graham, who from 1912 to his death in 1975, lived in a flat at no 60, a handsome Georgian town house. In the days before adventurers in dangerous lands were accompanied by a TV crew, Stephen Graham, who described himself as ‘tramp’ before that word had gained unsavoury associations, explored a number of exotic lands, including Russia, on which he became an expert, recording his impressions in books and articles, until he could no longer finance his expeditions.

The letter, which was discovered among a batch of other unrelated correspondence, belongs to his most productive period, is written from Frith Street and is dated 4th December 1926. In it he invites a Miss Morley to an after-dinner ‘mixed party of various acquaintances who will sit around the fire & talk.’ He also invites her to bring along her copy of his recently published London Nights for him to sign.

Fascists "Uppish" Again (Tom Driberg)

Found - this cutting from the Oxford Mail - Thursday 4th February 1943 detailing an incident straight out of Foyle's War. While World War II was raging, back in England pro-Nazi 'hooligans' were getting 'uppish.' A good demonstration of fair play and free speech - but 'much to be deplored.' Tom Driberg, now the subject of several biographies, was an openly gay, Communist sympathiser and a lifetime opponent of fascism. Churchill said 'he is the sort of person who gives sodomy a bad name..' Peter Wright of Spycatcher fame said he was a double agent...

Fascists "Uppish" Again - M. P.

Mr. Driberg (Ind., Maldon) asked the Home Secretary in the Commons today if he was aware that an organisation which advocated peace by negotiation with Hilter, and distributes pro-Nazi, anti-parliamentary and anti-Semitic propaganda, was proposing to hold a public meeting at a London theatre in the near future, and whether he would take steps to prevent the holding of such a meeting as likely to provoke a breach of the peace.

Mr. Morrison said that while watch was being kept on the activities of this organisation, his present information did not suggest that this meeting was likely to attract so much public interest that serious disorder was to be apprehended, and it would be premature for him to decide at this early date whether there were ground to prohibit the meeting, under Regulation 39E.
Tom Driberg

Mr. Driberg: Will you bear in mind that only last night there was a deplorable exhibition of hooliganism at Finsbury, where a memorial of Lenin was broken up and tarred and placarded with Fascist slogans?
Will you bear in mind that these people do seem to be getting rather uppish again and require a sharp check?

Mr. Morrison: I will certainly look into that incident to which you refer. If true, it is much to be deplored.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snapshot of W.E. Gladstone

Found - a snapshot of W.E. Gladstone (1809 - 1898) the original 'Grand Old Man' (G.O.M.) at his country seat Hawarden Castle.  He was Prime Minister 4 times, resigning finally at the age of 84. At the time of this shot (1877) he was out of office. Written on the back of the photo (found in a book by  W.N.P. Barbellion) is 'Gladstone Centenary, December 29th 1909' (crossed out). Unique photo of late Rt. Hon. W.E. Gladstone taken at Hawarden in 1877.' Under this is a stamp 'E.J. Lavell 115 Bedford Hill, Balham S.W.' This is presumably the shop that processed the photo. An online image search reveals another fuller shot (on flickr) from the same session  revealing that the implement to his right is an axe and showing his straw boater on the ground beside him. There is  a note stating that he was relaxing after chopping wood.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Worst Government for 100 years?

This rant on Harold Wilson's Labour Government came from the Wells (Somerset) Conservative Association. It was a one page flyer printed in blue ink and had first appeared in The Daily Telegraph. Anthony Lejeune, a highly competent journalist and author is not gifted with a Wikipedia page but there are traces of his career from a search on the site. He wrote a history of London clubs and has written about Arthur Machen and Fr. Brocard Sewell. He has written about Ernest Bramah in The Tablet which may mean he is a Catholic and almost certainly a book collector…the piece (very slightly  truncated) is very much of its time (circa 1966). Politicians are no longer condemned for wearing the wrong clothes at parties.

The Worst Government for 100 years? by Anthony Lejeune.
Do you remember George Brown on television, flanked by leaders of industry and the trade unions, flourishing his fatuous Declaration of Intent? Do you remember the commentators solemnly telling us that this marked a watershed in the history of British industrial relations? And do you remember any of those commentators apologising to us since for having been taken in by so naive a piece of nonsense? I don't.

Do you remember the National Plan?
I got into trouble with the BBC for treating it, the week it was published, with the disrespect which it soon proved to deserve. I'm still waiting for an apology or even an admission that I was right.
From Private Eye

Have we heard an apology from those who scoffed at predictions that a Socialist Government would mean big tax increases and that "voluntary" wage restraint would soon be followed by compulsory wage restraint? Have we, indeed, heard many apologies from the middle-class voters who argued blandly that a spell of Labour Government would "do no harm"?

We have not. All these people seem as reluctant to admit they were wrong as Mr Wilson himself.

But there is surely cause for apology. The plethora of troubles and distances into which we have been plunged since that black Election Day in the autumn of 1964 ought not to have taken any intelligent person by surprise. They were fully predictable and were, in fact, fully predicted.

Leoni’s Quo Vadis restaurant: ‘no better place in the world to dine or lunch’

Leoni printed this praise from the film actress Evelyn Laye in a tiny promotional booklet reprinted to coincide with the Festival of Britain in 1951.The year before, journalist, S. Jay Kaufman, a veteran American, in a letter to Leoni, revealed that from 1911 to July 1914 no 27, Dean Street, Soho, which under Pepino Leoni became the Quo Vadis restaurant in 1926, had been home to himself and the painter Horace Brodsky. Back then, Kaufman explained, the domestic arrangements might have been pretty basic, but the good company had made up for this:

'The cuisine ? Ours! The charwomen ? Ourselves! And to this Adam house came Harry Kemp, John Flanagan, Augustus John, Jacob Epstein, J.T Grien, Lillian Shelley, Nelson Keys, Lily Cadogan, David Burton, Louis Wolheim Arnold Daly, Sir Charles Cochran , Leon M Lion, Constance Collier, Granville Barker, and Frank Harris…’

That’s quite a crowd! Laye’s encomium from 1948 is joined in Leoni’s booklet by 'appreciations' from a number of very satisfied customers, including big names, such as stage designer Edward Gordon Craig (‘ I eat better there than anywhere else’) and Max Beerbohm. As for Kaufman himself, he testifies that in his day American stars like Jimmy Durante, Hoagy Carmichael and Joseph Cotton were also regulars at Quo Vadis.

In addition to these big-name recommendations, Leoni’s, booklet features photos of Italian beauty spots,