Arab Today, arab today a point of view
Last Updated : GMT 15:34:19
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

A Point of View

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today A Point of View

London - Arabstoday

At his best, Clive James can nail a topic better than anyone. It’s something to do with his Aussie sense of the absurd, his impatience with posturing, combined with his deep reading back in time and across the spectrum. He knows his stuff, and because of this he can walk around a subject in 360 degrees. He’s irreverent and funny, clever without being cynical, and not afraid to flex his wits on anything and everything, from Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent to the essays of Montaigne, by way of an MP’s duck house, the significance of Al Gore’s decision to live at sea level, and the “brave and beautiful” Aung San Suu Kyi. As he tells us: “The secret of criticism is to know what your real feelings are before you try to express them.” His latest book, A Point of View, is a collection of his Radio 4 “essays”, first broadcast on Sunday mornings (and Friday evenings) in the slot once ruled by Alistair Cooke and his weekly letter from America. “There’s just no denying that you can’t eat your fill without insulting a lot of people who have nothing to eat at all,” he told us in August 2007 in a talk that began with the line, “Clams are happy”, from an early Robert Redford film, The Candidate, but which segued into hunger in Darfur, melancholy and the sheer pleasure of eating a slice of watermelon. The essay, a pithy monologue on a theme with variations, has been a staple of radio since wireless broadcasting by the BBC began in the Twenties. At its best it’s inspired by a news story but wanders off on a journey into realms of knowledge only to return to the original point with a nugget of insight gleaned from the trip. Since Cooke’s death in 2004, various contributors, including James, Mary Beard, Will Self, Joan Bakewell and Lisa Jardine, have attempted to take over his role as Radio 4’s resident seer, but none has quite succeeded in capturing his consistency and authority. Perhaps this is because the “alert and receptive listener” of Cooke’s heyday has been replaced by the “i generation”, obsessed with their iPhones, iPads, iPods and the overall importance of i-ness. We’re all becoming less capable of precision thinking. Radio, though, is experiencing an extraordinary renaissance, a rebirth that James is willing to acknowledge in spite of having made his name by writing about television, who then became even more famous for being on television, and who is still writing about television for this paper. James values the disciplines imposed by a medium where words matter most. “Spurred by the requirement to get long arguments into a short space”, in this case 1,600 words (twice the length of this review) or 10 minutes’ worth of radio time, James promises in his introduction to this collection to come up with an “occasional… usefully portable phrase, upon whose cogency one could preen oneself”. In March 2008, he presciently declares in an essay provoked by a news story about the amorous emails of a friend of Ken Livingstone, who was then Mayor of London: “Pinching private phone calls and emails ought to be a crime, but somehow it isn’t.” I particularly like that “somehow”, and the way he both trivialises and finesses the crime by describing it as “pinching”. A Point of View, though, is diminished by the addition of a “PS” to each edition, as if suggesting that the original script for the broadcast was in some way insufficient. After an essay on the latest exhibit on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, James writes, “The deliberate repetitions in the first paragraph of this script are examples of what can sound quite clever in a broadcast or a stage routine, but might be less advisable in an essay for the page, because the reader can take the necessary time to spot the workings.” With his critical hat on, James is spot on. If an essay needs a PS, then in some way it hasn’t worked. But he can still make you laugh out loud, as when he takes off from a tabloid tale about David Cameron’s illegal bike-riding antics into a flight of fancy about General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or writes about how Bruce Willis can “maintain a wry smirk while being blown backwards through plate glass”. In fact, this collection is perfect reading for the train, each essay short enough not to require too long a concentration span, but written loud enough to draw you right in, drowning out the voice of the person sitting next to you on their mobile phone.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today a point of view Arab Today, arab today a point of view

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today a point of view Arab Today, arab today a point of view

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today Russia and Iraq restore air travel

GMT 11:40 2017 Monday ,18 September

Russia and Iraq restore air travel
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today 600,000 children may flee to Bangladesh

GMT 06:49 2017 Monday ,18 September

600,000 children may flee to Bangladesh
Arab Today, arab today Equifax executives step down

GMT 16:16 2017 Saturday ,16 September

Equifax executives step down
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Ministry seeks to improve education

GMT 14:49 2017 Sunday ,17 September

Ministry seeks to improve education
Arab Today, arab today New Zealand opposition looks

GMT 10:35 2017 Thursday ,14 September

New Zealand opposition looks
Arab Today, arab today 5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year

GMT 19:18 2017 Monday ,18 September

5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show

GMT 12:04 2017 Monday ,18 September

Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show
Arab Today, arab today Renault-Nissan to launch

GMT 10:44 2017 Saturday ,16 September

Renault-Nissan to launch
Arab Today, arab today Eman Al Assy receives three offers

GMT 06:31 2017 Saturday ,16 September

Eman Al Assy receives three offers
Arab Today, arab today 'Severe' Typhoon Doksuri pounds Vietnam

GMT 15:49 2017 Friday ,15 September

'Severe' Typhoon Doksuri pounds Vietnam

GMT 11:10 2017 Friday ,15 September

Fadl Shaker retreats from surrendering himself

GMT 05:05 2017 Tuesday ,12 September

Pregnant woman's suicide roils China

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 10:25 2017 Thursday ,14 September

Greece fumbled oil spill response

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 04:45 2017 Sunday ,17 September

France's hurricane-hit St Martin

GMT 11:53 2017 Saturday ,16 September

Jolie effect helps Namibian tourism

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 12:56 2017 Friday ,15 September

Apple's grand plan in Ireland held up by a forest

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday