PREFACE

The point at which one starts an autobiocrappy is probably the hardest decision for such a work because after that, the book is already written and it’s all about laying things out in the right order. Well not entirely I suppose, as something about the work should be interesting to the reader otherwise what’s the point, unless it’s written with a contingency in mind that one day thousands of years from now it will be discovered and treated as a rare example of how humans once lived on the planet before they evolved into three headed dragons.

Having read the biographies and autobiography of Winston Churchill it’s fair to announce that I enjoyed a lot more the biographies of Mohandas Karamchad Ghandi and even Clive James and Tommy Cooper. Churchill I read when a teenager, a linear life over abundantly recorded with indisputable testimony and a life’s work that is rarely seen. Churchill said, that if he had to live his life over again, he simply wouldn’t have the time, that’s how eventful the story of that man is. His literary achievements alone inspire awe, ‘A History of the English-Speaking Peoples’ being one such enormous work work alone, four volumes published between 1956 and 1958. Yet this is superceded by an exemplary military career and then there’s the political achievements that far outweigh that of his father Lord Randolph Churchill.

The more enjoyable biographies were composed in a more modular fashion, dipping in and out of the great events of one’s life. By the end you have a better understanding of who that person was as opposed to what their life involved step by step. Perhaps for the Churchillians a sequential log is better served for posterity, but far away the better read is the modular. In this sense despite having read many books on Churchill, I am far more knowing of the ways of Clive James having read just one book.

Now you see why the life of Ghandi stuck with me for so long. It was a book that brought out intense emotion in me. All the things that a writer aims for, empathy, sadness, fear, wonder, are skilfully toyed with in what we call the writers’ craft. I understand what was driving Ghandi whereas I’ll never understand what drove Churchill.

The real attraction of biographies for the reader, is a view into someone else’s mind. We are comparing ourselves all the time; it’s reassuring when we learn that one of our idiosyncrasies is shared by someone else. We do not have to be alone in life but our minds are on their own and so it’s a comfort we seek to share similar thoughts with others. This happens when you read about someone’s thoughts and it brings out a chuckle in you, because you have made a connection, cemented a thought.

For much of my youth I had revered Churchill, this British Bulldog icon. He was a bold, brash, active and unimaginably clever man. But the more you become saturated with his life, the more it dawns on you that he was not a philanthropist but destroyer of life. He was a power-monger, a child of the aristocracy, of privileged birth, not like most of us, and to that extent thought of himself as a superior being. He believed that he was born for a purpose, that he had a great destiny and purpose. In this respect he was nothing more than arrogant. In fact his thirst for blood compares no less favourable today to Syrian dictator Assad.

How I came to read about Clive James I don’t know, but I was surprised to see that he lived in Tufnell Park Road, just a half mile from where I was reading the book. I was struck by his humble beginnings and how his wit alone propelled him to global fame. On the other hand, my most favourite comedians Tommy Cooper turned out to be a wife beater. He kept a mistress for most of his life of which his wife was well aware. He had a violent temper; on one occasion he completed a meal in a restaurant then promptly got up and walked out without paying because he had not enjoyed the meal.

So, in this preface to my own autobiocrappy I must declare that a life so uneventful as mine is not worthy of documentation in a linear or modular way. Neither do words from a mediocrity such as I, deserve to leave something for humankind to discover in the future. Ordinary people simply do not write about their life – there is never the time for such nonsense. Let’s say I’ve written some chapters as and when the opportunity arose, so it is not complete of definitive, and quite possibly of no interest to anyone but me.

PREFACE

The point at which one starts an autobiocrappy is probably the hardest decision for such a work because after that, the book is already written and it’s all about laying things out in the right order. Well not entirely I suppose, as something about the work should be interesting to the reader otherwise what’s the point, unless it’s written with a contingency in mind that one day thousands of years from now it will be discovered and treated as a rare example of how humans once lived on the planet before they evolved into three headed dragons.

Having read the biographies and autobiography of Winston Churchill it’s fair to announce that I enjoyed a lot more the biographies of Mohandas Karamchad Ghandi and even Clive James and Tommy Cooper. Churchill I read when a teenager, a linear life over abundantly recorded with indisputable testimony and a life’s work that is rarely seen. Churchill said, that if he had to live his life over again, he simply wouldn’t have the time, that’s how eventful the story of that man is. His literary achievements alone inspire awe, ‘A History of the English-Speaking Peoples’ being one such enormous work work alone, four volumes published between 1956 and 1958. Yet this is superceded by an exemplary military career and then there’s the political achievements that far outweigh that of his father Lord Randolph Churchill.

The more enjoyable biographies were composed in a more modular fashion, dipping in and out of the great events of one’s life. By the end you have a better understanding of who that person was as opposed to what their life involved step by step. Perhaps for the Churchillians a sequential log is better served for posterity, but far away the better read is the modular. In this sense despite having read many books on Churchill, I am far more knowing of the ways of Clive James having read just one book.

Now you see why the life of Ghandi stuck with me for so long. It was a book that brought out intense emotion in me. All the things that a writer aims for, empathy, sadness, fear, wonder, are skilfully toyed with in what we call the writers’ craft. I understand what was driving Ghandi whereas I’ll never understand what drove Churchill.

The real attraction of biographies for the reader, is a view into someone else’s mind. We are comparing ourselves all the time; it’s reassuring when we learn that one of our idiosyncrasies is shared by someone else. We do not have to be alone in life but our minds are on their own and so it’s a comfort we seek to share similar thoughts with others. This happens when you read about someone’s thoughts and it brings out a chuckle in you, because you have made a connection, cemented a thought.

For much of my youth I had revered Churchill, this British Bulldog icon. He was a bold, brash, active and unimaginably clever man. But the more you become saturated with his life, the more it dawns on you that he was not a philanthropist but destroyer of life. He was a power-monger, a child of the aristocracy, of privileged birth, not like most of us, and to that extent thought of himself as a superior being. He believed that he was born for a purpose, that he had a great destiny and purpose. In this respect he was nothing more than arrogant. In fact his thirst for blood compares no less favourable today to Syrian dictator Assad.

How I came to read about Clive James I don’t know, but I was surprised to see that he lived in Tufnell Park Road, just a half mile from where I was reading the book. I was struck by his humble beginnings and how his wit alone propelled him to global fame. On the other hand, my most favourite comedians Tommy Cooper turned out to be a wife beater. He kept a mistress for most of his life of which his wife was well aware. He had a violent temper; on one occasion he completed a meal in a restaurant then promptly got up and walked out without paying because he had not enjoyed the meal.

So, in this preface to my own autobiocrappy I must declare that a life so uneventful as mine is not worthy of documentation in a linear or modular way. Neither do words from a mediocrity such as I, deserve to leave something for humankind to discover in the future. Ordinary people simply do not write about their life – there is never the time for such nonsense. Let’s say I’ve written some chapters as and when the opportunity arose, so it is not complete of definitive, and quite possibly of no interest to anyone but me.