Sunday, 27 November 2016

Beaten to It

There is a slightly tiresome habit forming out there in the world. It is the habit of characterising 2016 as some kind of year of horrors surpassing all others. On BBC radio this morning, an announcer even said about the death of Fidel Castro, "2016 has struck again."*

Anyway, reading Penelope Fitzgerald's book called The Knox Brothers while eating my breakfast, I came across this paragraph about the editor of Punch in 1933:

"Sometimes, sitting in El Vino's with a friend of long standing, Johnny Morton, "Beachcomber", [whose work was immensely funny, for those who have never experienced him] of the Express, Eddie would agree that humour had had its day, because the state of the world was such that nothing was too absurd or too unpleasant to come true."

Does that sound at all familiar? What price 2016 now?

Mind you, I suppose pointing out that 1933 was also a bad year is hardly blowing the "2016 = dreadful" concept completely out of the water.

What remains then to cling onto in times of adversity?  Well, humour, of course, particularly a sense of the absurd. Actually that is pretty much all that keeps me going in the last analysis. While there is breath in my body for one last gale of laughter, I will insist that it has not yet had its day.

*and on that note, if you haven't already,  look up #trudeaueulogy on Twitter.


  1. Malcolm Muggeridge wrote of the challenge of editing Punch. He said that the satirical itinerary for Krushchev's visit to the UK had to be scrapped at the last minute when it was found to coincide to a great extent with the official one.

  2. That is v funny. Have been wracking my so-called brains for a witty comment on your post re your habit of missing the graves of poets - but without success.