Clive James

Clive James WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS

14 ENTRIES Clive James was an author, critic, broadcaster and poet. He wrote more than 20 books, including his memoir, The Blaze of Obscurity, and a collection of essays, The Revolt of the Pendulum.



LATEST


'Taller When Prone' by Less Murray, Black Inc; $24.95

Society

Nobel calling

Les Murray’s ‘Taller When Prone’

arts

Beachmaster

Scanning the face of a crestfallen wave He sees his life collapsing to a close, A foaming comber racing to its grave. But after that one, there are all of those: The ranks of the unbroken, the young men Completely green, queuing to take their turn To …

arts

Numismatics

  Merely a planchet waiting to be struck, The poem shapes up but is not a coin Until, by craft, and then again by luck, He fashions clean devices fit to join A scrupulous design that he would like To look mint fresh and not like a soft strike …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

nation_reviewed

The perfectly bad sentence

In writing, to reach the depths of badness, it isn’t enough to be banal. One must strive for lower things. Almost five years have gone by since I cut out from a British newspaper the article containing the following passage, and I think I am finally …

arts

The velvet shackles of a reputation

In Dr Johnson's little novel Rasselas, the Poet tells the Prince about the psychological requirements of a poetic career. The poet, says the Poet, must "content himself with the slow progress of his name". On the other hand, he should learn to "contemn …

arts

The nymph Calypso

Planning to leave Calypso in the lurch, Odysseus snuck off to build a ship. He found the right-shaped boughs of larch or birch Or spruce, for all I know, from which to strip The bark, and ... but the details we can skip. I won't pretend that I've …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Society

Saying famous things

In Hollywood, "The son-in-law also rises" is a remark that was already part of the culture before World War II. Like the original author of "Sic transit Gloria Swanson", the original author of "The son-in-law also rises" has never been tracked down, possibly …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

nation_reviewed

Happiness writes white

Usually attributed to that prolific aphorist Anonymous, the sadly true notion that "Happiness writes white" probably emerged from Tin Pan Alley or Broadway, when somebody finally realised why most of the good love songs were about love lost. The idea …

Windows is shutting down

Culture

Windows is shutting down

Windows is shutting down, and grammar are On their last leg. So what am we to do? A letter of complaint go just so far, Proving the only one in step are you. Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes. A sentence have to be screwed pretty bad Before …

arts

The continuing insult to the language

In which English-speaking country is the English language falling apart most quickly? Britain. Are things as bad in Australia? I hope not. In Britain, in 2006, the Labour government is still trying to fix the education system, but surely one of the reasons …

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

nation_reviewed

Winning slowly

“The secret,” said Niki Lauda, “is to win going as slowly as possible.” This remark is sometimes attributed to another and even greater racing driver, Juan Manuel Fangio. Perhaps Niki Lauda was quoting it without acknowledgment. Anyway, I actually …

arts

Show me the horror

Directors, producers and the importance of unsubtlety

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Society

Comment

The nickname ‘Diamond Jim’ fitted James McClelland the way ‘Big Julie from Chicago’ fitted the gangster in Guys and Dolls who rolled spotless dice, with the difference that Diamond Jim wasn’t acting. He was really like what his nickname said: …

arts

Renegade at the Lecturn

Australia’s national philosopher: John Anderson