ALISTAIR COOKE AND THE SADNESS AND GENIUS OF AMERICA

The Late Review just ran a piece about veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke and the new archive. What a treasure. But deeply personal here, especially in how I used to listen with my father to his broadcasts. His intelligence and civilisation, his subtle ironies, were entrancing, but how funny to hear reviewers arguing about his talents, or patrician style and relevance. He tried to speak beyond the immediate, at a cultural level, but I woke up to a true life sadness out of one event only. Namely that the master of those ‘Letters from America’, much themselves about a translation between a US and changing British World, had died, but then had had his bones stolen in New York City. What would he have said, with a smile, but that life is getting quicker and quicker, but all passes in shadows and dust, and probably everything returns too?

DCD

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