I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Britain's answer to the Prague P

BBC TV carried a ninety-minute programme on Jonathan Miller, the man whose polymathism I most envy: doctor, biologist, comic actor ( Beyond The Fringe), TV documentarist (the human body, atheism), play director (a good chunk of the BBC’s Shakespeare series), opera director (about eighty works worldwide) and abstract metal-welding sculptor. Plus bits in between such as director of a dramatized version of St Matthew Passion (His own comment: “Not bad for a Jewish atheist.”).

He seemed to have directed the BBC programme too, certainly shaped it. And, we think, chose the music. At one point the LvB fourth piano concerto fluttered, at another the Schubert quintet. And then, like a personal benison for me (this version is sung surprisingly in Yorkshire - well I never said Tykes can't sing) this hymn:

Immortal, invisible,
God only wise,
In light inaccessible,
Hid from our eyes…

Unresting, unhasting
And silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting,
Thou rulest in might.

Perhaps it best describes the scope of his abilities. If so, so be it. But it’s a hymn I had temporarily forgotten and I’ve subsequently washed many a plate bellowing out its unrestrained sentiments (Thy justice like mountains, High soaring above.) in our wonderful kitchen acoustic. Thanks JM.

VERIFICATION I’ve noticed some belly-aching about Blogger’s renovated word verification system. Too difficult they say. My view is different. As long as I can handle it it’s proof I’m sentient. And I’m hanging on to that.


  1. I knew him very very slightly. I lived near Regents Park and he used to wave to me at my regular bus stop as he drove past in an old jaloppy. I was always grateful though I doubted if he knew my name.

  2. I watched the programme and was completely fascinated - and, do you know, I thought of you at times and wondered if you were tuned in too.
    What a polymath - a true Reformation man.

  3. I am envious that you have the BBC. Our CBC is being rapidly decimated by our Con government, as is the arts funding across the country.

    How is the owrd verficiation working for you? Does it eliminate all the spammers? I'm considering adopting something like it since it is getting worse than ever at my place. Good people, including yours truly are captured in the spam box while the criminals get in the door, hrmph.

  4. Now I wonder if JM's prog. will get to Australia? I hope so, I hope so.

  5. Plutarch: I realised for the first time you and he went to the same school. Also, he's more or less our contemporary, only one year older than me.

    JM has figured in many memorable moments on telly. On one occasion he was rehearsing La Boheme and explaining it to a woman interviewer. They had reached Mimi's great aria and he was talking about objectivity: the problem is, he said, it's almost impossible not to weep here. The rehearsal went ahead and the camera then switched back to JM and the interviewer: both were unaffectedly in tears. And so were the LdPs.

    Avus: I often have these parallel moments, thinking about Brits living in Brit-land. And wondering - hoping - that other friends, scattered round the world, might get the opportunity. I suspect JM has been offered, and turned down, one of the tawdry honours we hand out to raincoat manufacturers and so-called financial wizards. From time to time the British press has turned against him for being just too clever and understandably he's been a bit touchy. It was marvellous to see him given full rein.

    M-L: Our problem is Murdoch (both Rupert and son James) since the BBC, paid for by everyone by an annual licence fee, is the main stumbling block preventing the Murdochs' pay-TV from dominating British television. Constantly they snipe and the Tory party seems keen to co-operate.

    However I am delighted to say that due to a campaign against phone-hacking, initiated by The Guardian (the paper I read), both Murdochs are in deep doodoo. The old man is 81 so eventually he'll shuffle off but James has had to resign two very significant posts recently and is still not out of the wood.

    My blog remains unaffected by spam.

    HHB: I hope you get it, too. Anyone even mildly interested in the arts (and that phrase greatly under-sells you) will find something to chew on. The programme is one in an intermittent series called Arena.

  6. In fact we didn't go to the same school though both our schools were in London. If we had I might have known him better when we went to Cambridge.