An Encyclopaedia of Myself by Jonathan Meades

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By Jonathan Meades

"Nothing wilfully invented. reminiscence invents unbidden.' The Nineteen Fifties weren't gray. In Jonathan Meades's exact, petit-point memoir they're luridly polychromatic. They have been peopled by means of embittered grotesques, bogus majors, vicious spinsters, reckless bohos, pompous boors, suicides. dying went dogging all over.

Salisbury, the place he used to be cited, had industries: God and the chilly warfare, either one of which supplied a forged of adults for the kid to scrutinise – desiccated God-botherers at the one hand, gung-ho chemical warriors at the different.

The name is grossly erroneous. This publication is, relatively, a portrait of a disappeared provincial England, a time and position unpeeled with grotesque take pleasure in.

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Still, this lady with the curved spine, but a spine nonetheless, stuck it out. And something happened. She told young Jessie Binford: Everything grows from the bottom up. This place belongs to everybody, not just Johnny Da Pow. And downtown. No, she told Jessie, I have no blueprint. We learn from life itself. So many years later, years of small triumphs and large losses, Jessie Binford, ninety, is seated in a small Blackstone Hotel room. The Blackstone again, for God’s sake? It isn’t a smoke-filled room this time.

These were the Hands of Chi- 28 stud s te r ke l cago making themselves heard loud and clear. It was the truly Grand Hotel, and I felt like the concierge of the Ritz of Paris. There were labor battles, historic ones, where the fight for the eight-hour day had begun. ” It was in Chicago that the Haymarket Affair took place and four men were hanged in a farcical trial that earned our city the world’s opprobrium. Yet it is to our city’s honor that our governor, John Peter Altgeld, pardoned the three surviving defendants in one of the most eloquent documents ever issued on behalf of justice.

Remember J. Ham Lewis of your state, Illinois? He grabbed me in the Senate cloakroom. ” Of course. We called him Dr. Brush. He was my senator, and he had slaughtered Ruth Hanna McCormick, the colonel’s cousin, in the senatorial race of ’34. “Do you realize, Senator Wheeler, J. ” J. Ham and the Kid were each in a class by himself, well dressed. Oh, sure, there was Jimmy Walker, the one-time mayor of New York,and the Prince of Wales,who,with his great love,Wally Simpson, didn’t think Hitler was quite that bad.

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