I feel in some ways like I’m late to the party in the same way that I was with Anthony Bourdain, but not exactly.
I knew about Clive James from his TV shows that I watched with my dad back in the eighties. My dad liked him … I did too. He straddled that ground occupied by good blokes and intellects alike. I didn’t really get it then, but it makes sense now of why my dad and I both liked him. We pulled different things out of the experience.
Is it an age thing? Like the appreciation of Woody Allen’s films that grow on you? Mortality reframes a lot of things, but I for one would rather appreciate someone when they are alive. I honeslty didn’t recognise that there were so many facets to Clive James; I missed his brilliance, or at least a large part of it.
I binge-watched Talking In The Library, and I watched some of the interviews he conducted in his last year, listened to him read some of his poetry, and fell in love with him in the same way I fell in love with Bourdain. Both of them made me feel less alone.
When someone gives voice to thoughts you haven’t quite been able to articulate yourself, it’s a gift. I’m what some people would call soft, prone to tears when things move me. I look forward to digging into the treasure trove I somehow missed.