Clive James 1939 – 2019
I am not a fan of critics. They create and do nothing apart from criticising. They really don’t mean that much to me. Clive James was a very different critic. He was a creator and criticised that that should be criticised in a way I hadn’t seen until I watched him doing just that.
When he arrived before my eyes, on TV in my younger life I would never miss him. I personally loved him. He was the first really different kind of rebel TV presenter I remember. A rule breaker and definitely a non-conformist of sorts.
I watched a couple of his final interviews. He had been writing about death for years. For years because years ago he was told he would be dead imminently. I heard him say on the radio one day he was shocked to be giving the interview as he should be dead.
So now he’s dead.
One thing he spoke of last night on a released TV interview was this.
“I have been given ten more years I never expected so it seemed only right to make the most of the time”Clive James
It did make me think. I asked myself, how do I manage my own time here on Earth right now? Is it really showing honour to the life I have been given and my allocation of time? What a tragedy for any man wishing he had done things differently on his deathbed. That is too late, that is all lost.
Life is right now and decreasing each and every day. What is it anyone waits for? I never read Clive Jame’s poetry despite being a writer of poetry myself. I can’t read poetry but I like to write it for me. His was a prolific poet and writer and published time and time again in many books.
And he had his failings, regrets and sins and never avoided or forget them. He was only human after all. But for me, it was just his human observation of life and reality check on the obvious. What a really funny guy, what a really deep guy and what a man of deeper human understanding.
So he wrote and wrote and wrote more books and despite his rapidly failing health he kept on writing.
Seeing him during his final interviews last night was tragic.
He shared stories, regrets, smiles, laughs and moments of real conversational magic.
His old leathery body looked beaten and looked as though it really was falling to pieces. A large ‘someone thing’ on his forehead clearly created by illness looked like a huge piece of scalp about to fall off. His skin had lost its glow. His brown teeth, his poor old sad but still apparently happy eyes. His voice was clear but the voice of an old old old man. He knew and fully understood he was about to fall off the precipice of life into everlasting night.
The failing body falling apart before your eyes. I wonder how he felt looking at his own image in a mirror at the end? Shocked at what he saw or accepting of the reality that this was part of life-ending?
No one wants death yet we are all born to die.
Do I really use my life in a way that I should use my life is the one thing on my mind all night?
Thank you, Clive James, for sharing yours.
You made me laugh and in the end you made me think about some of the more important things.
RIP 1939 – 2019