From a purely stylistic standpoint, Clive James is one of my favourite writers. His choice of words, elegant sentence construction and rhythmic prose are just a pure delight. He can also be very, very funny.
“Hurricane Higgins smokes the way he plays [snooker] – as if there were not only no tomorrow, but hardly anything left of today.”
He’s also extremely intelligent – more intelligent than his TV shows in the 80s and 90s might have given you reason to doubt. That intelligence is on fine display in this collection of essays he wrote for BBC radio in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Covering everything from British accents to plastic surgery, climate warming to Battle of Britain RAF commanders, they’re both thought-provoking and – to repeat myself – a pleasure to read. And then re-read, for an endless supply of perfectly tuned paragraphs and sentences.
I loved it.