It was very sad news to that Clive James, the Australian writer and broadcaster known around the world for his dry wit, died recently at the age of 80
When it came to his use of language he had a unique talent, which along with his style and distinctive voice, made him unforgettable. Now that I help people become more effective communicators, I really appreciate how his skill with words still has the ability to engage, inspire and entertain. It's a skill we can all learn from.
Numerous tributes have shown how his critique, commentary, poetry and writing became part of so many lives. Tony Hall, the BBC's director-general, summed his life up well by saying The irreplaceable James was a clever, witty and thought-provoking broadcaster.
I particularly remember him on my TV screen in the 80’s, as he showed us bizarre game shows from around the world including the unforgettable Japanese game show Endurance. Perhaps this was the inspiration for I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here!
I remember reading his book Unreliable Memoirs and have been reading it again and I’m finding it even more hilarious than when I first read it.
It feels like he’s talking to each of us individually and you can hear that wonderful voice delivered with self-effacing charm. Not many authors have this ability, but Clive James had it in everything he wrote. We may not have his talent, but it's certainly something we can aspire to.
Mind you I didn’t understand all of his stunning vocabulary, for example, this is an excerpt from the book; It often happens that we are most touched by what we are least capable of. Evanescent delicacy is not the quality in the arts that I admire most, but it is often the characteristic by which I am most reduced to envy.
Wonderful words but I did have to look up “Evanescent” ... which, by the way, means soon passing out of sight!