From Horatio Clare

From Horatio Clare

AA GILL IN NATURIST SHOCK
AA Gill is looking smart. “Aren’t you supposed to be unwell?”
“Away?” he says, patiently
“Yes! I’ve mixed you up with Jeffrey Bernard!”
“Who is unwell.”
“Unless he’s made a full recovery in the Better Place.”
Gill grins around the gills. Time to go in with the charming truth (journalism students take note).
“You wrote a piece about sitting under a rock in Scotland in the rain. I can’t remember where I read it – …”
He narrows shooter’s eyes. “A long time ago.”
“Yes. It was absolutely beautiful. Really – …” (I tell him I get called a nature writer so I actually know what I am talking about for once. It all goes a bit lovey.)
“Thank you!” He smiles completely sweetly. They used to say – Auberon Waugh used to say of himself – that the most vicious in print were the nicest in life. Indeed, Waugh claimed his own men machine-gunned him in the war – presumably he gave one of them a bad review. Anyway, Gill is like that. A delightful man.
“I love it,” he says, “Every year, it’s the best thing, the best thing. A week in Scotland. Stalking. I fucking hate the rest of nature but I love that.”
JANINE DI GIOVANNI – God is a woman, and Janine is one of her best journalists
I am completely starstruck. It happens. She is beautiful, brilliant, brave, a legend in her trade and craft. She’s going to Damascus.
“Oh God, no.”
“Well I need money! That sounds mercenary…”
We’ve all got to eat, but only very few think going to Syria is the solution. Janine has a son, he needs to be clothed, educated, medically covered…
The Question of the Festival So Far, asked yesterday in the event featuring the Great Flur Dafydd and Horatio Clare was – So, Horatio, are you a tough guy?
So, Janine di Giovanni, are you a tough guy?
“Not a guy! No, not tough, and I don’t want to be. A writer needs to feel deeply and sensitively and convey the feelings…Do I get scared? Of course. But it’s different, I get scared walking in here (Hay Green Room) when I don’t know anybody, but if you have to go into a village where there’s been a massacre and think forensically, it’s not the same, you’re concentrating…”
Turns out she know everyone, or Simon Schama anyway – and what’s the difference?
So, Janine, what do you think of Wales?
“I love it! The people are so cantankerous. and snarky and I like how they’re territorial about their land. The Italians have given all their’s away to the Brits and the French but the Welsh are very protective.
On the strength of this I went down on one knee, mentally, and said: “Janine di Giovanni, as a Welshman, I hereby dub you Princess of Wales.”
She looked pleased.
WHEN HISTORIANS GO TO WAR
So, Anthony Beevor, if you’re the Russians and Max Hastings is the Germans, who would win?
“Agh! Well, in that case, the Russians win, in the long term, after a slow start. Don’t quote me Max is a great friend.”
Next!
BALANCE
Jane Laws has written a series of books for children about her gymanst hero, Tara, who does acrobatic gymnastics like Spellbound, whosoever they may be.
So, Jane Laws, what does you heroine teach her readers?
“Balance!”
You’ve got to love that.
OFF RECORD QUOTE BY FAMOUS PERSON
Can you imagine if he’d had all of Sky? All that cash? James Murdoch all-powerful, and the government at their service? God….
MICHAEL FRAYN AND THE MISSING BISTRO
Mr Frayn? Can I help you?
“We’re looking for the bistro…”
We’re in the foyer of the Swan Hotel. There is no bistro I can see.
“Do you find your life turns into comic farce often?”
“Yes it does rather.”
“And then it sucks in people you meet…!?”
He raises an eyebrow and I do a runner, on General Principle. It would be a brave writer who could be confident of coming out of a Frayn Farce well, bistro-based or otherwise.
James Naughtie is a public servant
He really is. On Leveson: There will be arguments down the road about people being punished unfairly or not punished enough but that is secondary to the importance of the curtain being lifted. The report is going to be out – they’re saying October, which means it will be short and specific. This is good.
On the Jubilee river pageant coverage: They had all the information, they just didn’t use it. I think the result will be they will look at it and they will say Let’s get some grown ups in. Let’s get some people who Know Stuff. (Sounds good to me, and to Chris Pattern, apparently. Go Chris!)
So, James Naughtie, have you got a book out? What are you doing here?
“Chairing events! I’ve got one on Libya, I’ve got Achilles.. I haven’t got a book out, but you wait!”
“Are you being paid?”
“PAID?? NO!” He looks horrified at the mere idea. See? This is Public Service.
PRUE LEITH ACTUALLY IS A DOMESTIC GODDESS

“Cook books will never end because they make cheap TV. When I do the Great British Menu I sell more of my novels, which is completely ridiculous. I mean all I do on the show is eat!
It must be the way you eat, Prue!
“Ha ha! It must be the way I eat!”