Sir Patrick's lost love
Also in today's blog
Moral Guardian's comment and Lee Child
There was an interesting interview with Sir Patrick Moore in the Daily Telegraph recently, but unfortunately it isn't available online yet. Here, for anyone who hasn't heard of him, is another piece from an earlier Telegraph.
"Sir Patrick Moore has brought astronomy to the masses now for half a century, and is widely celebrated for his enthusiastic and supremely knowledgable commentary on television coverage of the Apollo missions to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s."
"His programme, The Sky at Night, has a devoted following, which is not least why it has clocked up 650 editions. Yet the BBC, absurdly, chose to put out the 650th at 1.55am, when only the most dedicated insomniacs would be watching, and when even most astronomers have gone to bed.
Perhaps someone thought the programme had to go out under cover of darkness to be appropriate. Or perhaps it was thought that, at a time when so much rubbish is on television, something genuinely good should not be allowed on until well after the watershed. Either way, the great Sir Patrick and his devotees deserve better."
According to the recent interview by Neil Tweedie, "Talk to him about his own life and you won't get much…He fell in love but once, with a nurse called Lorna. She died in an air raid. "My girl was killed. That was that," he says in a matter-of-fact way, refusing the temptation to "emote". "I didn't want to be a bachelor. I wanted a wife and a son but Herr Hitler had other ideas. I didn't want to live my life alone but that's the way things went unfortunately."
The interview carries a picture of him as a young man, looking rather dour but definitely attractive. Born in 1923, he would have been only 22 when WW2 started so, however much he loved Lorna, it seems a little surprising he never met anyone else. Perhaps he was discouraged from forming another attachment by his mother. His father was gassed in WW1 and died when Patrick was 24, after which he lived with his mother, who had trained as an opera singer, until her death at the age of 91. It was she who gave him a book The Story of the Solar System written in 1898 by G F Temple.
Patrick Moore was only six, with a weak heart which had necessitated his removal from preparatory school, when he received this present. "A few pages were enough to launch him into outer space."
In 2002 his mother posthumously published Mrs Moore In Space, described at Amazon UK as "A whimsical view of life on other planets by the late Gertrude Moore, mother of famous astronomer Patrick Moore, who provides the foreword. Her drawings and descriptions are humorous, yet informed. She paints a picture of a universe inhabited by exotic beings, often with amorous intentions. The paintings were made over an extended period, between 1900 and 1974."
Moral Guardian's comment and Lee Child
On the Julie Cohen/sex with a stranger discussion, Moral Guardian [rather an off-putting pseudonym] wrote - "Thank you for raising this issue. I think the key point is that novels are not meant to be morality tales. If they were, we would have to ban a high percentage of them on the grounds of encouraging murder, torture, irresponsible shopping as well as every form of sexual behaviour - a quickie in a cupboard being one of the least disturbing, by a long way."
As I've mentioned before, I'm a fan of Lee Child's thrillers. The photo of him receiving an award is borrowed from his Wikiepeda bio.
I don't remember any of Lee Child's books, or books by other crime writers I like, that don't make it clear by the end that baddies invariably or usually get their comeuppance. Will blog about the "irresponsible shopping" bandwagon another day.
[Novelist, publisher and blogger Susan Hill is another Child fan. "I have finished reading a very very good Lee Child thriller. I do find the Jack Reacher books absolutely compulsive. Graham Greene once said that the hardest writing of all was description of fast action but Child makes it look like a piece of cake."]
By the way, when I clicked on Moral Guardian's link, I didn't get taken to her blog or website but to the link above Kate Walker's comment. I have asked Kate if there's some connection, but she hasn't replied yet.
Finally, M/Guardian wrote, "As for website colours; let she who has perfect taste cast the first stone."
I can't claim perfect taste, but surely one of the functions of a website reviewer is to point out when a site needs improvements such as deleting a Flash intro, installing a search facility or email link, making the text adjustable etc? Fortunately Julie Cohen's content counterbalances her [to my eyes] garish colour scheme.
Sorry if that's not PC, but I prefer plain speaking to PC-ness and I think most of my readers do too.
More comments on comments during the week.