Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Hitchens brothers and Charlton Heston

Also in today's blog

Can you name the six countries bordering Iraq?
The Actor's Life
The Hestons' long marriage

The Hitchens brothers and Charlton Heston

"Christopher and Peter Hitchens are two of Britain's most famous scribes, but they appear to agree on nothing. After their latest public spat, James Macintyre, who has known both brothers for many years, dissects their very odd relationship."

This comes from a June 11 article, The Anatomy of a Row, in The Independent.

Another para I copied is -

"But Christopher soon moved to America to cultivate his status as the quintessential Englishman abroad, writing prolifically for a wide range of publications including left wing journal The Nation, and gradually beginning a side-career of controversial television appearances. As an opponent of the previous Gulf War, he shocked viewers by challenging right-wing actor Charlton Heston to name the countries surrounding Iraq (Heston could not) before telling him to "keep your toupee on"."

I wonder if Christopher Hitchens could name the six countries bordering Iraq, or if he looked them up before the interview?

I'm have to admit I could name only three, the Middle East not being a part of the world I've visited or, apart from reading Stark and Thesiger, ever taken much interest in.

[Although I have just read and was shocked by a column on Baghdad in today's The Times headed "Don’t you get it? It’s a jobs surge we need. Camilla Cavendish on an overlooked blunder in Iraq."

Camilla Cavendish has been a McKinsey management consultant, an aid worker, and CEO of a not-for-profit company. She is now a leader writer and columnist on The Times. After reading today's piece, I shall keep an eye out for her byline.]

An Actor's Life

I thought Hitchen's crack about Charlton Heston's toupee was rude.

In 1979 I spent £6.95 on a hefty hardback – more than 500 pages - The Actor's Life, Journals 1956-1976 by Charlton Heston.

It starts, "Early in 1956, I started keeping a work journal. Why just then, I have no idea. It would have made more sense in 1946, when I went to New York, or when I got my first Broadway part the next year, or my first leading role after that, or when live TV started to heat up for me, or when I came West to do my first film, in 1950."

In the front of the book I've pasted a clipping from The Bookseller 21 April 1979, a photograph of Heston at the Allen Lane launch party at the National Film Theatre. With him are his editor Paul Sidey, his UK publisher's chief non-fiction editor Peter Carson and the MD of Mowbray's bookshop John Garmonsway. Where are they now? I wonder.

The Hestons' long marriage

Charlton Heston was 20 when, in 1944, he married Lydia Maria Clarke who, 63 years on, is having to cope with her husband suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

In The Actor's Life he records how Lydia went through a prolonged spell of severe migraines, possibly caused by distress at his frequent departures on business trips. He spent as much time flying round the world as does Macmillan CEO Richard Charkin. [See link in sidebar].

When their two children were on vacation and Heston was on location for a film, his family accompanied him and Lydia enjoyed being abroad. By the end of the book her migraines seem to be over.

Overall, their relationship proves that young marriages are not necessarily reckless if the couple are a level-headed pair who marry for the right reasons.

Tomorrow : the major pros and minor cons of Google


At 14 June, 2007, Blogger Richard Havers said...

I worked in the airline business for twenty years and ended up hating the travel. I flew across the Atlantic, in each direction, 96 times in four years - it nearly killed me. It all came to a head when my boss called me from Houston and said,
“We shall have our international division meeting this quarter in Guam.”

Now I knew where it was and my heart sank. For those of you who don’t its an island in the middle of the Western Pacific Ocean and it’s a long way from anywhere – except of course the next Pacific island. To get there from London it was a flight to Los Angeles, another to Honolulu (nightstop) and then a seven and a half hour flight to Guam. Naturally I did as requested and made my way there for the meeting, which was planned to last for just a day. I arrived the evening before the meeting and at the following day’s get together I spoke, in total, for ten and a half minutes! The day after the meeting I left Guam and flew home. I was scheduled to stop off in New York on the way back because a very close friend was getting married. I missed his wedding because of various delays en route and it was at that point that I though – this is madness. Life’s too short to be travelling the world like this.

I (eventually) became a writer instead.

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