Welcome to the February edition of the Oldie – a scoundrels and heroes special – appearing on the cusp of the New Year.
2019 is the 50th anniversary of the greatest rascal in history: Flashman, the bully from Tom Brown’s School Days, as reimagined in 1969 by George MacDonald Fraser. Michael Barber interviewed Fraser and writes about how he maintained a secret admiration for Flashy.
Bruce Chatwin’s biographer, Nicholas Shakespeare, mourns the loss of Chatwin, the Byron of travel writers, aged only 48, 30 years ago.
Brough Scott’s grandfather, General Jack Seely, was a hero, who led one of the last cavalry charges of World War I. Days before the charge, his friend Alfred Munnings painted him on his horse, only two miles from the German trenches.
Roy Foster recalls WB Yeats, 80 years after his death. For all his Irish Nationalism, Yeats remained a keen Protestant till the end.
Weighed down with packaging after Christmas? Lucy Lethbridge interviews the world packaging expert, Robert Opie, head of the Museum of Brands, who’s been collecting packaging, from Monster Munch to Spam, for 50 years.
With Fiona Bruce taking over at Question Time, Rosie Boycott says she’ll never reappear on the programme now it’s been taken over by C-list celebs and shouty bigots. Giles Wood bemoans the tastelessness of the rich and Gyles Brandreth says grown men shouldn’t cry. We announce the winner of our Jeremy Lewis Prize for their piece on the world’s worst holiday. And James Hughes-Onslow bids farewell to the Oldie doctor, Tom Stuttaford, at a moving memorial service at St Bride’s, Fleet Street.
A Happy New Year to all Oldie readers!
Harry Mount, Editor, The Oldie