qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Book Review: It just occurred to me ... The reminiscences & thoughts of Chairman Humph, by Humphrey Lyttelton
This is not so much an autobiography, but a stream of consciousness, less formal and more like an intimate conversation with the reader. It has autobiographical strands, of course, such as snippets of childhood, school, and career, but it's also a carefully collected catalogue of anecdotes and personal philosophy. Where else could one possibly read of the public school fag system, followed by a recipe for scrambled eggs? Humph hails from the fringes of aristocracy but chose a more independent path after the war, including a spell as a cartoonist for the Daily Mail (surely the high point of that publication). There's a little bit about I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, of course, but more about Humph's musical passions: I'm not a great jazz fan but his writing on the subject certainly keeps me entertained. He seems to have a reputation somewhat like that of John Peel (interestingly his Radio 2 programme perhaps providing a similar path for jazz musicians to the Peel sessions), a hallowed figure who somehow spans the generations. The writing throughout is skilful, with the irascible character of Chairman Humph unmistakably showing through, but nevertheless revealing a great intelligence.
Tags: books, isihac, music, radio
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