Reader Radio Timpone Aspidistra

To Orwell Today,

Hello Jackie Jura,

Heard your interview on Patrick Timpone's One Radio today... Jackie Jura Getting to the Truth Through George Orwells 1984", Thursday, August 18, 2011.

Brought back some excellent memories. I had a terrific teacher in high school who drilled us into 1984, but also a slew of other Orwell writings. I got a big kick when Patrick stumbled over Keep the Aspisdistra Flying. One of my absolute favourite books. Well, so many of them are. What is so often missed is how excellent he was as a pastoral writer. His descriptions of the English countryside are top shelf.

I was just listening to your summation of how the English public is so enamoured with 'pictures', and those kind of publications. Orwell's The Decline of the English Murder comes to mind.

So many present day goings-ons have their roots, for me, in one thing or another that Orwell wrote.

One last thing... a few years ago I was in London for a few days. When I had a day to myself, I found myself in a chat with a concierge at the hotel I was in. Turns out he had lived in the same building, a flat where Orwell lived his last days. Not the same room, but one floor above. I then set out and walked several miles across London, to this flat. There was a statue to Orwell in front of the modest, say 5 story apartment building. Old and dank. The statue was facing a small park. That is what he looked out over. And to the right was a hospital. It was eerily what I thought could have been as architecture in 1984. It had this old but modern look. Modern in terms of what the 30s or 40s may have looked with what you can do with concrete. Stark would be another word. The trek to the location itself was stark. Passing empty churches that look like they had not been rebuilt since WWII. Dreary would be the word for it.

Anyway, I made this walk to Orwell and perhaps I was projecting all this into the walk... but it all was there from his writings. Years later I saw my now much older English teacher at a school reunion. Ironically, I went to a private school and knew the word Eton well before it was ever mentioned in your interview. My school was patterned after the English private school system. More personal irony... this English teacher had gone off and become a character dancer. I became a ballet dancer tho have moved on to other things. Seems like we both felt the Orwell influence and decided to go into fantasy and entertainment. I didn't find that odd. We talked briefly about that, and Orwell.

I enjoyed your interview.

David Hughes

Greetings David,

Thanks so much for the kind comments about the radio interview with Patrick Timpone and for sharing your thoughts about Orwell.

It's impressive you've read KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING because not many people have -- or so it seems -- but I really loved that book too.

All the best,
Jackie Jura




Jackie Jura
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