Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Balls Gets Teary

In these lachrymose times, it seems that the defining question interviewers ask of Famous People is becoming 'What makes you cry?' Ed Balls is the latest to reveal to a startled world what tickles his tear ducts, and it seems that Balls, like most thugs, has a sentimental streak. The Sound of Music, he claims, makes him cry - as do those moments on Antiques Roadshow when the expert reveals that the unconsidered trifle bought for a song is in fact a treasure worth a king's ransom. Perhaps this explains the Balls-Brown approach to the nation's economy - all along they were convinced that one day something would turn up in the attic worth so much that they could pay off all those debts. Picture them falling into each other's arms, weeping with helpless joy...
There was a time when the defining question was 'What do you believe?' In her wonderful biography of The Knox Brothers, Penelope Fitzgerald recalls that in the Twenties, a time when the press had a great hunger for celebrities, 'another use for Famous People, so popular that it amounted to mania, was the collection of their opinions about God - 'What I Believe'. Everyone was asked, from Bertrand Russell to the excavators of Tutankhamun's tomb. Eddie [PF's journalist father] contributed to this in Punch by claiming to have interviewed Steve Donoghue, the champion jockey, and getting the reply: 'I have always been conscious, especially at the finish of a race, that Good and Evil are Relative Notions, and Sin is a Mere Negative', while Jack Hobbs is said to have smiled quietly at the scant interest his fellow batsmen took in eschatology...'

4 comments:

  1. 'I have always been conscious, especially at the finish of a race, that Good and Evil are Relative Notions,


    Lovely touch. Does this hint he started the race as a biblical literalist? Did he see the Derby Stakes as a kind of modern Pilgram's Progess.

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