Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ian Jack on Ian Nairn

There are still five days left on the BBC iPlayer to watch this week's moving documentary on Ian Nairn.

Ian Jack, who appears in the documentary, remembers Nairn in his Guardian column today:
A documentary on the BBC this week by Kate Misrahi caught his troubled personality very well – the hurt eyes, the voice that always seemed about to crack with melancholy – as it slowly drowned in a sea of beer. 
I knew him a little. He was kind about things I'd written, and once or twice I stopped at his table in our office local, the Blue Lion, where he looked as though he was being reborn as a 17-stone glass of Guinness. Bulky figure, black suit, white face. The face was flecked with sweat, while a plump fist gripped a pint that, in shape and colour, might almost have been a model of its drinker. There's no point wondering why he drank so much that he was dead at 52, or about the origins of his depression. What's more important is the way he could find interest and beauty in the apparently ordinary, and so vehemently protest its neglect or destruction – a church in Bolton, an arcade in Northampton or Newcastle.
This is a chance to say that Ian Jack's column - wise and individualistic - is consistently one of the best in the British press.

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