Monday, October 31, 2022

A tribute to Ian Jack

One of my favourite journalists died on Friday. Ian Jack was 77 and writing as well as ever up to the day he died.

The Guardian has an obituary of him and also an article in which six people pay tribute to him and choose their favourites among his articles.

My own is his piece from June 2021 on the decline of Rothesay, which left me with a strong desire to visit the resort:
Lack of demand ended the hotel’s cold-bath and wet-blanket therapies in the 1930s, but its superior atmosphere survived into the last decades of the last century, when Scottish trade unions still held their conferences in Rothesay's Winter Gardens and the leaders of the mineworkers, the boilermakers and the amalgamated engineers put up at the Glenburn and drank late whiskies in the bar. It was known - and still is by older Rothesay people - as "the Hydro". 
I saw it first as a child from the deck of a steamer, and by the time I reached 30 had enough confidence to sit on its veranda one late afternoon in June and ask for a Campari and soda. The bay stretched blue and unruffled towards the green hills. Only the rattle of a yacht’s anchor chain broke the quiet. I wondered - as many others have done - how such a lovely place could be so unvisited.

1 comment:

Tom Barney said...

The Scottish Liberal Party held its conference in Rothesay in 1980 and 1986 - perhaps other times as well. I have visited myself on a day trip from Lancaster, so it isn't remote.