RIP Chris Barber (1930-2021)

The death of Chris Barber earlier today, 2 March 2021, has just been announced. Here is the official statement from the Last Music Company:

Born in 1930, Chris Barber was one of the leading figures in European jazz. Together with Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk, he was one of the “Three B’s” who defined traditional jazz in Britain and spearheaded the “Trad” revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s. His interest in jazz began while he was evacuated from London during World War 2, and he began collecting 78 records of his American heroes, becoming an expert on the early days of recorded jazz. He formed his first band in London after the war, playing a trombone that he bought for £5 from the trombonist in Humphrey Lyttelton’s band. His first records were made at the end of the 1940s, but it was when he and the clarinettist Monty Sunshine formed a co-operative band in 1953 under the leadership of Ken Colyer that his career took off. Continue reading

Captain Sir Tom Moore dies with coronavirus

The 100-year-old had raised £33m for the NHS and had his daughters by his bedside in hospital.

Captain Sir Tom Moore has died with coronavirus.

The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for the NHS, was taken to Bedford Hospital after requiring help with his breathing on Sunday.

His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said he had been treated for pneumonia over the past few weeks and last week tested positive for Covid-19.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen is sending a private message of condolence to the family of Capt Sir Tom.

The Royal Family tweeted: “Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year. Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them.”

The Army veteran won the nation’s hearts by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

n a statement, Capt Sir Tom’s daughters Mrs Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore.

“We are so grateful that we were with him during the last hours of his life; Hannah, Benjie and Georgia by his bedside and Lucy on FaceTime.

“We spent hours chatting to him, reminiscing about our childhood and our wonderful mother. We shared laughter and tears together.

“The last year of our father’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of.

“Whilst he’d been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever.”

Capt Sir Tom’s daughters said the care he received from the NHS was “extraordinary”.

They said staff had been “unfalteringly professional, kind and compassionate and have given us many more years with him than we ever would have imagined”.

The Army veteran, originally from Keighley in West Yorkshire, came to prominence by walking 100 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, before his 100th birthday during the first national lockdown.

Capt Sir Tom joined the Army at the beginning of World War Two, serving in India and Myanmar, then known as Burma.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “This is incredibly sad news. Captain Tom Moore put others first at a time of national crisis and was a beacon of hope for millions. Britain has lost a hero.”

Source: Covid-19: Captain Sir Tom Moore dies with coronavirus

John le Carré obituary

Writer whose spy novels chronicle how people’s lives play out in the corrupt setting of the cold war era and beyond

John le Carré, who has died aged 89 of pneumonia, raised the spy novel to a new level of seriousness and respect.

He was in his late 20s when he began to write fiction – in longhand, in small red pocket notebooks, on his daily train journey between his home in Buckinghamshire and his day job with MI5, the counter-intelligence service, in London. After the publication of two neatly crafted novels, Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962), which received measured reviews and modest sales, he hit the big time with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold  [ . . . ]

Continue at THE GUARDIAN: John le Carré obituary

Michael Palin on “Inspirational Eccentricity”

 

By Michael Palin

This weekend two people who I admired very much died. Jan Morris and Hamish MacInnes. Both were in their 90’s, both had lived quite extraordinary lives, and I was fortunate enough to spend some time with both of them. Jan Morris was the author of Venice, one of the best travel books I ever read. It made me want to go to Venice and when I went there, with Helen, in 1967, it made being there even better.

Before she underwent gender reassignment (or ‘changed sex’ as Jan always called it) she was James Morris, the reporter for the Times on the Everest expedition of 1953, and it was he who not only broke the story of Hillary and Tensing’s success, but made sure the news got through on the day of the Queen’s coronation. Continue reading

Obituary: Jan Morris, a poet of time, place and self

She was an award-winning journalist and author with more than 40 books under her belt.

Jan Morris, who has died at the age of 94, was one the finest writers the UK has produced in the post-war era.

Her life story was crammed with romance, discovery and adventure. She was a soldier, an award-winning journalist, a novelist and – as a travel writer – became a poet of time and place.

She was also known as a pioneer in her personal life, as one of the first high-profile figures to change gender. Continue reading