Monday, 20 April 2009

Sir Clement Freud

While the news of Sir Clement Freud’s death is clearly very sad, I have to admit that I’ve been highly entertained and amused by the coverage of his life.

Having spent pretty much the entire Easter period being ill, I wasn’t looking forward to our weekend away, particularly as the highlight was going to be trying out the newly constructed rapids at Symonds Yat. In spite of being too sickly to set foot in a boat, we headed to the ‘Yat’ on Friday for a bit of a mooch about. No kayaking meant that we quickly ran out of things to do, so headed into the nearby Saracen’s Head for a drink and a sandwich. Nosing through a couple papers, I noticed the Times had covered his life and death in some detail, and after initially browsing through, soon found myself chuckling at some his humorous observations. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. As a starting point, I’d recommend the Times obituary:

While I had realised that he was the Grandson of Sigmund Freud, and also the brother of Lucian Freud (I’m happy to engage in fisticuffs with anyone who disputes that Lucian’s the worlds greatest living painter), I hadn’t realised quite how dysfunctional a family they were. You couldn’t make it up that Clement and Lucian hadn’t talked since they were small children, reportedly over a bet on a race to Green Park (Clement apparently bet on everything). Or that he held his son’s 4th Birthday party at the Playboy Club, complete with Bunny Girls. It reminded me of ‘The Royal Tennabaums’ or maybe Sallinger’s Glass family - brilliant but eccentric.

It seemed appropriate that I should post a few of Sir Clement Freud’s quotes, which made me chuckle:

“When propositioned recently by a woman to ‘come upstairs and make love’, I had to explain that it was one or the other.”

"if you resolve to give up smoking, drinking, driving and loving, you don't actually live longer. It just seems longer."

He later gave up smoking, was known to hide his head behind curtains at parties if anyone smoked and once had an altercation with a woman on a train who was smoking just inside the no-smoking zone. "I'm only 10ft from the smoking section," she insisted. "Madame, we're only 5ft from the lavatory," he replied. "Is it all right if I piss on the floor?"

Finally, someone posted this link on Twitter of Clement telling what may well be the funniest joke ever told.

It had me in fits. What a brilliant man.

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