Books: Glued to the Box |
[Invisible line of text as temporary way to expand content column justified text width to hit margins on most viewports, simply for improved display stability in the interval between column creation and loading]

Glued to the Box

The Crystal Bucket: Cape HB 1983
Cape HB 1983
The Crystal Bucket: Picador PB 1983
Picador PB 1983

Television Criticism from the Observer 1979–82

To Pat and Dan Kavanagh

Humanity will surpass the first dirigibles as it has surpassed the first locomotives. It will surpass M. Santos-Dumont as it has surpassed Stephenson. After telephotography it will continually invent graphies and scopes and phones, all of which will be tele and one will be able to go around the earth in less than no time. But it will always be only the temporal earth. And it will even be possible to burrow inside the earth and pierce it through as I do this ball of clay. But it will always only be the carnal earth.

Charles Péguy in 1907

As in previous collections, to avoid repetition I have cut individual columns severely and left many out altogether. But certain themes, such as the Barbara Woodhouse phenomenon and the remarkable behaviour of John McEnroe, recurred so hauntingly at the time that it would be a falsification to mention them only once. In the case of the Royal Wedding I have restored certain small cuts which had to be made for production reasons. The Wimbledon column for 5 July, 1981 went unpublished because of a strike and now appears in its proper place as part of the continuing story of Harry Carpenter’s elocution.

All the people at the Observer whom I thanked in the introduction to Visions Before Midnight I can only thank again now that my race is run, while adding a special acknowledgment to Deborah Shepherd at Jonathan Cape, who with such care for detail saw all three volumes through the press. To the task of criticising the critic, my wife has always brought scholarly precision as well as infinite patience, while my daughters grew increasingly valuable as an early warning system: they were the first to spot the vital importance of Tiswas and if it had not been for their keen eyes I might have been much slower to notice that Lucy in Dallas had no neck.