Tuesday, 1 April 2008
Oxford Here We Come
What has this man got to look so animated about? The answer seems to be that he has penetrated one of the more traditional Oxford colleges, Christ Church (it is a hideous solecism to say "Christ Church College", as opposed to "Christ Church", a crime for which those men in bowler hats prowling the quad would probably disembowel you) in order to deliver a talk to a lively, intelligent, enthusiastic audience about his new book on the Victorian travellers. It was a beautiful day in Oxford, feeling like the first day of spring, and it reminded me, as I explained, of the day I came to Oxford in 1996 to launch my biography of Matthew Arnold ("the line of festal light in Christ Church Hall" - The Scholar Gypsy) at Blackwell's to an audience of three and a half people. Yesterday's event by contrast was a sellout but let me be the first to point out it was a very small venue. Tomorrow, Liverpool!