The Economist on the Conservative Party

From last week’s Economist, a thoughtful piece on the state of the Conservative party:

If it can keep its head, though, and bring off a Brexit that does not plunge the country into chaos or paupery, then its long habit of exercising power, its ruthlessness with its leaders and its ability to mix firmness with flexibility—qualities which have made the Conservative Party the democratic world’s most successful political machine—may yet see it through. And the intellectual skills of a rising generation—not something it has always been able to count on—may, if exercised to the full, allow not mere survival, but success.

Image: Getty Images

Downtime: A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe

A Man In Full was my first Tom Wolfe novel. It had been on my Must Read list for a few years and, when Tom Wolfe died, I finally ordered a copy.

It’s a beautifully observed, beautifully written book that shows you its worlds through the eyes of each character, immersing you in their perceptions and prejudices.

It is often referenced because of its use of Stoic philosophy and that seems to come on two levels.

There’s the slap-in-the-face-obvious storyline of a man in his hour of darkest need, who comes across a Magic Book. The constant references thereafter to Zeus  play to this surface reading, so I guess that may have been Wolfe’s intent.

However, at a more interesting and subtle level, all of the main characters go through something of a Stoic revelation. In each arc, we see and experience their  own version of  “being a man”, from former football hero and real-estate mogul Charlie Croker’s trophy-wifed, quail-hunting, plantation-owning,  machismo, through Roger White’s educated, elegant, professional career, to young Conrad’s desperation to provide for his family. As the story progresses,  each evolves a different – and perhaps more Stoic – view of what it means to be a “man in full”.

I enjoyed it enormously, yet I came away feeling slightly let down by the final 100 pages or so (of 740). They felt rushed and, I suppose, I wanted a slightly different ending.

That said, it’s well worth a read over the summer.

 

Seth on sunk clowns and costs- @thisisseth

Another great post from Seth Godin:

Yes there was supposed to be a clown at your birthday party. No, he didn’t show up. That’s a bummer.

The question is: how long should you mourn the loss of the clown? How much more of your party are you ready to sacrifice?

Read the rest, here, and consider.

 

Photo by Anthony Rao on Unsplash

Echoes through time: leave nothing for to-morrow which can be done to-day

The leading rule for a lawyer, as for the man of any other calling, is diligence.  Leave nothing for to-morrow which can be done to-day.  Never let your correspondence fall behind.  Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), Notes for a law lecture

This echo comes via the very fine Cultural Offering blog.

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Lawyers, Guns and Money – Warren Zevon

I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

Every sovereign professional has a lawyers, guns and money moment at one point or other.

Warren Zevon’s my favourite songwriter, after Bob Dylan. He was literate, witty, satisfyingly cynical and musical. He took the easy-on-the-ear musicality of the West Coast, Asylum-label sound of the Eagles, Jackson Browne et al and added his own black humour and an edge of film noir. He also wrote the most fragile love songs.

Lawyers, Guns and Money first appeared on Zevon’s 1978 album Excitable Boy, but here I’ve chosen a version by The Wallflowers recorded for the posthumous tribute album, Enjoy Every Sandwich.

Here’s the Wallflowers and Zevon’s son Jordan (who also appears on the album) on the David Letterman Show …

And here’s Zevon himself on the David Sanborn show …

 

Don Williams, Walter Becker

I’ve been remiss, but a couple of my favourite bloggers have noted the recent passing of some great musicians.

Execupundit’s Michael Wade noted Friday’s news of Don Williams’ death with a link to one of my favourite Williams (and country) songs, Good Ole Boys Like Me.

I saw Don Williams in concert years ago at, I think, the Hammersmith Odeon (whatever they call it now). My memory is of an incredible sense of stillness.

Kurt at Cultural Offering marked the passing of the great Walter Becker, effectively one half of Steely Dan.

An incredible band; sophisticated, cool, erudite.

Walter Becker (left) and Donald Fagen. Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Becker and Williams were great musicians.

 

Don Williams Image: Rolling Stone