We asked contributors how they spark joy in this diminishing world.
Here’s one thing about the West that hasn’t declined: the small band of vignerons of the Burgundy producing wines of the most extraordinary subtlety. My man at Berry Bros & Rudd has recommended a case of 2014 Vosne-Romanée from the Domaine Sylvain Cathiard: I eagerly anticipate its delivery.
My constant companion is my Patek Philippe 5303r Minute Repeater Turbillon (RRP £497,999). It’s crafted with an open face that reveals the watch’s finely wrought inner workings. They remind me to enquire further and deeper, even as their precise machinations time my passing breath.
At the time of writing, I am 77 essays down for ‘the paper’. I currently find myself refurbishing my study with Robert Kime’s Frensham Weave wallpaper, a necessary adornment at £350 per metre. Its vivid tableau, of water and sunlight in supple motion, is a bright complement to dark times.
We are immensely blinded by our own perspectives, by custom, by the operations of the visible world. Orwell was right when he said ‘It is very hard to see what is in front of one’s own nose’. That’s why I’m grateful for my Ultra HD 48-inch Sony Bravia television: a brave new world of home entertainment.
Your anxiety never sleeps, even if you do. With that said, I get off on Porthault Jours de Paris sheets (RRP £1,500), which I bought last year complete in a set with shams, pillow and duvet cover.
I am just totally obsessed with my Visvim thorson padded cotton-blend bomber jacket, purchased with the proceeds of my long read, ‘Inquisition Mode: Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism.’
It is quite the thing that I am now the Viscount Runciman. My monthly podcast retainer permits me to work on my secret passion, Peer Pressure, a planned documentary, in which I talk with fellow men on both the precipice and the plateau of the peerage. I have just recorded an extremely powerful interview with Jamie Blandford – vital televison.
Working at the LRB is rather like going back to school, and when I say ‘school’, I mean School. It is wonderful to see so many fellow old boys in print – Rory Stew, Anderson mi, Ferdy Mount, young master de Bellaigue, Runciman fils, and of course let me issue a vale for Lord Gilmour, Mr Wyndham and Dalyell of the Binns. It’s something of a guilty pleasure, but I have become a member of the 1440 club, giving £1440 pounds a year to the Old Coll, all to keep Eton, Eton.
I’ve been deliberately extending my featured poems by throwing in a few extra made-up cod northern phrases for years – they never notice. With the resultant cash I’ve been employing a full time body double to suck up all that small talk at Poet Laureate events and also just in case Carol Ann Duffy makes an attempt on my life again.
When you reach decrepit old age, it’s comfort that you require. I’m off to Manhattan next week, mask on my face, and I will be travelling, as I always do, with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. It’s a door to door service, with the chauffeur picking you up from Camden Town and whisking you to Heathrow, where this lovely young lady by the name of Lesley is waiting to check you in, with a gin and tonic already there for Rupert. The only sadness is looking out the terminal window. It always seems to be gloriously sunny the day I leave.
Thirty years of work for the paper has helped redecorate our house in Budleigh Salterton. We’ve just taken delivery of a jacuzzi for the winter nights: a jet-black Mspa Mono Concept six-seater, to remain within government guidelines.
linda colley & david cannadine
With both of us beavering away reviewing books on subjects from royal mistresses to the global repercussions of the French Revolution, we’ve made a pretty penny from the LRB. All of it goes on our real shared passion, which is not in fact history at all, but small-imprint first-edition rap LPs. We recently acquired a rare copy of NYC pioneers Mistafide’s record Equidity Funk thanks to a weighty effort on the East India Company.
I only continue writing for the LRB to pay the lengthy legal costs I incur (£832,000 paid to Pump Court Chambers to date) in suing people who mix me, a respected professor of ancient history at Warwick University, up with James ‘Jim’ Davidson, a multiple divorcee, character reference for drug traffickers and so-called comedian from south London.
the estate of the late eric hobsbawm
‘That Mr Hobsbawm’s sizeable income stream from the LRB has been invested in portfolios across stock exchanges in London, New York and Tokyo in no way diminishes his academic credentials, and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly a seditious libeller.’