Clouds of Glory: A Hoxton Childhood by Bryan Magee - review by Christopher Bray

Christopher Bray

The Life of Bryan

Clouds of Glory: A Hoxton Childhood


Jonathan Cape 343pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Twenty or thirty years ago, when British television could still lay claim to being the least bad in the world, Bryan Magee was a familiar figure on the small screen. Dapper and avuncular, he engaged philosophers in one-on-one chats on such matters as the existential moment, the politics of aesthetics and post-Chomskyan linguistics. It sounds weird but the shows looked weirder. For Magee quizzed the likes of Isaiah Berlin and Bernard Williams while sitting on a Dralon-covered sofa. Come to think of it, there were two sofas, since the chap Magee was chat&ng to had to sit somewhere too. What the famously ascetic Wittgenstein would have made of these Home-counties comforts we can only wonder. But all that Dralon did more than let Magee and whoever he was quizzing relax; it put

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