Eighteen feet in the grave
THE BROADER PICTURE
Sunday 14 December 1997
It isn't the glamorous end of the doppelganger market. The lucky ones get to be Marilyn, or Elvis, or Diana - but many more of us resemble Victor. All we need is a gaberdine, a hunted look and a flat cap.
In the mouth of a teenager, of course, the sentence, "You're just like Victor Meldrew!" is an unqualified insult. It means you're old, skeletal, terminally cantankerous, censorious and silly; instead of enjoying life, you dedicate yourself to spoiling the fun of others.
Most of us, though, carry a Meldrew within. Mark Twain famously said that, when he was a young man, he thought his father knew or understood nothing, but that - over the years - it was amazing how much his father seemed to have learnt. So, by the time one hits 40, Victor tends to become another person entirely.
I mean to say, what are the true characteristics of Victor? He is brave (sometimes to the point of recklessness), loyal, witty and not ungenerous. He is merely - and who is not? - exasperated by rudeness and crisp packets. Like us, he cannot believe it. !
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke