Gems of truth from the creator of Billy Liar
The wry observations of Keith Waterhouse, who died on Friday, aged 80
Sunday 06 September 2009
"I am rather in favour of larger-than-life newspaper bosses, but he was a bit too large." –
On the prospect of going to work for Robert Maxwell at the Daily Mirror
"I never drink when I'm writing, but I sometimes write when I drink." – To a fellow Fleet Street journalist
"Today's a day of big decisions – going to start writing me novel – 2,000 words every day, going to start getting up in the morning." – William Terrence Fisher, aka Billy, in Waterhouse's most famous work, Billy Liar
"Gordon already has a good deal of form. He is an old lag – an expert at what an accountant might call his own private double-entry system." – On Gordon Brown's handing of the financial crisis
"Whenever he poses for a photo opportunity, he feels obliged to point at whatever happens to be in shot – a pig, a hospital patient, even, if there's nothing else in view, his lady wife." – On Prince Charles
"Up there in space, scientific explorers have discovered that there is water on Mars. The evidence is that liquid water could be seen running down a leg of Nasa's Mars probe. But are they sure this wasn't just a stray Martian dog relieving itself?" – Writing about the discovery of water on Mars
"Should not the Society of Indexers be known as Indexers, Society of, The?" – From one of his columns
"The sinister thing about these professional campaigners is that once they have got what they wanted, they want still more, like Oliver." – On a plan for a minimum alcohol price suggested by England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson
"I call myself a tin roof tabernacle radical with a leaning towards political agnosticism and an economic realism amounting to studied gloom." – In a Daily Mail column
"She addresses people as though they had lost their dog." – On Margaret Thatcher
"Pre-emptive power is what the police have to stop you doing what otherwise you might have done, such as throwing a shoe at a world leader." – Writing about new powers that allow police to arrest someone before a crime is committed
"The rain, so it has been laid down, it raineth on the just, and also on the unjust fella – but chiefly on the just, because the unjust steals the just's umbrella." – On Sir Fred Goodwin's RBS pension deal
"Our schools have never been over-fond of the spoken word, except to remind us from time to time to pronounce our aitches, excluding only the word aitch itself, which does not take an aitch." – On education
"I turn over a new leaf every day but the blots show through." – On his life
"Watching the Greeks make even more of a dog's breakfast of it than we would comes as a tonic for the nation." – On Greece preparing for the 2004 Olympics
Life and career: From the press to TV and back
Born 6 February 1929, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Career Began at the Yorkshire Evening Post. Also at Punch, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail
Novels Include Billy Liar, which became a 1963 film starring Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie
Theatre Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, about his fellow hard-drinking journalist and friend, opened in the West End in 1989 with Oscar-nominated Peter O'Toole playing the lead
Television scripts written with life-long friend Willis Hall, included That Was the Week That Was, Budgie and Worzel Gummidge
Died At home in London, on 4 September 2009
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