obituaries: Gavin Ewart
Wednesday 25 October 1995
At that time Gavin Ewart was still at Wellington, where he became friends with the sympathetically subversive Esmond Romilly, nephew of Clementine Churchill, who absconded from the militaristic school soon after, to found the riot-rousing magazine Out of Bounds, which he distributed to most of the public schools in Britain from a shabby old banger. Esmond found a base in a room above David Archer's Parton Street Bookshop, at that time a rendezvous for most poets and writers of a definitely left-wing tendency. This I mention because of the significant fact that Gavin was seldom if ever to be seen there after he had left Wellington and occasionally came up to London. Not that Gavin could for a moment have been suspected of harbouring Conservative leanings. He had continued to be entirely apolitical. He would satirise the Lefties of the day for the solemnly pompous earnestness of their dedication to the Party.
I have on my favourite shelf the paperback of Late Pickings (1987) which Gavin Ewart inscribed for me. I wish I could quote from such superb examples of his maturest vein as "Making Love to Women", in which Auden, Spender, Isherwood and Yeats are cited in the 14 lines of what does not appear to be a sonnet. "Putney OAPs in 1983" comments compassionately on a scene of mindless violence that the media have made increasingly popular since the end of the Thatcher decade. "Advertising Elegiacs" recalls the early favourite celebrating "Love at the Office".
Sadly, the third part of this collection is devoted to obituary verse of a characteristically mordant order. Saddest of all is "Shall I Die? (A Critical Exercise)". No doubt he will regard his own funeral with a straight- faced incipient hilarity.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
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