Taking over from the late Jeffrey Bernard, Jeremy Clarke has been the ‘Low Life’ columnist for the London Spectator – the oldest weekly magazine in the English-speaking world – since 2001. He was diagnosed with cancer in April 2013. ‘A week after I was told, believing that I didn’t have long to live, I went to Butlins. If the two Butlins columns collected here have a peculiar or elegiac tone, that’s why.’
Indeed, the columns in this selection were all written post-diagnosis.
‘Nearly two years later, to the disappointment of my friends, I’m still here. Reaching down inside my trousers to feel my testicles as I write, they are roughly the size of garden peas. The hormone treatment has caused them to wither on the vine. Otherwise I’m cheerful. In fact, I’ve never been happier. True story.’