As Canada makes cannabis respectable...
There was a time - long ago - when Dr Eugenie Cheesmond was a big, big name in the battle against drugs. It still is, for me. Manchester was her battleground when I served the Daily Express. We met. She talked. Very forceful words, no nonsense. All went into print. What did she do with drugs? She told the users to flush them away and never use them again. Drug users cured under her watch sat by the side of those still fighting the habit. All night long if necessary. To make sure they did not weaken their resolve. Well, her resolve really.
As soon as I had written one features article about her she was on the phone pleading with me to write another. I was bullied, but for all the right reasons.
She set up a Lifeline Project in Manchester in 1971. Objective: to combat drugs and alcohol It eventually died not all that long ago. And in between, she died. Her project operated across England, and its income rose from £20m in 2012 to just over £60m in 2016.
Canada - it is announced - has become the second country after Uruguay to legalise possession and use of recreational cannabis.
I asked her about that: Do you approve of cannabis? Her answer: No. Not because of cannabis itself, but because "people smoke it with tobacco and it is the tobacco that is harmful."
The time clock has worked slowly in favour of that view. She would have been delighted by the outcome, late or not.
Ronald Carter, blacksmith
Violet Carson (Ena Sharples)
"The magic of Shakespeare swept me off my feet. Then I'm back to 'Ee, by gum' in the Street. It trapped me. It made me, if you like: it has gone all over the world. But it has destroyed me, because nobody sees me or anything about me."
Dame Gracie Fields & me
(Railway Children)L S Lowry (above)
"You're not getting your ball back," she used to shout. "You'll kill somebody, you lot."
The crucible (climbing)
copyright: Geoffrey Mather 2017
(collected in one spot) On growing old So there they were - Hollywood dominating the world with its Clark Gables, Jean Harlows, Spencer Tracys, Garbos and Bogarts, tears in its eyes, inventive, vulnerable, blessed by climate, limos and money but tormented, insecure and edgy as fledglings in nests. Bennett's art is to take the apparently trivial - his mother's views of "her betters" and so on - and make them meaningful in much larger ways. Miss Shepherd tested all his beliefs and inhibitions one by one. The two of them existed together, but in worlds apart, like aliens. And yet, I suspect, it was the sameness that reached furthest into the writer's psyche. His long essay on Miss Shepherd is superb. Even on the second reading, I was laughing out loud, to the disgust of the dog,, and in the next sentence feeling for Bennett's own agony. So you have this magic formula, where the relationship between two people over 20 years can match the life experiences of us all.
"I am all for the unusual on Page One. I do not read stories of the type headed ' Bandits gag, tie up woman' very much nowadays because people are always gagging and tying up women. Such incidents are as common as gas-oven suicides."
became editor of the Daily Express in October, 1933, a position he held for 24 years until 1957. During his editorship sales peaked at two million in 1935, over three million in 1944 and four million in 1949. Each day he wrote a bulletin. It was compulsory reading for members of editorial staff. Here are many of those bulletins.
+ Molloy of the Mirror + Clive James + Churchill + Big-ego words + Vanishing language + Noam Chomsky's words + Great words of great events
In spite of his own eccentricities, he wanted the world to behave as he expected it to. Big companies, shops, waiters and hotel managers were his normal fodder. He terrorised them. When he snagged a coat on something protruding in Woolworth's, he said to the manager, "This is an expensive coat." "I can see it is," said the manager. "I noticed it when you came in." "Right," said Brian Duff, "I expect you to pay for it. And I don't want it invisibly mended because you can see it."
Sir James Scott Douglas (gossip columnist)
When an editor complained of his booking into an expensive London hotel - the Dorchester as I recall - at the firm's expense, James merely said, "Where else can one entertain one's proprietor?" and the matter was hurriedly concluded, since no-one was prepared to phone (the late) Sir Max Aitken, who bossed the place at the time.
I asked Jim (I always called him Jim, to be perverse, though it was obvious that he was entitled to James) to find out something one day - on the phone, I emphasised - and he said, "Oh yes, I shall ring" - go on, guess - "...Uncle Essex." It made me wish I had an Uncle Oswaldtwistle
James had a habit of living extravagantly and encountering hard times, which is how he came to be a journalist. Both conditions were once almost fundamental to the job.
Pub Talk with Peter Thomas
Dudley Doolittle (comic),