Good Friday morning at the Today studio. John Humphrys has just finished wrestling with rail union boss Bob Crow, the Bishop of London is looking stately in the Green Room and Jim Naughtie says: “With me now is Cole Moreton, author of ‘Is God Still An Englishman?’ Oh blimey, here we go … you can hear how it turned out by clicking here.
You don’t have to be English of course, but I’m hardly going to argue with someone who also says: “The Cole Moreton revealed in Is God Still an Englishman? is intelligent, vulnerable, modest and philanthropic: an immensely likeable commentator on matters spiritual …”
Thank you Richard Lewis, author of an entertaining and insightful book called ‘The Magic Spring: My Year Learning To Be English’. The full IoS review of ‘Englishman’ can be found here
Peter Stanford has been very nice about ‘Is God Still An Englishman?’ in The Observer. Here’s some of the review:
“The tension between believing and belonging provides the structure for Cole Moreton’s lyrical, almost elegiac taking of the nation’s spiritual temperature. I say almost elegiac because, having charted the decline of organised Christianity and the loss of the deference traditionally shown to the Church of England and the monarch as its head, Moreton then manages, in his final chapters, to find signs of resurrection.” Then later …
“He can make you laugh out loud, and generates a momentum that has you turning the pages wanting it never to end.”
Adults have a deep need to play, but it’s difficult. Go into the forest to play soldiers like you used to and you’ll get arrested (or charged £150 by a paint-balling company). Parents can get down on the floor and make alien noises, under cover of “joining in”, but it’s not the same. If I had a proper, life-sized Dalek I could send the family off to the park and play, unrestrained. Yes, that sounds sad and inappropriate, but that’s the whole point, don’t you see? A piece for The Guardian
Footballers don’t talk. They can’t, as a rule, and those who can have it coached out of them. For some reason, the Chelsea and England midfielder felt like breaking that rule when we sat down for a nice up of tea. There’s stuff in here about the World Cup, Capello, John Terry, the breakdown of his own relationship, his kids, being booed on the pitch, having too much money and being considered thick, as well as this about his mum: “Before every game, I have a little moment thinking about her. It’s like a prayer, basically. Not like the Lord’s Prayer, there’s no “Amen”, it’s just my own little prayer to my mum, saying, “Give me strength and look after the family.’ When she died I started visiting church every day, basically. That was hoping for a miracle. I just went to spend time in there. Sit there for half an hour. I know it sounds stupid, but I don’t even really know how to pray. I just sort of speak to my mum in my head. I still go fairly regularly. I certainly believe in God. I don’t think I would be able to handle it anywhere near as easily if I didn’t.'” He also said that “too much is made of the money thing”. When he said that he was wearing a (borrowed) watch. It was worth a quarter of a million pounds. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.