Monday, 22 January 2018

Sir William Connor (Cassandra) 1909-1967.



I was delving amongst the dustier volumes of our extensive library, when I came across the above.

I was somewhat surprised at finding it, and remarked as much to Lady Magnon; who was equally bemused.

Cassandra is a poignant name from my past, but where this book came from neither of us has any idea. On the inside page I see that it was priced at £1.25 (in pencil); having been initially sold at five bob.

Connor was a sketch writer for The Mirror newspaper; and a very fine one. He always wrote with clarity, humour, and some stubbornness. I would liken his eloquence to that of Yeats, and his venom to that of Ken Tynon. His regular column, as well as that of J B Morton's  'Beachcomber' in The Express, was essential reading for the young schoolboy Cro; although where both The Express and The Mirror came from, I can't imagine (our Junior Common Room members took some very odd papers; I took The Telegraph).

His writing for The Mirror stopped briefly during The Second German war, whilst he was away doing his bit between '42 and '46. When he returned to Fleet Street his opening words were 'As I was saying when I was interrupted, it is a powerful hard thing to please all the people all the time'.

Should you be fortunate enough to find a copy of his 'CASSANDRA, at his Finest and Funniest' in your local charity shop; I recommend it.  The book is a compendium of very short (2 page max), beautifully crafted and observed sketches, and is the perfect book for anyone who likes to pop in and out of a good thought-provoking read.



19 comments:

  1. Keith Waterhouse was another fine writer.

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    Replies
    1. He certainly was. His list of credits is quite remarkable.

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  2. I used read these columns on my paper round when I was a paper boy. No wonder I was always late for school. Or absent!

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    1. I can remember feeling somewhat cheated if he wasn't in the morning's paper.

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  3. A perfect book for the lavatory shelf... we have a number of this type of book in there. Helps pass the passage of time.....

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear me no... the ideal book in our downstairs lavatory was and still is, the Pop Up Kama Sutra. Always raises a laugh...

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    2. I'm obviously going to have to build a new shelf.

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  4. I used to love Cassandra - always words of wisdom and as LaPre says - oerfect for bathroom libraries.

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    Replies
    1. I'd forgotten all about him, then suddenly found the above. It must be fate!

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  5. I remember his column in The Daily Mirror. My Dad had it delivered every morning. The pages were mostly left open on the horse racing page. Ihelped him pick on a Saturday. I knew who " Newsboy" and "Bouvrie" were from the age of about ten.I liked the cartoons though. Garth, The Perishers, Jane. Long time ago now.

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    1. I'm afraid the only column I read in The Mirror was 'Cassandra'. My horse betting days only started after I'd left school, and worked in The City.

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  6. I used to read 'Cassandra' in the Daily Mirror way back in 1939. I still recall the column in which he declared that war would definitely be declared.

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    1. 1939? My recollections are from about 1960.

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  7. I remember By The Way by Beachcomber in the Daily Express well. It was probably the most readable article in The Express.

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    1. Essential reading when I was a lad!

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  9. My Grandparents used to read Cassandra's column, and I have a copy of that book which I borrowed and never returned - I love it, and refer to it regularly as a model of concise, effective writing.

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