The Columnist
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Melvyn Bragg
July 12 1988


Dear Melvyn,

I think that was rather a nice letter of yours. Russell Harty would have enjoyed being defended after his death like that.

I met John Arlott the other day for the first time, on Aldernay. He said: “Until very recently I have been getting The Times, The Guardian and the Independent every day, and not reading any of them. I just don’t have the time. It’s ridiculous. So now I just get the Guardian, and I don’t read that either.”

I saw your South Bank show on boogie woogie, one of my great loves, and although it was a bit busy it’s got a lot of good stuff in. Francis Smith, one of your experts, is a bloke worth doing a programme on. He is the most wonderfully entertaining talker about any of his specialities – blues, boogie, book covers, illustrations, etc - and he is also a world class cartoonist under the name of Smilby. Recently he inherited some small wealth on condition he changed his name from Smith to Wilford-Smith. Did it without hesitation. Now lives in Herefordshire, near my favourite town, Kington. It’s the only place in the world where they pronounce my name properly, and don’t call me Kingston. I was mentioned in a Swedish paper recently and they called me Kingston there. What is this universal desire to put an s in Kington and why haven’t I bowed to the majority and changed my name to Kingston? No, wait – there is a letter coming through the mail box. It says… hold on… leave you £500,000 on condition you change your name to Wilford-Kingston. I’ll do it!

yours
Miles
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