Talk:Clive James

Active discussions

Value judgementsEdit

this article is full of subjective value judgments about his art. Some criticism referenced would be welcome. - Trick 21:13, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

If you feel a change is needed, feel free to make it yourself! Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone — including you — can edit any article by clicking the edit this page tab at the top of the page. You don't even need to log in, although there are several reasons why you might want to. Wikipedia convention is to be bold and not be afraid of making mistakes. If you're not sure how editing works, have a look at How to edit a page, or try out the Sandbox to test your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. --fvw* 21:13, 2004 Dec 20 (UTC)

I don't have the basic knowledge need on this guy needed for a good edit - never heard of him. I landed here from another page and noticed the problem. - Trick 21:35, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

As subjective material has now been removed I am removing Not Good Enough For Wikipedia box. Arthur Holland


I think the claim that James "eschews the free market" is barely supported by the quotes given. His statements show a rejection of the view that markets are necessarily benign or that privatisation is good for the artistic quality of broadcasting, but that still places him a long way from a complete rejection of the market and/or state ownership of all industry (for example). (talk) 14:13, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Strange statementsEdit

A couple of statements have recently been added to this page which, frankly, don't make a lot of sense or add anything to the essay.

The new section "In Popular Culture" has no references and, while it may be true, is hardly useful. Just about every major public figure has been satirised by someone at some time.

The sentence in the first paragraph regarding James's late-night porn research may also be true but as it comes from just one essay in a continuing series appears here competely out of context. It's presence in the first paragraph is aimed at convincing readers that this is all he does. If it needs to be stated then it should be as a part of a section on this new essay series.

I'm deleting both. --Perry Middlemiss (talk) 05:35, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Award/criticism balanceEdit

I'm not sure it's reasonable to balance the neutral-fact "James has received these awards and doctorates" with "but here are two quotes from people who don't like him", per this edit. It'd be okay to balance quotes against quotes, or awards against awards, but "two journalists don't like him" seems an uneven approach for an article that, although a little overblown, does not appear to contain any positive "here are some people saying that Clive James is great" quotes. --McGeddon (talk) 09:23, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

All it is is some criticism of him, in the uk there are a lot of people that think he is a fool, it balances the acclaim.After all he is a tv critic, and a critic of other people so there shoulld be a comment from his critics. Off2riorob (talk) 09:27, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
We should at least balance that with some direct quotes from people who have personal, positive opinions about his work, though. As it stands, this is unbalanced - personal criticism is not the opposite of academic or literary acclaim. --McGeddon (talk) 09:51, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't look unbalanced to me, he is actually often quite nasty about other people without any qualification to comment apart from he is a tv critic. Add a bit of personal acclaim to balance if it seems a bit negative. Off2riorob (talk) 10:00, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Coming back to this, and looking at the sources, both of them are actually book reviews. It's misleading to quote them as if both writers were commenting on James as a person, rather than the way he has written a specific couple of books. (The first quote is actually "Clive James blows his own trumpet so incessantly in The Revolt of the Pendulum", but is quoted in this article as "Clive James blows his own trumpet so incessantly".) I'm cutting both quotes. --McGeddon (talk) 22:54, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
What kind of discussion is that? Off2riorob (talk) 23:01, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I'd just read the sources for the first time and realised they were both book reviews, rather than articles or interviews about James. It's misleading to take a review quote where someone says "person blows his own trumpet incessantly in this book" and present it just as "person blows his own trumpet", with the implied context of "all the time". --McGeddon (talk) 23:13, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
edit conflict. I don't really think that there is excessive misrepresentation of these comments, I have had a quick look it is there more or less, I am logging off for today but I suggest a little alteration in preference to total deletion, tomorrow I will have another look at it, best regards. Off2riorob (talk) 23:14, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
There's a great deal of misrepresentation in taking quotes that were made about a particular book (or a particular line in a particular book) and presenting them as if the reviewer made them in a general context about the author as a person.
When Delingpole critiques a line from one of James' books saying that "What James is actually asking here in his false modest way", it's inappropriate to summarise that as a standalone "Delingpole thinks James is falsely modest". When a subeditor (!) summarises Lynn Barber's review as having the opinion that James "blows his own trumpet so incessantly in The Revolt of the Pendulum", it's a very different thing to imply that James "blows his own trumpet so incessantly" as a day-to-day human being. --McGeddon (talk) 23:28, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I've now cleaned this up a bit, cutting the inappropriate subeditor quote, and also Delingpole's "smug", which was a description of James's face, not his writing. And I've put all the book awards and reviews, positive and negative, into the "novelist" section, leaving just awards and doctorates. --McGeddon (talk) 17:01, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
He is a smug git though. Off2riorob (talk) 17:06, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Climate ChangeEdit

I notice there is nothing in here on Clive James's recent statements in support of climate change "scepticism" (a.k.a. denialism) HairyDan (talk) 13:51, 6 November 2009 (UTC). Surprise surprise - if James is anti climate change that goes hand in hand with being a misogynist On ABC News24 today (23 August) he stated that women will "never be 50 per cent of top chess players" , even if they can be 50 per cent of politicians. James says women are too dumb to play chess well. If the reference comes up in a durable way via the ABC website I'll be posting it. Lindella Lee

I'm pretty sure James never said women were too dumb to play chess well. He pointed out the lack of female chess masters and then said maybe they are not insane enough, which is a criticism of male chess players, obviously. Citation needed. (talk) 23:21, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Studies at Sydney UniversityEdit

According to Unreliable memoirs James studied "Arts" at Sydney Uni, and that this consisted of Modern History, Anthropology, Psychology and English. Of these he says that he gave up Psychology and Anthropology at the end of the second year. Therefore to only say that he studied psychology seems misleading.

Anyone have any thoughts? Arthur Holland (talk) 13:28, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

I've got, or at least I had six house moves ago, a copy of Unreliable Memoirs. I'm going through a Pete Atkin jag at the moment so Clive's beautiful lyrics are haunting me day and night. He may have studied psychology, but English was and is his love. The Parramatta Kid. --TS 00:42, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Personal lifeEdit

Currently it says he 'generally' has a 'strict' policy of not talking about his family. It can't be both. Does anyone know which? Spicemix (talk) 10:24, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Only way you could tell is by asking him. Normally, he says nothing at all. (talk) 18:17, 20 February 2012 (UTC)drlofthouse212.139.106.204 (talk) 18:17, 20 February 2012 (UTC) Australian tabloid television ( have just run a hurtful - but apparently truthful - item about James's eight-year affair with a celebrity divorcee. If James has been cheating on his wife for eight years (and apparently she has kicked him out of the family home) is that something that should not be published? If appropriate please add the reference, as I haven't been able to. — Preceding unsigned comment added by LyndellaLee (talkcontribs) 09:29, 23 April 2012 (UTC) The Daily Mail has just pulled the article completely - maybe someone has applied for a gagging order or injunction thingy? The link you've posted here is to an Australian TV show, so I guess it wouldnt be covered? (talk) 23:24, 24 April 2012 (UTC)twl212.139.96.55 (talk) 23:24, 24 April 2012 (UTC) Someone changed Leanne Edelsten's name to Nesbitt. That is her maiden name. She goes by the name "Edelsten" as she is perfectly entitled to under Australian law, and she has gone by that name regarding her apparent affair with Clive James. If that seems exploitative on Leanne Edelsten's part - too bad, sorry! Dr Edelsten was very happy about PR surrounding his marriage at the time - e.g. purchasing a pink Porsche for Leanne and publicising the delivery! : 0 — Preceding unsigned comment added by LyndellaLee (talkcontribs) 07:51, 11 May 2012 (UTC) The reference to James piece in The New Yorker states that it was titled "I Wish I'd Never Met Her", with a reference to a reprint of the article on the website of Pete Atkin. However, the article itself, on The New Yorker website, is titled "Mourning My Friend, Princess Diana", dated September 7, 1997 and from the September 15, 1997 issue of the magazine with the headline "Requiem". Checking that issue of The New Yorker, the table of contents states "Requiem" and that is the heading of the article itself, on page 50. The statement "I Wish I'd Never Met Her" does appear in the article but that it not the title it was published under, and stating it here in this Wikipedia article gives a very misleading impression to those who do not take the time to actually read the article, which is very personal and thoughtful. Phil in Magnolia (talk) 13:39, 1 September 2019 (UTC)Phil in Magnolia (talk) 13:35, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

Clive James disambiguationEdit

There's another Clive James. He's Welsh and he founded ISAAA. Can we add a "disambiguation" to this page? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

No problems. Could you please supply the Wikipedia article name of the other Clive James so I can add the disambiguation information? GFHandel   07:17, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


How can this article fail to mention that Clive is in very poor health, i.e. terminally ill? It's no secret he has openly talked about it on mutliple occasions, inlcuding publishing a farewell poem.--Hontogaichiban (talk) 16:02, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

It doesn't fail to mention it, it's in the "Personal life" section. --McGeddon (talk) 16:16, 16 September 2014 (UTC) He said three years ago that he had weeks to live. Very chipper on ABC24 today, tellling the world women are too dumb to play chess. He also stated that he isn't a very nice person. Well, yeah. Lindella Lee


I have commenced a tidy-up of the Bibliography section using cite templates and tables for short stories, poems and/or book reviews. Capitalization and punctuation follow standard cataloguing rules in AACR2 and RDA, as much as Wikipedia templates allow it. ISBNs and other persistent identifiers, where available, are commented out, but still available for reference. This is a work in progress; feel free to continue. Sunwin1960 (talk) 01:43, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

Location and date of the airplane crash in which Clive's father Albert was killedEdit

I'm seeing conflicting details around where and when the aircraft in which Clive James' father Albert, returning home from the war, was killed.

Currently, our article says the plane crashed in Manila Bay, (The Philippines) and cites the Guardian's obituary as the source. However that source actually gives Taiwan as the location of the crash:

His father, Albert, who had survived a PoW camp and then forced labour in Japan, died when the plane bringing him home crashed in Taiwan, and James later described this as the “defining event” in his life.

The BBC obituary also gives the airplane crash location as Taiwan.

An Irish Times article from 2016 about the death of his father says this:

The Americans decided to fly Albert James and other prisoners-of-war home rather than send them by ship. However, the plane carrying them crashed in a typhoon and killed Mr James. The crash occurred on September 10th, 1945, 10 days after the war ended.

Ok, so now we have a date. However, if we look at this comprenhensive list of airplane crashes, there was no incident on that date. There aren't any real possibilities from the month before either (August) but there are three possibilities later in September. They are:

  1. 11 Sep 1945 - RAAF aircraft crashed in Milne Bay, New Guinea (11 fatalities)
  2. 18 Sep 1945 - RAAF aircraft crashed into Puncak Jaya, New Guinea (29 fatalities)
  3. 28 Sep 1945 - US Army aircraft crashed near Chinkiang in China (20 fatalities)

None of these are Taiwan or the Philippines.

Now my looking up aircraft crash info above is WP:ORIGINAL Research and I am not suggesting we put this information in the article. What I am saying, however, is that it brings doubt on what we have included in the text and doubt about the veracity of the sources we used for this bit of information. Oska (talk) 01:41, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

I've removed "Manila Bay" as the location of the crash, as we have no source for that location and it contradicts the location of Taiwan given in the Guardian and BBC obituaries. However I didn't replace it with Taiwan, due to the doubts raised above. I have left the location of the crash unspecified in the text for now. Oska (talk) 05:22, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
After checking WikiBlame, I've found where the crash location of "Manila Bay" was inserted into the text. It is this diff here, back in February 2012. Insertion was made from an IP address with no edit note. Prior to that, the location of the crash was given as Taiwan (as the obituaries also give). However, still not finding any mention of a fatal plane crash in Taiwan in September 1945. Oska (talk) 07:53, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
Discovery Made! Found an article about the crash of an American B-24 in the mountains of southern Taiwan, on September 10, 1945. And what is more, Albert Arthur James is explicitly listed as one of the Australian POW fatalities. I have now added this information to the article, citing this source. The obituaries were right in saying Taiwan; the insertion of Manila Bay back in 2012 (and which was still in the text today) was wrong. Oska (talk) 08:17, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

That is good work on the aircraft crash details. FWIW, the CWGC record for Albert Arthur James is here. It might be worth noting that the epitaph chosen for his grave was "HE LEFT FOR HIS SON HIS IMMORTALITY" (this is given on the CWGC record and there is a photograph here - right at the bottom of the page). The CWGC records also give the death date as 10 September 1945. It might be considered unbalancing to put too much on this in the article, but James did visit the grave (the visit was filmed I think) and some obituaries mention that he wept and wrote a poem about the experience and that the death of his father did have a formative influence on him. Going back to the aircraft crash site, the CWGC records indicate the initial burial of Albert Arthur James (and the other four Australian POWs killed in the crash) as KANZAN MNTS FORMOSA (i.e. Taiwan). Carcharoth (talk) 15:13, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

It did have a huge effect on him. As he says in his interview with Mary Beard, "it wasn't one of those things, it was ten of those things". Of course, the exact location of the crash made no difference. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:42, 28 November 2019 (UTC)
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