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Last updated on July 24th, 2017 at 12:52 pm
A wonderful Telegraph obituary for LJK Setright, one of Britain’s finest:
Though fearless about voicing his frequently controversial opinions, at the core Setright was a private man who rarely volunteered much detail about his own life and activities. And although he greatly enjoyed communicating with readers en masse, he offered no one the slightest hope of individual contact. “It cannot be too widely known,” he used to say, “that Setright does not indulge in correspondence.” He was pleased to know that his opinions would be discussed, but was content that the discussion should proceed without him …
Those who knew Setright well enjoyed his eccentricities, such as his life-long love of Bristol cars, a rare and idiosyncratic marque which has its roots in the long-defunct British aircraft industry. He detested speed limits and drove notoriously fast, frightening his passengers, but seldom had accidents. He hated diesel trucks and cars, not least for the “filth” they dropped on the roads, endangering motorcyclists, and he also disliked environmental fads.
Setright wrote mainly about cars; I first read him in the 70s. That said, I only began to understand him in the late 80s. One more extract:
He peppered his writing with classical allusions, or quotations in Latin or Greek. He once wrote in blank verse about a Citroen. And when, quite recently, the editor of one of Britain’s best-known magazines suggested he “tone down” these flights of fancy to suit a more modern audience, his response was to submit a column entirely in Latin …
He was 74.
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