Monday, 6 January 2014

Simon Hoggart’s Obituary

I am very sad to hear that the Guardian’s political sketch-writer, diarist and columnist Simon Hoggart has died after suffering from cancer.

Hoggart allowed me to spend a day with him on work experience after I graduated in 2007. I emailed asking if I could shadow him for a day and he kindly and generously agreed. I was so excited. I met him in the central lobby, sat with him in the press gallery to watch a parliamentary debate and then we went to the Commons bar for a drink and a chat. He decided to run with a shark metaphor for his column that day. I then followed him to his office in parliament and watched as he typed and filed his piece. He groaned when the computer stalled, cursing the “spinning ball of death” on his Mac.

Since then I have read his columns with extra affection and interest. They often caused me to guffaw aloud. He was one of the few truly funny writers. The world already feels poorer without his wit.

I’ve just bought his book ‘A Long Lunch: My Stories and I’m Sticking to Them’. On the first page he derides the very idea of an autobiography, writing that the world is too full of them, with “titles such as An Eventful Life, or Here, There and Everywhere, Life As It Is Lived, Along the Way, or It Seemed to Me. The very titles depress the soul and I have made these titles up.”