13 June 2012

Chartwell Booksellers

55 East 52nd Street - In the lobby

Writer, Churchill-expert and owner of Chartwell Booksellers (see above), Barry Singer has a new book out. 'Churchill Style' is a primer of Churchill's food, wine, cigars, women, books and good country houses. Churchill is what John Fairchild would call, "A Civilized Man." I admit to never reading Churchill but I have read a couple biographies.

Somewhere in those books... or was it a London pub? -- I heard my favorite Churchill quote: "The definition of a Greek -- is a Turk -- trying to be an Italian." Singer made my day, hell, he made my year, by confirming that attribution. But - he saddles the famous Lady Astor/ Churchill rebuff, "I may be drunk, madam, but in the morning I'll be sober and you'll still be ugly" to Sir Frederick (F.E.) Smith, a close friend of Churchill but not of his wife, Clementine, "who believed him to be a bad influence on her husband as a drinker and as a gambler. He was, however, in every sense, Winston's equal."

In appropriating a style - you could do a helluva lot worse - Joe Stalin and Mao Tse Tung come to mind. Those Commie world visions have clearly soared off course as their descendants grab capitalism like a gibbet around a neck while making JP Morgan look like a girl scout selling do-si-dos outside a grocery store.

But Churchill is still English and the English are still Churchill. Thank God.

I'll review the book tomorrow. It's perfect for Father's Day. Even if Dad has to buy it for himself. Beats the crap out of a tie -- Unless it's a navy polka dot bow tie from Turnbull & Asser. Bloody hard to go wrong with that pairing.


NCJack said...

I'm assuming you've read Manchester's books, and remember the incident where he had to go valet-less to the Riviera. When he boasted of it, his hostess said "Oh, Winston, how brave of you."

Close to broke a lot of his life, yet he almost never dressed himself of a morning. It's what the servants are for, doncha know?

Anonymous said...

And thank God you found the bust of Churchill (first pic) that the President sent back!


Jimmy Barrett said...

I believe the wisecrack end with
"yes, but in the morning I'll be sober."

JKG said...

"Their descendants" realized that it's more profitable to be a thief in an open society; you despoil a better class of prole. Jamie sure had fun on the Hill the other day, didn't he?

GSV JR said...

Great photos. Love the Churchill likenesses at the bottom.

Fave Churchill quote:

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

Anonymous said...

Your favorite Churchill quote is a bigoted one? Sad.

tintin said...

Anon- Sorry you feel that way...and that you're in Tampa. People from Tampa come to NYC in dirty t-shirts and a twenty dollar bill and they never change either. But I digress.

Mr Singer thought it was a brilliant sociological perspective. Genius in its length and wit. I agree with him.

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