Clive James arrives at the Royal Albert Hall for the BAFTA award ceremony.
Clive James arrives at the Royal Albert Hall for the BAFTA award ceremony. (Image: AP/Fiona Hanson)

Goddammit, Clive James. The man spends a decade not dying of an allegedly rapid terminal illness, and then shuffles off while half a dozen other things are going on. This august publication should probably observe the practice of writing its obituaries ahead of time, but we don't so ehhhhh, this will not be a full consideration of Vivian Leopold James, simply a first reaction.

Call it a prelimbituary, an amuse mort. The man wrote 40 books, and one imagines there are more to come, from diverse sources. He deserves a bit more consideration than can be given in a morning.

And he deserves it for two reasons. The first is that most of the immediate notices will be of the higher boilerplate variety, brilliant this, brilliant that, of the Aussie generation that, Germs, Robert, Barry, etc, etc, all of which will sound like the memorial of a senior military figure whose life works and motivations his obituarists do not understand, but who was, in the end, so garlanded with honours that his importance cannot be denied.