Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Move, I Shake. It is the Way of Things

Every year at this time Debrett's sends me a letter, the latest is signed by the whimsically named Conrad Free. The letter is intended, first, to sell me a copy of the book People of Today - at a special discounted price of £195 for the leather-bound edition - and, secondly, to persuade me to edit, update and amend my own entry in this book. Annually, I fulfil the second demand and decline the first. My presence in these pages means apparently that I am a mover and/or a shaker in British Society. Somehow, this feels like an affront. For one thing, why am I not also in Debrett's People of the Year, the Peerage and Baronetage or even the much under-rated Etiquette for Girls? Why, in fact, am I not in A.C. Black's celebrated Who's Who? Because I am not, it seems, a Who, I am a mere People, a member of the floating world of today, an evanescent glimmer on the dim tide of now, a soon to be squeezed blackhead on the nose of history. So be it, I am content; I shall edit, update or amend and send my form to Richmond, bow my head, put my shoulder to the wheel and and return to my alloted task of moving interrupted only by periodic bouts of shaking. Are we really, in the last analysis, free, Conrad?


  1. Just think of the infringement on your time if you were as famous as Paris or Beckham. Mere people has its advantages.

    Of course I am more "mere" than your illustrious self.

  2. Hyphenate ?. Apple-yard.
    Or split, App-LeYard. Might help.
    Thane, as in Bryan, Thane Appleyard, is a bit more Angle. You have the canoe after all.

  3. Dear Bryan,
    Thank you for thinking of me on your blog. I've never thought of myself as being whimsically named, but hey why not?
    I agree, what Lord Browne did is of no concern to me. As for Blair, we are less free now than 10 years ago. Law after law after law. Cameras everywhere. Are HIPS, for example, going to make a jot of difference? Of course not, other than to cost money and create 7,500 resented jobs,probably, even by the people in the jobs. Government (national and local), of all political persuasions, and big corporates are playground bullies. I am amazed that there is not more resentment on how we are being coerced into laws and purchasing products that we neither need nor want.
    Enough of my prejudices.
    If you don't want book at £195 why not buy the cloth edition at £60, saving £30. It really is a fine reference book and would be a lovely family record.

  4. I am female so naturally don't get this kind of thing from British publishers. Old prejudices die hard, and clearly hardest in people who think other people have £195 to spare.
    However, I do get similar from US publishers, with similarly unmet expectations of pecuniary recompense on their part. The Americans have at least cottoned on to the fact that there is money in them there "successful wimmin".