Here are some more selections from Jeremy Beadle’s own copy of The Book of Total Snobbery (1989) by Lynne and Graham Jones. The quotes bearing asterisks were marked in ink by Beadle.
Actor Michael Hordern on Glyndebourne
*There’s not the quality of audience today. The stalls should be in dinner jackets or tails, and they’re in singlets and bomber jackets. Quite awful! They come from places like Milton Keynes…
Sir Michael Hordern, Sunday Express Magazine.
Socialite Margaret, Duchess of Argyle. on opera singer Luciano Pavarotti
*Would you ever invite to your party people who weren’t “society”, but stars from another world—Luciano Pavarotti, say?
‘—Oh you wouldn’t ask a dancer. I mean, he can contribute nothing. All he can do is dance…’
Margaret, Duchess of Argyle, Sunday Express Magazine.
And on novelist Graham Greene.
‘Graham Greene? But he’s just a writer, isn’t he?’
Margaret, Duchess of Argyll.
Howard Jacobson on himself.
‘I’m not talking about Tom Sharpe or David Lodge. I’m talking about Shakespeare. That’s the kind of writer I should be compared with.’
Novelist Howard Jacobson, interviewed by Cherwell.
*Actor Robert Morley on Bertolt Brecht.
‘Brecht has not only never had an original thought, he takes twice as long as the average playgoer to have any thought at all.’
* Gore Vidal on Truman Capote.
‘A republican housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices’.
*Thomas Carlyle on John Keats.
‘His poetry is the fricassee of a dead dog. ‘
*Oscar Wilde on George Meredith.
‘As a writer he has mastered everything except language; as a novelist, he can do everything except tell a story; as an artist, he is everything except articulate.’
*George Orwell on Jean Paul Sartre
‘A bag of wind.’
T.S.Eliot on Arnold Bennett
When Bennett joined Eliot’s circle at a Bloomsbury party he left for another part of the room, bristling at the novelist’s “ lower middle-class accent “.
Janet Street-Porter on her TV image.
‘I hate being this “Cheery Janet” character on the Six O’Clock News. It wasn’t me at all. I don’t shop down the street market and I’m not riveted by the price of bloody fish. I go to the opera. My friends are artists. I live in a big house.
Janet Street-Porter, Q Magazine
Radio personality Gilbert Harding at an engagement in Hounslow in 1953.
‘I have been dragged along to this third- rate place for a third- rate dinner for third-rate people’.