In the summer of 2021, I went back to the village I left in September 1980. We went on a family holiday in a cottage next to the school I used to go to. I remembered Hilmarton in the pre-Thatcherite era. This was a chance to see how 40 years of history had changed where I grew up.
Standing tall, forefinger and thumb rubbing his chin.
With a pint glass held close to his chest.
And then laughing loudly.
Les had many lives,
I want to give you a taste of some of them today.
A Christmas Stocking 2021
– a commonplace selection by A Speechwriter
Date of Publication: 15 November 2021
Publisher: UK Speechwriters’ Guild
These are weird historical times. I like to keep snapshots of how we’re managing transitions back to more ‘conventional’ reality.
On Sunday 19 September 2021, I spent the first night away from my family for over two years.
There is a Jewish custom of writing an ethical will in which we convey our hopes and concerns to our children. I wrote a speech when my son, Leo, was born, expressing my hopes for his life. I’m doing the same for my second son, Axel, on his first day of school.
Axel, you’re going to school today. A big moment for your mum and dad, and for you.
A Christmas Stocking 2020
– a commonplace selection by Brian Jenner
This week I gave a 20 minute keynote presentation to a speechwriting conference in Vilnius in Lithuania via Zoom from a studio in Southampton, England.
Radio 4 is running a series of programmes about The Anatomy of Melancholy in the coming days. Here is a speech I wrote in the late 1990s about the book.
Robert Burton was a man who knew a thing or two about depression. He wrote three volumes, nearly 1500 pages, about its causes, symptoms and cures. His book is called The Anatomy of Melancholy, and he devoted almost his whole life to writing it. He was born in 1577, making him a contemporary of Shakespeare. He went to Oxford University in 1593, and never ventured much further than the library, until his death forty-seven years later.
Do you want to get better at speechwriting?
Most professional speechwriters learn on the job. They don’t have any formal training.
That works, over time, but during lockdown, I discovered a way to rapidly speed up the process.
It’s been a very weird March.
We’ve gone back 50 years in less than 30 days.
‘Lockdown’ has returned me to my childhood.Continue Reading