Your Humble Blogger is saddened by the news that Alan Coren has died. I have a fondness for Alan Coren, mostly born of a handful of hilarious essays in Golfing for Cats. The interview with a bitter, alcoholic middle-aged Pooh Bear was stunning. There was a marvelous bit about disguising airports against terrorists that was probably funnier back then. There was a very nasty and hilarious 1984 joke. The Times obituary, as one would expect, is both perfect and bizarre. “He was the most reliable of contributors. He always filed early and wrote to the length required.” Wouldn’t you like to have that in your obituary?
Sadly, Mr. Coren also delighted in the use of comic dialect, and not always successfully. In fact, often painfully. Comic dialect is a touchy thing to begin with (nohmeen? nohm’sayn?) and always runs the risk of losing the reader entirely. I never made it more than a page or two into the Idi Amin book or the Miss Lillian Carter book. Still, I don’t demand that everything a writer puts out is wonderful. A decent percentage. And if you write as much as Mr. Coren did, a decent percentage of wonderful might well mean a lot of crap. Sadly, Mr. Coren not writing any more crap means no more good stuff, as well.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,