Archive for April 4th, 2020

Klinkenborg´s pocket book

4 April 2020

twitter: @eugenio_fouz


KLINKENBORG, Verlyn. Several short sentences about writing.

New York: Vintage Books, 2012

This book I have read means a lot to me as regards to writing style. Reading those 204 pages helped me think, -re-think, in fact-the way I make sentences. The small pocket book deals with the creation of sentences.

The page numbering avoids writing odd page numbers. Don’t ask me why but I found that original, strange. The author only had to mark even pages.


1/”Short sentences aren’t hard to make” (page 4)

2/”The voices of former teachers, usually uttering rules.

Rules like, “Don’t begin sentences with ‘and’.”

(It’s okay. You can begin sentences with “and”.) * (page 6)

3/” See which words the sentence can live without” (page 12)

4/”It’s your business to know the names of things” (page 43)

5/ “A cliché is dead matter” ** (page 45)

6/”Read until your ear detects a problem” (page 53)

7/”Never stop reading” (page 149)


*reference to William Strunk´s The Elements of Style

** I was told this same idea years ago by the poet Luis Antonio de Villena


Eugenio Fouz.-4.4.2020





Desert Island Discs

4 April 2020

twitter: @eugenio_fouz



BBC Radio 4

Desert Island Discs program

The History of Desert Island Discs
“Late one evening in 1941, freelance broadcaster Roy Plomley was at his home and already in his pyjamas, when an idea came to him. He sat down and wrote immediately to the BBC. That letter reached the in-tray of the BBC’s Head of Popular Record Programmes, Leslie Perowne. The pitch was successful and a broadcasting institution was born.

That first Desert Island Discs was recorded in the BBC’s bomb-damaged Maida Vale studio on 27th January 1942 and aired in the Forces Programme at 8pm two days later. It was introduced to the listening public as “a programme in which a well-known person is asked the question, if you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you, assuming of course, that you had a gramophone and an inexhaustible supply of needles”.

Plomley’s first castaway was the popular Viennese comedian, actor and musician, Vic Oliver. The first piece of music chosen by Vic Oliver, and therefore by any castaway, was Chopin’s Étude No.12 in C minor played by pianist Alfred Cortot. During these war years, every BBC Radio show was scripted and Plomley and his guests would ‘read’ their conversations. On 7th May 1942 Roy Plomley made his first appearance as a castaway when the programme was presented by Leslie Perowne.

The programme came off air in 1946 returning to the Home Service in 1951. On 16th September that year, the choice of luxury was introduced when garlic was chosen by the actress Sally Ann Howes. The choice of book made its first appearance on 9th October 1951 when actor and director Henry Kendall chose Who’s Who in the Theatre. According to Roy Plomley’s book, Desert Island Lists, in addition to the volume of Shakespeare, the castaways would be given a copy of the Bible, which was assumed to have been deposited there by The Gideon Society.

In September 1967, Desert Island Discs transferred to the newly created Radio 4 service. Roy Plomley continued to present the programme until his death, from pleurisy, in May 1985. He was 71. He was replaced by Michael Parkinson who dispensed with the ritual of the pre-recording lunch at Plomley’s club, the Garrick, and insisted that the music was played to the guests during the recording rather than edited in afterwards. Parkinson presented the last of his 96 programmes on 13th March 1988, when his guest was the athlete Brendan Foster.”


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