Lucy Vickery

Index linked

Lucy Vickery presents the latest Competition

In Competition No. 2541 you were invited to submit a revealing fragment from an index which is all that remains of the autobiography of someone who has privileged access to the great and good. It might have been a member of the royal household or, as in W.J. Webster’s entry, a hairdresser to the rich, famous and influential. To give you an idea of what I was after, here are a couple of snippets from J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Index’, a story implied through an index, which is the only surviving part of the unpublished autobiography of Henry Rhodes Hamilton: ‘Churchill, Winston, conversations with HRH, 221; at Chequers with HRH, 235; spinal tap performed by HRH, 247; at Yalta with HRH, 298; ‘iron curtain’ speech, Fulton, Missouri, suggested by HRH, 312; attacks HRH in Commons debate, 367’.

This was obviously a daunting challenge and entries were thin on the ground. The winners, printed below, get £30 each. The bonus fiver belongs to G.M. Davis and commendations go to Shirley Curran, William Danes-Volkov and Nicholas Hodgson.

Mandela, Nelson, surprisingly short when you meet him, 526; political errors of, 828
Miners’ strike, author’s resolution of, 917–8
Mosley, Max, ‘kindred spirit’, 42; ‘Nazi pervert’, 1620
Nabokov, Vladimir, aesthetic fallacies of, 301
New Statesman, author’s rejection of editorship, 559; sales slump, 560
Portillo, Michael, deaf to good counsel, 338
Price, Katie, seeks author’s advice on mammary enlargement/reduction, 844
Prince Charles, personal hygiene problem, 208; bares soul, 443
Principia Mathematica, discussion of with Allen Ginsberg, 71; author’s refutation of, 113
Quantum theory, author’s contribution to, 12, 19, 47, 77, 101–114, 298–306
Rice, Condoleezza, ‘not so black as she’s painted’, 866; good in bed, 992–4
Rooney, Wayne, spotted by author as four-year-old, 1083; ingratitude, 1119
Sarkozy, Nicholas, requests author’s help in drafting European constitution, 1443
Scorsese, dissuaded from abandoning cinema, 636; as drug-crazed egomaniac, 665
Scotland, faulty central heating at Balmoral, 460; as failed state, 700
Self, Will, snoring of, 1757

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