Alex Massie

Simon Gray, RIP

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Sad news. Simon Gray, the playwright and memoirist, has died. Just last month I read the latest, and, I suppose, final installment of The Smoking Diaries, a wonderful, funny, poignant set of memoirs that I recommend without the slightest reservation. More importantly, sad because he was one of my father's oldest friends from Cambridge days way back when. Not many of them left. Booze and tobacco and all that.

Telegraph obituary here. The Guardian's Michael Billington here. And a characteristically good Simon Hattenstone interview here.

Understandably Gray rather disapproved of the notion that his memoirs may outlive his plays, but that's the nature of the respective genres. But I can't think of a better thing to read in what remains of this dismal summer than Simon Gray's diaries. For once the old saw that "you'll laugh, you'll cry..." is apposite.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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