Memories of Grahame White


I came to know Grahame through the world of books, when this fitzrovian character with his battered briefcase, would come into my shop, and it soon became obvious he knew a lot more than I did about his favourite books and authors. Not that Grahame was ever a showoff - his erudition was worn lightly, so if he could quote Lacan or Derrida in the original in his unashamedly execrable french accent, it was because he not only had read them, he had also understood them. He took particular pleasure from one of his favourite philosophes, Julia Kristeva, being as beautiful as she was clever. If they had ever met he would certainly have asked her out. He was equally at home in his other passion,the world of English Antiquarianism in the 16th and 17th centuries, a time when it was possible to know everything there was to know. If he could have been spirited back there I think Grahame would have held his own around a table with Francis Bacon,or Robert Hooke or Aubrey, and there was a time when he could have drunk his hero Rochester under the table.

In the last few months of his life I spent a lot of time with Grahame trying to keep him cheerful. I found the best way to take his mind off his troubles was to ask him about his past as a student and teacher, and his acquaintance with so many interesting writers and artists. Curiously enough he was such good company in full flow I was the one that was cheered, so I'm going to miss him always, and I'll never forget him.


David Plumtree 22nd October 2006