Bruce Chatwin

He definitely had bigtime Mike Daisey problems.  No way he’d be as famous if he weren’t so photogenic.  But still.  This is the entire chapter 69 from “In Patagonia”:

The “Englishman” took me to the races.  It was the sunniest day of summer.  The Strait was a flat, calm blue and we could see the double white crown of Mount Sarmiento.  The stands had a coat of fresh white paint and were full of generals and admirals and young officers.

“Day at the races, eh?  Nothing like a good race-meeting.  Come along with me now.  Come along.  Must introduce you to the Intendente.”

But the Intendente took no notice.  He was busy talking to the owner of Highland Flier and Highland Princess.  So we talked to a naval captain who stared out to sea.

“Ever hear the one about the Queen of Spain,” the Englishman asked, trying to liven up the conversation.  “Never heard the one about the Queen of Spain?  I’ll try and remember it:

A moment of pleasure

Nine months of pain

Three months of leisure

Then at it again.

“You are speaking of the Spanish Royal Family?” The Captain inclined his head.

The “Englishman” said he read history at Oxford.

The Nicholas Shakespeare biography is well-worth a flipthrough.  When Chatwin was diagnosed with HIV he claimed, among other things, that he had an extremely rare disease he caught from being bitten by a Chinese bat.



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