Australian - but honourary Brit - Clive James is dying. To those who don't know of him, he's a hard figure to pin down, because he's a writer, entertainer; anything he wants to turn his hand to, in fact. James has given an interview in his dying days and is facing his death with a wry grace and dignity. I thought it might be nice for those of us who admire him to accompany him on his final journey, rather than just posting an obituary when he's gone. Clive James often said what I was thinking in his interviews and writing, but didn't dare to say.

This is a wonderful interview, anyhow. Really touching.

'On the other hand, "some deprivations will be over," he said in an email interview. "I won't have to miss smoking any more. Nobody smokes where I'm going: It's like a row of restaurants in California."

"Whether anything will last I can't be sure," he said. "But I think Unreliable Memoirs possibly might, because both the Australians and the British see it as a vision of Arcadia, although the Americans have never taken to it. They don't like that word 'unreliable.' For the US edition, I should have called it 'Totally Reliable Memoirs.'"

An afterlife? "Both Virgil and Dante set some of their greatest work in another world," he replied. "But Shakespeare didn't, and his is the attitude I prefer. There is enough of heaven in a hedgerow, and enough of hell in the perfidy of man."

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