Better than Working. Patrick Skene Catling.
London, Secker & Warburg, 2004. 23 cm. 294 pages. Original Hardcover in Mylar. Secondhand book in very good condition.
As a young boy Patrick Skene Catling’s father sat him at the desk of his office at Reuters and encouraged him to two-finger type on his old Underwood typewriter. Following his father’s advice some years later that writing was ‘better than working’ he embarked on a lifetime as a writer and journalist. Based at various times in England and the United States, he traveled to Korea, Guatemala, Greenland and Australia covering wars, revolutions and press conferences that could give a man a terrible thirst. At the same time his writing enabled him to plunge himself into cultural milieux that fascinated him. He interviewed Louis Armstrong and James Baldwin. He encountered Jane Russell, married Peggy Lee and was kissed by Billie Holiday. He became a close friend of P.G. Wodehouse. Self-deprecation, charm and a wry sense of humour draw a veil over tremendous achievements, serious discussion and an extraordinary fund of anecdotes. Better Than Working is a hymn to a vanished era in British and American journalism, as well as being an utterly enjoyable book about a remarkable life. (Publishers information).