Flash Pepys, Saviour of the Universe

Another re-blog of one of my early posts today – I’m about to lock myself away in a Landmark Trust property for a week so that I can complete the sixth Quinton novel without the distractions of drilling, hammering etc that are currently taking place at home! Details of ‘Quinton 6’ coming this way soon… But in the meantime, this post still seems quite apposite: if anything, there are even more shock horror headlines proclaiming something to be ‘the worst x since y’ or ‘the biggest z ever’, and Pepys, of course, recently had a star turn on TV in the atrocious mini-series about ‘The Great Fire’. Just one slight factual update, though, and that’s to point out that I’ve stood down from the committee of the Samuel Pepys Club.

J D Davies

Last week saw the anniversary of Samuel Pepys’s birth in 1633, and Twitter was abuzz with the inevitable superlatives – the greatest English diarist! the founder of the modern Royal Navy! One only needed Queen to belt out ‘Pepys, Saviour of the Universe’, with Brian Blessed bellowing ‘Sam’s alive?!’, and the hyperbolic overdose would have been complete. There’s been plenty from this ‘Daily Mail headline’ school of historical analysis of late – witness the hysterical reaction in the Twitterverse to recent defence cuts (‘Navy at its smallest since Henry VIII!’, ‘Army at its smallest since the Zulu war!!/Agincourt!!!/Mount Badon!!!!’ and so forth, as if such comparisons have any validity at all – one might as well come up with such equally astute observations as ‘Fewer novels featuring starving urchins being written now than in Charles Dickens’s day’). No doubt this is all part and parcel of the Anglo-Saxon world’s obsession…

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