Clive James


Never meet your heroes they say, but sometimes they’re wrong. Cole tells the deeply moving story of his encounter with Clive James, the great Australian writer, critic and television star, who was facing death.

The conversation was respectful but challenging for both men as they discussed Clive’s life, his loves, his work and his afflictions, which by this time were many. Having announced to the world that he was about to die - and even written a poem about how he would not see the Japanese Maple tree in his garden bloom again - Clive James was almost embarrassed to still be around. But cancer was coming for him, he knew that and was frank about his chances.

Clive had left obscurity in suburban Australia to become a major figure in first British journalism then our popular culture, helping to raise television as an art form and writing an acclaimed autobiography called Unreliable Memoirs, which inspired the young Cole Moreton to dare to believe he too could defy class expectations and become a writer. Now he takes us into the room to meet the man and share their moments together, described in mesmerising prose and delivered in an intimate storytelling style.

Few interviews are more revealing or touching than this one, as Clive describes how the libido rages against the dying of the light. This episode features a recording of Clive James in his kitchen reading a poem about where he wanted his ashes to be scattered. Thank you to his daughter Claerwen and the James family for permission to share it with you.

This episode is another first-person, beautifully told short story in Cole’s series reflecting on meetings with extraordinary humans and what we can learn from them about how to live.

Can We Talk? is based on the belief that we are better when we share our stories, so explores our human desire to connect with each other, with ourselves and with the divine, if we believe in that.

This is a series for all those interested in human connection, spirituality and better living, as well as storytelling, interviewing and fascinating tales. Imagine David Sedaris meets Richard Rohr …

Acclaim for Can We Talk?

‘Cole proves in this series how we all need stories in our lives. Proper stories. Well told. In a world of clips and clicks ad shortening attention spans, this hits just the right spot’

Fi Glover, co-host of Fortunately … With Fi and Jane

‘A brilliant, sensitive storyteller, Coe Moreton produces perfectly formed mini epics that are both thought-provoking and hugely entertaining’

Bestselling author and broadcaster Anita Anand

Cole Moreton writes for national newspapers, makes programmes for BBC Radio 4 and is a regular contributor to Pause For Thought on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 breakfast show. A former Interviewer of the Year at the Press Awards, he has won gold at the Arias, the radio industry Oscars.

Cole would love to hear from you so please do get in touch to tell him what you think of these stories and share your own encounters with remarkable people.

And you can pre-order Cole’s new book which accompanies the podcast, out in May 2023:

Produced by Emily Jeffery with sound magic by Andy Partington.

Thank you to Andy Lyon and all the team at Hodder Faith.

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