153. All those Ghosts

By Peter Fraenkel

John Brown’s body may be mouldering in the earth but – we are told – his soul goes marching on. So – according to the Nazi’s anthem, the Horst Wessel Lied – do those Brownshirts slain by communists and reactionaries. “In spirit they march in our ranks”.

So many undead deadies!

Now I am an old man – I shall be turning 95 in a few days – which is 16 years older than my father or his father ever became. I did not achieve this by daily exercise to keep fit. Nor by running miles. Certainly not! When I left my sports-mad secondary school at Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia – a pale colonial copy of a British public school – I swore to avoid all sports in future. It’s a promise I have kept.

When I die – which must be fairly soon (though I am still reasonably well … except after too much whisky) and if I am given a say in the matter – l shall stay silent and make no reappearances. I shall – unlike John Brown – not be marching on. I promise!