Young Stalin sounds like an instructive and entertaining biography, and I will add it to my reading list. I mention it here, though, simply as an excuse to celebrate the name of the author, Simon Sebag Montefiore. I want that middle name! Granted, Frank Sebag Key does not have the mellifluous multisyllabic beauty of Simon Sebag Montefiore, but it will have to do.
Herman Melvilleâ€™s Moby Dick; or The Whale is a work of matchless genius, and it may be considered sacrilege to tamper with the text. I canâ€™t help but feel, however, that if the opening line was â€œCall me Sebagâ€ it would somehow be even better.
Incidentally, I discovered that Simon Sebag Montefiore is married to the sister of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. A rich pap-brained partygoer is an unlikely Hooting Yard heroine, but I have had a measure of admiration for Ms Palmer-Tomkinson ever since, on television a few years ago, she uttered the immortal line â€œThose are Uriâ€™s underpants. Burn themâ€. Uri being, of course, the dismal charlatan Uri Geller.