One on One

One on One

Craig Brown

101 chance meetings, juxtaposing the famous and the infamous, the artistic and the philistine, the pompous and the comical, the snobbish and the vulgar, each 1,001 words long, and with a time span stretching from the 19th century to the 21st.

Life is made up of individuals meeting one another. They speak, or don’t speak. They get on, or don’t get on. They make agreements, which they either hold to or ignore. They laugh, they cry, they are excited, they are indifferent, they share secrets, they say ‘How do you do?’ Often it is the most fleeting of meetings that, in the fullness of time, turn out to be the most noteworthy.

‘One on One’ examines the curious nature of different types of meeting, from the oddity of meetings with the Royal Family (who start giggling during a recital by TS Eliot) to those often perilous meetings between old and young (Gladstone terrifying the teenage Bertrand Russell) and between young and old (the 23 year old Sarah Miles having her leg squeezed by the nonagenarian Bertrand Russell), and our contemporary random encounters on television (George Galloway meeting Michael Barrymore on Celebrity Big Brother).

Ingenious in its construction, witty in its narration, panoramic in its breadth, ‘One on One’ is a wholly original book.

Reviews of One on One

    • Praise for ‘One on One’:
    • ‘These wonderfully gossipy but penetratingly truthful accounts don’t always show human nature at its best or most compassionate. But those who find gossip not only highly entertaining but also highly revealing about the most complex thing we know of in nature- ourselves- will relish One On One form the first chapter to the 101st’ Sunday Times
    • ‘For those who know Brown as a parodist, this book will come as a surprise. Though often very funny, it’s a work of straight non-fiction whose great virtue is not excess but restraint… A hugely enjoyable book that looks with affection and melancholy on the whirring roundabouts of history and celebrity, and reminds us that the paths to glory lead, handshake by handshake, pratfall by pratfall, to the grave’ Sam Leith, GUARDIAN
    • ‘The book describes real encounters. Truth being stranger than fiction, many of them are every bit as bizarre as Brown could have invented, and some are as funny… This is much more than a comedy book’ SPECTATOR
    • ‘It is partly a huge karmic parlour game, partly a dance to the music of chaos – and only the genius of Craig Brown could have produced it’ EVENING STANDARD
    • ‘Marvelously inventive and witty … it’s hard to imagine anyone who could do it better. He has an acutely attuned comic ear, an unmatched eye for spotting the absurdities of human behaviour and a bloodhound-grade nose for sniffing out phoniness and pretension. You couldn’t wish for a finer exponent of this literary parlour game’ MAIL ON SUNDAY