Friday, 2 December 2011

Are Old Pa Hurley and GK Chesterton Distant Cousins?

I always wondered was I was drawn to the great English Catholic writer GK Chesterton.

Was it his innate humour? His dry wit? His piercing observations? His loathing of pomposity? His love of the poor and the underdog? His defence of Catholic tradition? His absolutism against relativism? His love of country but loathing of jingoism? His love of politics but scepticism of politicians? His embrace of history but his emphasis on creating a better tomorrow?

Apparently not!

GKC? or Old Pa Hurley?
This you tube video of a GK Chesterton talk, pricking the bubble of Protestantism's central tenet of 'sola scriptura' (scripture alone) in his wonderful style has an artist's computerised impression of a (admittedly slimmer than usual) GKC.

Take a look at the image (reproduced at right) of GKC. Remind you of anyone?

Someone who totters down Albany Road of a Saturday night after righting the wrongs of the world in the bar? Someone who likes to get a 10p clearance bag of doughnuts to nibble as he meanders his way homeward, just as (GKC's chum) Hilaire Belloc wrote of the winding lanes of Sussex in his celebration of life, England, social history and so on, in his famous book The Four Men?

The GKC cartoon character even wears the kind of suit adorned by Old Pa Hurley that led to him getting free beer in one Cardiff hostelry when they assumed he was a plain-clothes policeman!

Little short of a Damascene Conversion (if one can mention such non-ecumenical things in the modern world without straying into hate crimes), I am now given to thinking (I know, it's worrying) that I must have first picked up a GKC tome because of some familial tie, some inner yearning to learn from the wisdom of my old dad.

I thank God (ditto re. ecumenism) that I don't believe in the many-armed elephantine deities and turbanated wotnots of the Hindoos, for with GKC passing away in 1936 and Old Pa Hurley being brought into this unsuspecting world in 1937, one might wonder at the possibility of reincarnation.

Now if I find out that GKC had a fondness for supping Brains SA*, then I think I'll have to phone up some clever genealogist in the morning.


* I am still awaiting my letter confirming sponsorship by Brains Brewery. One of their vans travels down our street with worrying regularity as if to coax more pennies from my padlocked coin purse (all very medieval).

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