REVIEW: John Simpson, Chichester Festivities

On screen John Simpson is a calm and familiar face set against a backdrop of chaotic war zones. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time as the action unfolds. And while the setting was somewhat different, the same could be said of his talk as part of Chichester Festivities. As he took to the stage to speak about his experiences in journalism on the same day the News of the World bit the bullet.

However, despite this offering a nice link in with his latest book titled Unreliable Source, most of the 90 minute session focused on events further afield.

There was no doubt he had a lot to say yet I couldn’t help feeling he was holding back. Many comments came with a disclaimer; “I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” and then failed to deliver on the juicy promise of something controversial.

Infact the only thing that seemed to have a bite to it was the insects in John’s colourful insights to the living conditions which come as part and parcel of being a foreign correspondent.

He even went so far to compare his days spent speaking to world leaders and risking life and limb for a story to doing the washing up - “At the end of the day they are both jobs which need doing.”

Still you can’t help but be inspired by a man who has seen and done so much. So I left, clutching my newly acquired paperback, and just hoping he will tell me more on paper than he did in person.

Laura Cartledge