Jeffrey Bernard

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Jeffrey Bernard (27 May 19324 September 1997) was a British journalist who was columnist for the UK magazine The Spectator. He was known for his feckless and chaotic career and life of alcohol abuse. He was immortalized in a play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell by Keith Waterhouse.


  • During one of my annual visits to the great Fred Winter's yard I said to him, 'Good God, Fred, your horses look magnificent. Beautifully fit.' Of course they do, you twit,' he said. 'They don't sit up all night drinking gin and tonic and playing cards.'
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator (24 June 1983)
  • Since 1960 or thereabouts, when the Beatles and feminism came to power and destroyed the civilisation I was rather fond of...
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator (10 May 1986)
  • In 1950 when I was boxing I wanted to put on 3lb so my trainer made me put a teaspoon of powdered gelatine into the cup every time I took tea. It was fairly revolting & might possibly explain the final hammering I took.
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator (16 August 1986)
  • [On the Feminist Dale Spender] It staggers me. In fact I have not been so staggered since I last wore 8oz gloves.
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator 4 October 1986)
  • As for asking me have I ever felt remorse after drinking, I have been living with remorse for years now. She wakes me up every morning. She puts me to bed at night and yea though I run through the valley of Oxford St to the Coach & Horses she is by my side.
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator (4 October 1986)
  • I could stuff a pillow with the amount of confetti I have had thrown at me. And could I sleep easily on that? No.
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator (3 January 1987)
  • I once had to dispense with a literary agent because she drank too much. She was very surprised but I pointed out to her, quite logically I thought, that one of us had to be sober and it certainly wasn't going to be me.
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator (29 October 1988)
  • I'd very much like to wake up one morning with a cow of the Friesian variety and walk her down to Soho to the Coach and Horses, stopping on the way to buy twenty Players, ply her with vodkas until closing time, whip her off to an Indian restaurant, take her up to the Colony Room till 5.30 and then to the Yorkminster, Swiss Tavern, Three Greyhounds, get beaten up by Chinese waiters at midnight, have a row with the taxi driver, set the bed on fire, put it out with tears and then wake up on the floor. Could you then milk said cow? I doubt it.
    • From his 'Low Life' column in The Spectator [when?]
  • When I was a boy, I naively thought that this thing called happiness would be something I would wake up to find every day once I could smoke, drink and fornicate.
    • Reach for the Ground: the Downhill Struggle of Jeffrey Bernard (Duckworth: London, 2002) (p. 159)

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