30 September 2014

'Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best'

I've recently been reading a compendium of obituaries from the Daily Telegraph with the punning title Thinker, Failure, Soldier, Jailer, which contains an impressive cross-section of mainly British subjects of a particular nature most appealing to readers of that conservative and eccentric newspaper. World War 2 heroes are out in force, as are the usual mix of senior political figures, world leaders and august celebrities. And a peculiar mix of golfers, horse racing aficionados, ribald debutantes and society cat-burglars. But it is the oddities that make the book appealing, illustrating as they do the British love of the outre sort who flit around the edges of society. The House of Lords provides fertile ground for such characters, including this fellow:
The 3rd Lord Moynihan (1936-1991) 
The 3rd Lord Moynihan, who has died in Manila aged fifty-five, provided, through his character and career, ample ammunition for critics of the hereditary principle. His chief occupations were bongo-drummer, confidence trickster, brothel-keeper, drug-smuggler and police informer, but 'Tony' Moynihan also claimed other areas of expertise - as 'professional negotiator', 'international diplomatic courier', 'currency manipulator', and 'authority on rock and roll'. If there was a guiding principle to Moynihan's life, it was to be found on the wall of his office in Manila, where a brass plaque bore the legend, 'Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best'.
- Thinker, Failure, Soldier, Jailer, Harry de Quetteville (ed.), London, 2012, p.522.

Notorious drug smuggler Howard Marks, who was imprisoned after Moynihan wore a wire to incriminate his friend, described Moynihan as 'a first-class bastard'.
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