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Arabella Spencer-Churchill, RIP
December 21, 2007 4:51 AM   Subscribe

Arabella Spencer Churchill, granddaughter of Winston Churchill and co-founder of the Glastonbury rock festival is dead at 58. Sadly, on this very same day, her son was sentenced to three years prison in Australia on drug charges.
posted by flapjax at midnite (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"...though it could be arranged / with just a word in Mr. Churchill's ear..." : Elvis Costello performs Oliver's Army at Glastonbury.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:04 AM on December 21, 2007


Dare I say... she actually looked a bit like her grandfather.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:13 AM on December 21, 2007


What a cool person.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:18 AM on December 21, 2007


Miss lynnster, that clip is exactly what this thread needed. Thanks.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:18 AM on December 21, 2007


Too bad she didn't simply announce, "Despite the usual associations that accompany my admittedly famous surname, my personal beliefs make me an inappropriate choice to represent the UK at the NATO Festival" and let the $hit hit the fan. Sounds like a very self-possessed lady; I would've liked to have met her.

....and...."NATO Festival"? Did that hit anybody else wrong? I keep thinking of things like "NORAD Kegger," "Warsaw Pact Beach Party," "Lend-Lease Act Cookout,"...
posted by pax digita at 6:07 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a cool person.

Only if aristocratic ex-hippie counter-culture entrepeneurs are what floats your boat.

Here's a surprisingly good piece on the family from the Daily Mail.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:16 AM on December 21, 2007


I keep thinking of things like "NORAD Kegger," "Warsaw Pact Beach Party," "Lend-Lease Act Cookout,"...

I have Warsaw Pact Beach Party's first album. "Surfin' Kaliningrad" is awesome, as is "Little Deuce T-55"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:07 AM on December 21, 2007


I've always been partial to Another BRIC in the Wall
posted by b1tr0t at 7:21 AM on December 21, 2007


Only if aristocratic ex-hippie counter-culture entrepeneurs are what floats your boat.

Ooh, burn! So tell us, since she couldn't help her aristocratic background, what should she have done to earn your respect? Live a typical aristo life buying expensive shit and going skiing? Kill herself? The woman survived a childhood with one of the world's most notorious assholes as a father and had to deal with seeing her beloved son be arrested for running a drug ring, but that's not enough punishment for you? She sounds to me like good company, which is more than I can say for any other Churchill I've read about.

Here's the bit from your link that outraged me:

"In no time at all, Winston was doing 100 miles an hour and I had nothing on — which was when we heard the police siren."
The punishment? Just a ticking off after the officer examined his driver's licence and satisfied himself he really had stopped Winston Spencer Churchill.


Harass the poor and powerless and lick the boots of the rich and famous, eh? Fuck the police.
posted by languagehat at 7:22 AM on December 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


Dare I say... she actually looked a bit like her grandfather

Isn't she the one who had plastic surgery so she wouldn't look as much like him?
posted by brujita at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2007


Judge Colin Charteris sentenced Barton Thursday to three years imprisonment and set a minimum term of 20 months before he can be considered for parole.

20 months for 13 million dollars worth Ecstasy. Wow. Meanwhile here in the U.S. people have been sentenced to 20 years for two oxycontin pills. And there are Asian countries that will Execute you for minor amounts of drugs.
posted by delmoi at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2007


aristocratic ex-hippie counter-culture entrepeneurs

Friend of yours, nickyskye?
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:55 AM on December 21, 2007


ROU_X, even as I was typing "Warsaw Pact Beach Party" I was thinking, "Band name?"

On the 'B' side of "Surfin' Stalingrad" -- "Oh Black Dnieper, keep on' rollin', trans-Ural moon won't you keep on shinin' on me.."
posted by pax digita at 7:57 AM on December 21, 2007


The woman survived a childhood with one of the world's most notorious assholes as a father and had to deal with seeing her beloved son be arrested for running a drug ring, but that's not enough punishment for you?

For somebody who calls himself LanguageHat, you sure do struggle with your reading comprehension sometimes, don't you?

Where does my 'meh' imply any interest in these losers one way or another?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2007


aristocratic ex-hippie counter-culture entrepeneurs

Friend of yours, nickyskye?


Wish she had been. Although I'm not an ex-hippie, just an old hippie who grew up. Sad to think of the small minds who put petty labels on seeking truth and good in one's youth as "hippie". But if small minded labels are being handed out, better that than a robotic money grubber, clawing one's way up any social ladder. Better, imo, to be a decent, caring human being in whatever form that takes.

Thank you languagehat for saying what you did.

"My grandfather used the phrase 'The Iron Curtain.' It seems to be that what is facing us all now is the final curtain. The defense systems of the great powers are mutually infectious."


A political activist is a brave choice for a young woman forced into that old debutante bs.She refused to be a political puppet for the dark side. What beautiful cojones to stand up intelligently at such a young age! Brava Arabella. The world is a better place that she was born.

a woman who has devoted much of her life to helping thousands through her Children's World charity (which provides entertainment for children from all backgrounds)

Nice.

About her raging alcoholic father, Randolph Churchill, who died at 57, when Arabella was 19: When he had surgery for a benign tumour, Evelyn Waugh remarked that the surgeon had removed "the only part of Randolph that was not malignant".

That's the kind of thing said about a malignant narcissist with BPD tendencies. It must have been hell for her growing up with that camouflaged with all the adulation about coming from such privilege, wealth and pseudo comfort. Her stepmother committed suicide at 58 while dealing with cancer. (Although is that suicide really, not self-euthanizing?) It's no wonder Arabella suffered severe depression, drank, took Valium and rebelled. Can't imagine it was easy for her children either.

Arabella was lovely in a natural way as a young woman and I like that when she aged she didn't go the deeply ugly, plastic surgery, fake-youth route. She kept her integrity and free spiritedness in tact. I like her face. And she did look like Winston as she aged.

the 1971 festival, which featured Hawkwind

oh wow. They were my neighbors in London in 1972, fun living next to a rock band, for a while.

Her son, Jake, struggled to find his way economically. How harsh it must be for him to have his mother die the day he goes to prison, all the while living in the shadow of the Churchill name. I hope he finds his way. My condolences to their 19 year old daughter, Jessica Jules McLeod, to her son, to Haggis McLeod (here having fun participating in a drum war) and to the loving, good people in her life.

.
posted by nickyskye at 9:24 AM on December 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


That picture of Winston Churchill with the caption about his disapproval, it is funny to me...
posted by MNDZ at 9:33 AM on December 21, 2007


*the link to Arabella as a young woman
posted by nickyskye at 10:14 AM on December 21, 2007


What nickyskye said. Given the choice between living a life of unearned privilege and taking a harder route, she followed her own path. She put joy into the world; she did her best.

So here's a . for Arabella.
posted by jokeefe at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, the ever authoritative Daily Mail.

/sarcasm

Glastonbury is defintely on my "to do" list. But then there's all those pictures of rainy festival days....
posted by telstar at 2:27 PM on December 21, 2007


Where does my 'meh' imply any interest in these losers one way or another?

Where exactly did you get the idea that anyone was interested in your 'meh'?
posted by srboisvert at 3:33 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


PeterMcDermott's distaste for "these losers" notwithstanding, I'd just say that whenever people with lots of money decide to do something positive with it, that's a good thing. I don't know anything about the rest of the Churchill clan, but this particular woman was obviously a good spirit, and deserves something more than knee-jerk scorn and/or dismissal based solely on the circumstances of her birth. I wonder, PeterMcDermott, did you watch that clip that miss lynnster posted upthread? You still think she's a "loser"? Really?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 PM on December 21, 2007


When he had surgery for a benign tumour, Evelyn Waugh remarked that the surgeon had removed "the only part of Randolph that was not malignant".

That's the kind of thing said about a malignant narcissist with BPD tendencies.


Mostly that's the kind of thing that Waugh, who adored a good crack, said about just about anyone on his radar. But he had served directly under Randolph in Yugoslavia during the war and had his own more personal reasons to dislike him.

That said, there remains one entertaining anecdote from the war years: Waugh and the Earl of Birkenfield found that Randolph had never read the bible and staked ten pounds each on his immediately doing so. The old boy took the money and the challenge, then kept coming back to them in amazement with predictable quotes and comments like, "God, isn't God a shit?"

But as noted above- not an easy father.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:33 PM on December 21, 2007


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