The author of these Essays is a self-confessed white male, & Roman Catholic of the worst kind. He pings mostly from the Parkdale district of Toronto, Canada. Most recently he was filing thrice-a-week for the Ottawa Citizen (copied to other papers in the PostMedia chain), but may have stepped out of “legacy media” forever; except, a few dead-tree magazines to which he sometimes contributes, & may flag from time to time. This blog replaces the archive into which all his newspaper columns since September 11, 2001, had been shovelled. Let them fade with their occasions.
David Warren has a grade ten education, which concluded at Georgetown (Ontario) District High School in 1969. At that tender age, & after brief stints of hitch-hiking, copy-boying, orange-picking as a scab in Florida & the like, he went to Asia. He had in fact been there before, having attended wonderfully backward British schools in earlier life. The most impressionable part of his childhood was in Lahore, Pakistan, where his father taught at the College of Art, across the street from the Zam-Zammah, & the Wonder House. This may help to excuse the odd Kiplingesque flourish.
Moving farther backwards, his parents were also Canadian, of the Loyalist persuasion, his father Ontario Methodist farmboy (then Spitfire flyboy, then industrial designer), his mother from the Gaelic recesses of Cape Breton (then nurse; & living still). He was, together with his little sister, raised “secular humanist” in the bosom of this rather post-Christian, but surprisingly decent family. He went through an adolescent “rationalist” (virulent atheist) phase, before suddenly finding religion on Thursday, April 15, 1976, while crossing the Hungerford footbridge over the Thames River in London, England. Or rather, religion found him.
The high point of his journalistic career had been achieved in the autumn of 1970 when, at the age of seventeen, he was appointed Women’s & Social Editor of the Bangkok World (sadly now defunct). It has been downhill since.
From then into the 1980s, he wandered about, taking various jobs, mostly journalistic, as an excuse to travel, as slowly & thoroughly as he could, pretty much across Eurasia. He helped sub-edit numerous shoddy little English-language papers in the Middle & Far East.
But it was not all journalism. One of his happiest memories, for instance, is of washing dishes with learned companions in a genuinely upmarket hotel in Eilat. Or with ditto, moving opera props by truck around Europe, while trading in antiquarian books on the side. To say nothing of shipments of auto parts; or grape-picking in the País d’Òc. And through four of those years he was mostly settled, in England, reading classics & philosophy.
Returning eventually to Canada, he founded a magazine of elevated general interest, entitled The Idler, which survived almost a decade, much of that time over a pub with the same name. It was not what you’d call a howling commercial success, but it did fill a certain niche in Canadian letters, that has yet to be refilled.
When that went belly-up, he resumed the shiftless, impoverished, free-lance existence, descending to movie scriptwriting at one point, & speech-writing at another, & even more shamefully, lecturing on the history of journalism in a Haligonian university, until settling more shiftily into a run of fifteen-plus years as a much-derided rightwing “opinion” columnist.
After long dilly-dallying in vertiginously high-church Anglicanism, he was received into the One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic Church on Wednesday, December 31, 2003.
Over the years he has contrived to have published not even one book (though he has ghost-written several). But let us supply a list of titles, in approximate order of incompletion: Travellers (interminable novel); Half Moon (verse); Public Spectacles (art in public life); The Uses & Abuses (of paranoia, xenophobia, misogyny, &c); Henry Jevon’s Almanac (more verse); Lives of the Hacks (history of journalism); Alexandria Still (time travel); Om Sweet Om (space travel); Table Talk (slightly subversive essays); Under the Table (more subversive essays); The Gimcrack Gourmand (essays with receipts); Neither Monogamy nor Polygamy but Origami (still more verse); Wrestling with Islam (a long story); The Beaver Manifesto (chomping at Nanny State); Christ the King (on manifesting Christendom).
Into this narrative, too, could be woven marriage, bourgeois householding, two wonderful little boys, separation, catastrophe, & further adventures. But he has never actually constructed a “curriculum vitae,” despises the practice, & is incapable of constructing anything in point form. Further information will inevitably appear in the Essays themselves, from casual & incomprehensible allusions, to methodical & sordid memoirs.
The author is incidentally open to any proposition — talks, sponsorships, commissions, or other gigs — that would make him money. He may be reached at this email address: