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Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 14:21 GMT
Auberon Waugh: Biting wit
Auberon Waugh
To his many fans, Auberon Waugh's writing was a haven of political incorrectness in a pompous and overly-serious world.

His Way of the World column, which graced the pages of The Daily Telegraph for a decade, lambasted everything from unmarried mothers to the working class and brought accusations that he was snobbish, sexist and vicious.

However, "Bron" Waugh defended himself by claiming that his chief talent was for "making the comment, at any given time, which people least wish to hear".

The young Auberon Waugh with father Evelyn
The young Auberon Waugh with father Evelyn
This ability, which he exhibited with almost effortless ease, made him great "box office" and the darling of many a chat-show producer.

Auberon Waugh was born in Somerset, two months into WWII, the eldest son of the novelist Evelyn Waugh.

He said that the most terrifying aspect of Evelyn Waugh as a parent was that he reserved the right not just to deny affection to his children, but to advertise an acute and unqualified dislike of them.

Accidentally shot

Auberon Waugh was schooled at Downside before being called up for National Service.

Commissioned in the Royal Horse Guards, he received severe and long-lasting injuries after accidentally shooting himself while trying to unblock a jammed machine-gun.

He was hit six times in the chest, losing a lung and his spleen and was not expected to survive. While lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance he said to his platoon sergeant, with his characteristic Úlan: "Kiss me Chudleigh".

Auberon Waugh
Auberon Waugh drew admiration and outrage in equal measure
He later recalled, however, that "Chudleigh did not recognise the allusion and from then on treated me with extreme caution".

After Oxford, Auberon Waugh joined The Daily Telegraph. The paper would be his spiritual home for the rest of his life, although he also wrote with distinction for The Spectator, Private Eye and the Evening Standard.

Auberon Waugh's impish sense of humour was not to everyone's taste. He was sacked from The Spectator when Nigel Lawson, its then editor, took exception to Waugh changing George Gale's byline to Lunchtime O'Booze.

Prejudices

Unlike his father, Auberon Waugh's abilities as a novelist were limited but, as a journalist, he was extremely effective. Indeed, on occasion, his tongue-in-cheek prejudices provoked serious trouble.

The Times once showed him the door for an article about the Muslim faith which led to an enraged mob burning down the British Council in Rawalpindi.

At the 1979 general election, Waugh famously stood for the Dog Lovers' Party against the former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe.

The Literary Review
The Literary Review: "real poetry"
In 1986, he founded the Literary Review, which he edited, to promote what he called "real poetry with proper human feeling".

He also introduced an annual Literary Review award for the novel with the worst description of the sexual act.

An unrepentant chain-smoker and wine buff, Auberon Waugh enjoyed his pleasures like his prejudices, to excess.

He was always outrageous, but in his mission to expose hypocrisy and deflate pomposity, he often contrived to be hilariously funny, too.

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See also:

17 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Auberon Waugh dies
17 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Literary world saddened at Waugh's death
17 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Stand up the real Auberon Waugh
18 Jan 01 | Talking Point
Auberon Waugh: Send your tributes
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