ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 20 JANUARY 2013
Liked this comment underneath an extract from the book on the Guardian's book site.
Since the days of the Guardian's shameful hounding of Jonathan Aitken in 1995, I have held a particular prejudice against Alan Rushbridger and have resolutely avoided reading anything he has written since that time. However, as the topic of the present article is rather close to my heart, I decided to give it a read and am now finding my prejudices wilting. In my own case, I gave up piano lessons at age 12, having struggled to scrape the barest of passes at Grade 2, and for most of my life I was of the view that I was neurologically predisposed to fail at any attempt at musicianship. On several occasions since, I attempted to take up the piano again, but no matter how much I practiced, I seemed incapable of improvement. However, at the age of 60, and having bought a piano last year for my 10 year old daughter, I suddenly discovered that age had brought with it a new fluency and coordination in my fingers that, for whatever reason, had previously been missing. Six months further on, I'm getting close to being able to play the Prelude from Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin at full speed - something which previously I would never have dreamed was possible. But like Alan, I have to hold down a full-time job as well and it's taking 3 hours a day practice during weekdays and 9 hours a day at weekends to manage this. Maybe old age brings with it a determination to succeed and an ability to persevere against the odds which we lack when we are younger. So well done Alan - I may be prepared to forgive you for the Aitken affair.
I think Aikten himself "forgave" me some time ago. A few Hay Festivals back the organisers (mischievously?) booked us into the same bed and breakfast together. We'd had no contact since Aitken had been to jail. But we ended up sipping tea in the sunshine making small talk like nothing had happened. And since then he's written a few good pieces on prison and rehabilitation for the paper.