A confession Posted on April 25, 2012

When did ‘dilettante’ become a term of abuse? ‘Amateur’ no longer has the status it once had, either. I think the probable reason is that both suggest a life in which not every minute needs to be spent in gainful employment. A leisured class, indeed; ‘posh boys’, even.

Is there a paradox here? Leisure is what we spend most of our lives working for, only, when we achieve it, to have it despised. Meanwhile, the assumption has taken hold that only ‘expert’ opinion is worth listening to. And an expert (disregarding the disrespectful description of ‘a drip under pressure’) means a person employed to know and pronounce, whether properly qualified or not.

For myself, I reclaim the name of dilettante. And even, indeed, amateur. We are people who do things for their inherent interest and the love of it. We offer views we are not technically qualified to hold – or at least not to mention. A dilettante is probably a hedonist, pleasure being his goal.

Hugh’s Gardening Books

Sitting in the Shade

This is the third anthology of Trad’s Diary, cherry-picking the past ten years. The previous two covered the years 1975…

Hugh’s Wine Books

World Atlas of Wine 8th edition

I started work on The World Atlas of Wine almost 50 years ago, in 1970. After four editions, at six-year…

Friends of Trad

John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary