"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Edward Teague: Blogger known as 'Postman Patel

The Independent
Thursday, 25 June 2009

A cotton man through and through, Edward Teague repeatedly cut his cloth to suit a variety of sometimes simultaneous careers which straddled the commercial, scientific and artistic lives of Manchester and elsewhere, including a stint as a United Nations advisor to North Korea. He became best known, however, in his sixties, as Postman Patel or Lord Patel, one of the best and most original voices on the British blogosphere and regularly consulted by many a Fleet Street commentator.

Born into a family of Manchester cotton merchants, Teague played rugby at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys before going to Leicester University to study botany from 1961 to 1964. Further research in this, at Edinburgh, was curtailed by being hauled back to run the family firm.

Leicester had been a brand-new redbrick, famous as the inspiration for Lucky Jim. Edward throve in a university which then had fewer than a thousand students, and he made lifelong friends among those studying disparate subjects. He relished hearing what they said about their enthusiasms, and these often became his own. As the only fellow undergraduate with a car, he and I traced the lost railways of Leicestershire or, rather more wickedly, sniggered at Monica Jones, the lover of Philip Larkin, as she distractedly wandered the small campus.

Back in Manchester at the family firm, he met and married Lesley Holmes in 1969; she was with him throughout his varied occupations. He was a regular at the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society which met in the Portico Library – a relic of the quest for learning which existed alongside the search for profit which characterised Manchester in its heyday. The Manchester Stock Exchange was a particular interest and he was especially proud to be associated with the Royal Exchange Theatre, created inside the Exchange buildings when, in one era of an eclectic career, he served as Drama and Literature Officer for North West Arts.

He had previously spent time working for Saatchi and Saatchi as an advertising copywriter, owning a bookshop with the typically sardonic name of "Books" and as director of a private art gallery, where he refused to hold L.S. Lowry on the grounds that he was a better artist himself. This was almost true: his cartoons of Sydney the Spider were adored by all the children who received postcards with his illustrations.

Always at the forefront of understanding and appreciating the changing industrial and commercial world (to the extent of establishing a software company which developed programs for textile manufacturers), he was also adept enough to become a constant thorn in the side of government as he witnessed the collapse of the industry and the futile attempts to pour money into factories which were soon to be shipped wholesale to India.

Edward Teague had a love of the North-west and knew, for example, where to find the old charcoal pits beside the M62 in the Pennines. He could readily, and engagingly, explain the workings of the pneumatic/hydraulic system which existed in the warehouses alongside the Bridgewater Canal in Manchester (these explanations recur in his blog). He never tired of the region's industrial archaeology and could name all the mills which still dominate a few of the towns to the north of Manchester.

Never a political activist in the traditional sense, he was a genuine libertarian with no time for the humbug and rhetoric of the left and right. The blog he ran as Postman Patel/Lord Patel became a port of call for anyone seeking to unravel what was really going on behind the headlines. His scientific training made him ask questions, and seek answers, where others feared to tread. Never daunted, though sometimes dismayed, by a changing world, he throve upon challenge, to which he brought a perspective which spanned two centuries and drew upon many contacts – whether he was discussing the De Menezes shooting, the fact that the US brought greater firepower upon Libya in 1986 than the English had done in the Falklands, and the embarrassing photographic evidence held by MI5 about Anthony Blunt, among others.

In one of his last blogs, he declared, "apart from making my arm ache reaching for my gun when I hear the phrase 'Two Cultures', it has been evident since Queen Victoria died and the little incident in Sarajevo that the Rolls Royce minds of the upper echelons have always regarded scientists as an unpleasant luxury, like a water flushing closet".

Teague soon found the internet a natural outlet for his wide-ranging talents – the very emblem of fast-moving, post-industrial society. It is a profound regret that he died so soon into this latest incarnation of a pleasingly eclectic life. Would that more politicians themselves were of his maverick spirit. He hoped his blog would continue beyond his lost struggle against cancer, and there are those in that blogosphere who may attempt it. However, it is doubtful that any one person can bridge C.P. Snow's Two Cultures in the way that Lord Patel did during that personal, idiosyncratic foray in the global village.

Ken Bodfish

Edward Teague, copywriter, arts administrator, bookseller and writer: born Manchester 25 January 1943; married 1969 Lesley Holmes (one daughter); died 9 June 2009.



IanPJ said...

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. My sincere condolences go out to his family.

He and his always very well informed writing will be sadly missed.

Ruth said...

Thank you for posting the article about this really amazing man.

Merkin said...

Wonderful post.

Those of us who think that we are candles in the wind can be fortified by the fact that there are a few Bunsen Burners on the same side.

Stef said...

from the Liverpool Daily Post...

June 26 2009, by William Leece

Edward Teague

THE question as to whether Britain really appreciates its scientists has never really been answered.
Despite all the due acknowledgement and honour of scientists from Isaac Newton to Stephen Hawking, the niggling feeling remains that, in the classically-educated heart of hearts of the British establishment, scientists are a breed apart.
In many ways interesting and engaging people, but would you really want your daughter to marry one?
Edward Teague was a biologist with a way with words, an industrialist who ran a bookshop and was once drama and literature officer for North West Arts.
He also had a sense of mischief coupled with an intellectual rigour that made him ask questions, and keep on asking them until he got some answers and a pattern began to emerge.
He studied botany at the then newly-established Leicester University in the 1960s, and embarked on research in Edinburgh before returning to his native Manchester to join the family cotton business.
But he was so multi-talented that he would never settle down to an upwardly plodding career.
At various stages in his life, he was an advertising copywriter, bookshop owner, art gallery director, North West Arts officer and a United Nations adviser in North Korea.
His knowledge of the North West, its people and its culture, was phenomenal, and as a commentator through his online blog, he was never one to be fobbed off with an official explanation if the truth was something different.
He wrote variously as Postman Patel or Lord Patel, not flinching from either a challenging viewpoint, an awkward question or some uncomfortable facts.
His blogs were appallingly badly-typed; spell-checkers do not seem to have been part of his world; but they paint a cumulative picture of a libertarian who knew his own mind, with little time for the smooth talking of politicians of any conviction.

Edward Teague, industrialist and polymath; born, January 25, 1943, died, June 9, 2009

Stef said...


The following poem was read at Lord P's funeral...

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am diamond glints of snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush;
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds encircled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

jon doy™ said...

been playing All Along The Watchtower also

...and last night at the proper volume

everyone seemed to turn down/off their tvs and so on, and when it reverbed itself into a fade all was silent, everyone wanted to listen to it it seems

a mate who lives close-by told me today he got his son to turn down the game he was playing and listen to it

the only sounds outside as things were once again quiet - which is something this town never is - were the song of a blackbird full from a day of 'stealing' cherries from the grocer's shop, and the distant sound of a warm-enough-to-welcome breeze in the trees nearby

could almost sense that this friend of all of ours - even if we'd never met him, he was a friend to us - was getting his props

and Jimmy, of course, too

Anonymous said...

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am diamond glints of snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush;
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds encircled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

a very moving poem

Sukyspook said...

Still missing you Postie - your wit and wisdom will ALWAYS be missed.....
God bless and keep you and your family safe.


Hywel said...

I was saddened to come across the words RIP Edward Teague at the bottom of a blogposting and even more so when a little investigation revealed that it was the Edward Teague I used to know.

Until I was about 10 he, Lesley and Sarah were our next door neighbours so whilst I can't claim to have known him in his blogging years I do remember his bookshop and drawings - particularly some faithful reproductions of Captain Pugwash and Tom the cabin boy.

Having had a brief scan through his blog maybe its a pity I didn't discover it earlier as we would have had numerous shared interests

I hope whoever has maintained this blog since his death could pass on my condolences to Lesley and Sarah

Hywel Morgan

BroderWriter said...

Lord Patel appeared on day on my blog, deep in the ravages of the Bush era in the States. He treated me as an equal at all times, even though I was 20 years younger and perhaps 30 IQ points less gifted than he (Patel was a genius's genius--it's unfair to compare). We delighted in discussing chocolate, pineapple (he posted about pineapple carving on my food blog), and apple pie, as well as the monstrous loss of freedoms that slipped through with nary a twitter during the Patriot Act and subsequent years. He could jump dexterously from any topic to any other topic. He seemed to know everything--and deeply at that. I will miss him. I hope there is an unlimited supply of 72% cacao Belgian chocolate in his current destination.

Anonymous said...

Still missing you Postie - but in the name and spirit of people like you, the TRUTH will out and humanity will be free.

God bless.


sam_m said...

Well remembered and much missed.

9 June '10

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Myron on planet Earth said...

A good friend I'll never forget. Someone who gave me a an honest fighting chance (even after I once [accidentally] pranged his car) when I guess others would have simply passed by and looked the other way. Postman Patel rocks!!! :-)

Jet_Wonkishoeszip said...
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Anonymous said...
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(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish