Posts Tagged ‘Tom Baker’

Courtesy of my colleague Richard Flower, another Thucydides reference in an unexpected context: the autobiography of Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, Who on Earth is Tom Baker?, looking back to his childhood activity as a bookie’s runner.

Because the process of taking bets, or making a book, was illegal, the system of identifying betting slips was important. How to identify the winner of a bet? The punter couldn’t put his real name on the slip for fear that the police might raid the premises, find the slips and fine the gambler. This risk was avoided by a system of noms de plumes… One disgraced classicist used Thucydides which caused pronunciation problems back at base. The accepted explanation was that Thucydides was Turkish for nancy boy.

How did he know that the classicist was “disgraced” – specific knowledge, or simply the assumption that no respectable one would sink to gambling? How touching…


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