Tag: age

Jan Morris, travel writer hailed as the Flaubert of the Jet Age, 1926-2020

Jan Morris, the writer celebrated for her lyrical, evocative prose and hailed as the Flaubert of the Jet Age, made her name with a bald report of barely a dozen words. “Snow conditions bad,” it read. “Advanced base abandoned yesterday. Awaiting improvement. All Well.”

That downbeat dispatch, carried by runners down Nepal’s Khumbu valley then telegraphed to London, was in fact a coded message designed to protect a famous journalistic scoop. On June 2, 1953, the day of Elizabeth II’s coronation, its true meaning was revealed in the Times: Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay had become the first to stand on the summit of Everest.

Morris was the sole reporter on that expedition, an experience which would have been the pinnacle of most careers. For Morris, who died on Friday aged 94, it was just one chapter in a long adventurous life of remarkable breadth and scope. She was a child chorister at Oxford, a soldier crossing Europe in the second world war, a feted historian, one of 20th century’s greatest travellers, a Booker-shortlisted novelist and transgender pioneer. Along the way she met Che Guevara in Cuba, exposed French collusion in the invasion of Suez, and lived on Field Marshal Montgomery’s houseboat on the Nile.

James Morris was born in Somerset in 1926, to a Welsh father and English mother. It was a musical childhood — his brothers became an organist and flautist and James went as a choral scholar to Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford then Lancing College. In 1944 he joined the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers, serving as an intelligence officer in Italy and Palestine and at one point being stationed in Venice — the city that would become the subject of the award-winning 1960 book that would establish his reputation as a travel writer.

After the war he worked for the Arab News Agency in Cairo, returned to Oxford to read English and edit Cherwell, the student newspaper, then joined the Times, first as a subeditor then correspondent. In 1949 he met and married Elizabeth Tuckniss — a relationship so joyful and intense he would accompany her morning commute by bus across London just so they could keep talking — and they went on to have five children. In 1968, he published the first volume of the Pax Britannica trilogy, a monumental account of the British empire which the Times Literary Supplement declared “a tour de force”.

But though the life of the dashing army officer and intrepid journalist seemed to epitomise the era’s ideal of action-man masculinity, Morris knew all along he was living in the wrong body. Sitting under his mother’s piano aged three or four, “her music falling around me like cataracts, enclosing me as if in a cave”, Morris realised he “should really be a girl. I remember the moment well and it is the earliest memory of my life.”

Supported throughout by Elizabeth, he began hormone treatment in 1964 and in 1972 had reassignment surgery in Casablanca, returning afterwards to resume

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Braniff Airways reborn as a themed hotel in an age when defunct airlines are hip again

Braniff International Airways may have died in 1982 when the Dallas carrier went out of business, but its image is getting a second life on purses, pillows, an office building and soon on a boutique hotel at the site of its former flight attendant dormitory.

Centurion American, which developed downtown Dallas’ swanky hotspot Statler Hotel, bought the former Braniff “hostess college” in 2019 and has worked a deal to put the Braniff name on a new boutique hotel, along with other nods to the defunct company and aviation history.

Braniff, the Texas airline that grew into an international competitor in the wild early days of commercial aviation before a pilot strike pushed it into bankruptcy, is getting a second life as travel enthusiasts look to recapture the yesteryears of flying and marketers turn to bygone brands.

Developers decided to keep the name on the old Braniff Centre building at Dallas Love Field for a new retail, office and restaurant development that reopened earlier this year. Braniff joined a list of former airlines enjoying a recent revival.

Ben Cass, president of Braniff Airways, has been working with developer Centurion American on a deal to put the Braniff name on a new boutique hotel, along with other nods to the defunct company and aviation history. Braniff's former hostess college will be converted into a hotel.
Ben Cass, president of Braniff Airways, has been working with developer Centurion American on a deal to put the Braniff name on a new boutique hotel, along with other nods to the defunct company and aviation history. Braniff’s former hostess college will be converted into a hotel.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

A TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport in New York opened last year in the former airlines’ retro-futuristic headquarters building.

At a shop at SeaTac International Airport south of Seattle, the Pan Am Airlines logo is featured on T-shirts and purses for sale to travelers looking to show their love for airline history. A short-lived drama series on ABC called Pan Am showed there was popular interest in the aviation era, even if the program only survived 14 episodes.

“Airlines like Braniff and Pan Am had a very important connection to people,” said David Banmiller, who was CEO of Pan Am for a short time during an attempted reincarnation of the brand that originally ceased operations in 1991. “Pan Am connected the world. People had images of seeing their grandparents for the first time coming off a Pan Am flight or seeing their parents after years apart.”

Along with mega-carriers American Airlines and Southwest Airlines based in North Texas, Braniff was a major contributor to the aviation world during the early deregulated era when there were dozens of competitors. In time, many of those airlines went out of business or merged with larger competitors to make way for the consolidated handful of carriers available to flyers today.

For the most part, the new group of airlines is a vast improvement for flyers. Today’s airlines are more reliable, cheaper and much safer than older carriers and planes, not to mention smoother to ride on.

Braniff was started in 1928 and grew from a Texas-centric carrier to an airline with worldwide reach, including flights to Europe and South America on one of the

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The founder of Aman Resorts is launching a new ryokan hotel chain for the modern age

It was in 1950s Tokyo, while working as a correspondent for Time magazine, that Adrian Zecha first stayed in a traditional Japanese ryokan inn, a memory that has clearly endured.

Fast-forward more than six decades and the legendary hotelier and founder of the hugely influential hotel brand Aman Resorts is returning to his roots – with the launch of a new ryokan-inspired hotel brand in Japan.

The new brand, called Azumi, created with Japanese hospitality group Naru Developments, will offer a modern interpretation of the nation’s iconic ryokan inns, long famed for their atmospheric traditional settings and unrivalled service.

The first Azumi will open on an island in the Seto Inland Sea in spring next year, with a focus on harmonising tradition with innovation, in terms of food, design and wellness.

Shiro Miura, a Kyoto architect renowned for his sensitive contemporary interpretations of traditional Japanese architecture (including hotel Malda Kyoto, among others), is working on the new project, alongside a team of artisans, artists and gardeners from across Japan.

The Seto Inland Sea is known as the Mediterranean of Japan

© Ippei Naoi/tororo

• 15 incredible ryokans that will make you want to live in Japan

“In the 1950s […] I lived in Tokyo in the hustle and bustle of the city, which was exciting, but I quickly found myself drawn to the peaceful escape of ryokan culture,”  Zecha tells the Telegraph.

“I discovered a favourite ryokan and developed a close relationship with the family who owned it. I have always remembered the unique hospitality I received there, not as a paying guest but rather a cherished family friend. This close relationship with the family who owned the ryokan, and the community that surrounded them, made the place an extension of my own home in Tokyo.

“Fast-forward to today [and] many ryokans have failed to update to the modern world, many are in financial trouble, but some remain as beautiful as they were 50 years ago. In launching Azumi with my co-founders Yuta Oka and Fumitomo Hayase, whom I met when they both worked at Aman with me, we plan to respectfully update the ryokan for the modern era.”

Yuta Oka, director of Azumi and co-founder of Naru Developments, adds: “When I first met Adrian in Singapore and told him that I was Japanese, he said ‘Well you have a beautiful culture – ryokans.’ When Adrian left Aman, it became a dream for me to work with him on updating and rejuvenating ryokans.”

Zecha famously revolutionised modern hotel concepts with the launch of Aman in Phuket in 1988. Amanpuri sparked not only a global tribe of so-called Aman junkies, but also a new generation of deluxe hotels with minimalist design and intuitive service in dramatic natural settings.

Adrian Zecha at Amanpuri, Thailand

© 2001 Peter Charlesworth/Peter Charlesworth

• 10 hotels that capture the spirit of Japan

Now in his late 80s, Zecha is showing no signs of slowing down. After leaving the Aman Group six years ago,

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