Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Bibliophile, 74-plus

My socks, like novels of the avant garde,
Weigh on me now: I lack the power to stretch
Beyond that hindering swag of lard
Towards the problematic briarpatch.
I opt for looseness so my corded neck
Is unrestrained, a turtle’s periscope
That scans the route on a familiar trek
Through re-read books down a declining slope.
I fear tight clothes and tighter argument,
Prefer to wallow in the warmer mud
And so avoid the future’s accident:
The ketchup rather than the oozing blood.

This year I measured time along Swann’s Way
But knew the end and occupied the day.

14 comments:

Lucy said...

'hindering swag of lard', oh that's so harsh!I too prefer elastic waistbands these days. Rather sad.

I like the idea of preferring to re-read as I get older. Makes keeping all those books around worthwhile.

Rouchswalwe said...

I sometimes think that it's too bad the climate here isn't conducive to wearing togas. Reclining to read would be easier, for instance. Since it's a 3-day weekend, I now intend to indulge in a nice, thick book ~ Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Julia said...

How is Proust as a reread? I've just been rereading EM Forster novels mixed with other Edwardian history. More interesting as history now than when I first read them. Otherwise, not as fun as the first time.

Plutarch said...

Looseness in clothing is desirable not only because it makes you feel more comfortable but because it makes you look comfortable and dignified. The sight of flesh stuffed into jeans and the like, to bursting point is unsavoury and unnecessary. "A sweet disorder in the dress/ Kindles in clothes a wantonness", would not be possible in tight fitting clothes.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: In fact Mrs BB says I look somewhat thinner these days, but that's not what the verse required. That's a good point about justifying those shelves full of books. Otherwise, to quote Anthony Powell (twelve of whose works are on those very shelves) it's merely a case of "Books do furnish a room".

RW (Zu Schwer): Mrs BB makes a technical point picked up quite recently: togas were quite heavy. But we both agree they would aid prone-reading; both of us prone-read. I'm ashamed to say I had to Google the novel you mentioned. Doesn't sound like my kind of stuff. Mrs BB, who reads everything, admits to being irritated by the cod footnotes but wishes you good luck.

Julia: Proust: It was the third time and won't be the last if, to use a granny-like phrase, "I'm spared". Huge long passages arrived as new but the well-remembered stuff (Baron de Charlus, Mme Verdurin, etc) shone like familiar jewels. A fantastic investment although there may well be problems next time around. I've got it in three massive paperback volumes from Penguin and opening and closing such big books slowly breaks their backs.

Re-reading Forster? Hmmm. Certainly I enjoyed him first time round, always excepting the somewhat feeble "Maurice". Could do. What other Edwardian novels? One of my favourites is George Gissing's "New Grub Street" (1891 - doesn't qualify) but then it touched on some of my professional concerns. I like the idea of medium value novels coming back a second time as history.

Plutarch: Well, expect to see me at the BR dressed as I usually am. Chinos, open-necked shirt and, given the date, my Berghaus fleece.

A wonderful quote which I'll try and match with one from Noel Coward's rewritten lyric for Cole Porter's "Let's do it."

"The Brontes felt they must do it,
Ernest Hemingway could j-u-s-t do it,
Let's do it, etc

Teenagers squashed into jeans do it,
Probably will live to see machines do it,
Let's do it..."

The Crow said...

Let's hear it for British inventor, Thomas Hancock, who invented the masticator for pulverizing rubber scraps, which eventually lead Hancock to incorporate his new elastic into fabrics.

I owe the man my comfort and my gratitude, for I wear elastic-waisted jeans and slacks instead of button or fly-fronted clothes. For someone with the shape (mis-shape?) of a potato, elstic bands in my clothing make getting dressed a reasonable option to dreaded nudity.

:D

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Well I'll drink to T. Hancock and his worthwhile contribution to global comfort. But fly-fronted clothes!!! Thought they were just for fellas. What's more they're going out of fashion. My most recent pair of PJs lacks a fly; this leads to agonised fumbling at 3.30 am when I'm disinclined to turn on the light.

The Crow said...

Levi jeans used to make button-fly jeans for women, back in the - oh, shoot, I can't remember when. I had two pair but gave up on them because the buttons wouldn't stay closed.

We might be describing different things with the same words. To me, any pair of pants that opens down the front is considered fly-front...as opposed to pull-ons. Are we speaking the same thing?

:)

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Cor, here we are talking about fly-fronts (USA) and flies (UK). I am well aware of what these clothing features are; many times they have saved me from acute embarrassment. What I didn't realise is that they are also incorporated into womens' trousers. To what end? I'd draw a picture if I wasn't afeared Google wouldn't load my blog with warnings about being a threat to public order.

The Crow said...

"I'd draw a picture if I wasn't afeared Google wouldn't load my blog with warnings about being a threat to public order."

HA! Oh, you funny man, you.

:D

The Crow said...

To what end? you asked, re: button-fly jeans for women - purely marketing ploy, not for any other good reason I could see. Only looked good on flat-bellied women, one of whom I was not, but were bought mostly by matrons who should have bought pull-on jeans.

However, several years later, zipper-fronted short skirts for teenaged girls were all the rage, which I could not fathom at all, so asked my then-mid-teen daughter for an explanation.

"That's for easy access, Mom."

I couldn't think of anything to say, was stunned. Didn't want to consider how she knew that, she being all of 15 at the time.

I'm guessing neither of us has to draw a picture for that one, eh?

:)

Lucy said...

Easy access for transvestites perhaps? Otherwise surely a very short skirt provided all the ease of access required...

I loved my 26" 501s when I was a very small and usually quite hungry 20 something... damn, I don't want to think about that. Furthermore I got them at the Oxfam shop for about 2 quid.

Julia said...

Edwardian Sweep - besides two Forsters (Room with a View and Howards End), I just read two Boris Akunin set in Russia at the turn of the century, Margaret Forster's Keeping the World Away and AS Byatt's The Children's Book. It was all quite by chance based on what books fell into my hands, but I really enjoyed the perspective!

I like the idea of medium value books getting rediscovered too, and I think the new world of publishing (print on demand) is helping make that happen, luckily for us!

Avus said...

Perhaps Churchill had the right idea with his "siren suits"?