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

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Galsworthy could also have stood cutting

The occasional table, just visible, was made by my great grandfather. The baby chaffinch (extreme right) was touring significant British literary artefacts and paying homage to the Barrett Bonden portable typewriter, source of millions of words for publications as diverse as Keighley News and Cycling & Mopeds before being retired in favour of word processing.

Had the chaffinch flown upstairs at Ch. Bonden it might well have inspected my latest literary tool. On holiday I used my Kindle to switch between two works. The first was Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga (Why was that man found worthy of a Nobel Prize?) the second was the MS of my own novel, Gorgon Times.

This was more than self-massage. Kindle allows potential changes to be underlined while reading the MS in a format resembling a published book. At home I used the 477 underlinings to modify the master MS on the PC. And rewrote five longer passages including a half chapter. Some 1500 words bit the dust. Tedious, non-creative work will ensue.

MATTER OF ETIQUETTE For months, perhaps years, Mrs BB has complained I often rise from the dining table, face besmeared with gravy, custard, strawberry juice or, sometimes, all three. It has to do with getting old and caring less and less about how I look. Since this impromptu maquillage is invisible to me I am undisturbed but I do resent hopping out to the kitchen to clean greasy hands after nibbling a chop bone. Recently I suggested we invest in a table-napkin container to sit adjacent to the S&P. Mrs BB instantly agreed. I am left reflecting on the length of time this decision has taken. And the fact that such containers may be middle-class naff.

5 comments:

Lucy said...

Yes, Galsworthy's one of those interesting cases of someone who was lionised at one time and is now almost forgotten. Funny really that the period when he had something of a resurgence was probably the time when he would have been most comprehensively ditched, in the 60s, because of the TV version, which I still enjoyed on watching it again a while back, though not the remake of a few years ago which was the most atrocious piece of casting ever.

My mum had a treasured set of the novels of Francis Brett-Young, who has also been mercifully forgotten by history.

marja-leena said...

Interesting that you have your typewriter on display like a museum piece. Somewhere in the bowels of our crawl space/storage/junk place is an ancient typewriter that daughter says may be a collector's item. We have a huge ancient wood case radio from the late 40's- early 50's which my mother-in-law carried in her own arms all the way from Germany via ship and train to central Canada. Somewhow it ended up in our home after she passed on. It's a monstrosity sitting on an old cabinet TV (not quite as old, heh) in a guest room. I always wonder what the guests think of them both.

Rouchswalwe said...

Call me funny, but I love this "old" stuff. My Olivetti Lettera got a work-out just this morning as I typed a letter to a dear, dear (yes, she does get two dears) friend of mine who is currently in Iceland. And we had a box radio which sadly did not follow us in the most recent move. But what sound!

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: I saw TFS in America where it appeared on the PBS channel - seen as educational. For several days Mrs BB and I have been trying to recall the name of the actress who played Irene and it's just arrived - Nyree Dawn Porter who went on to do precisely nothing in the acting business thereafter. The series of books comprising The Forsyte Saga become more and more prolix (and purple) once you're past the first, Man of Property. Thanks for the tip about FB-Y.

M-L: It was Mrs BB who suggested the typewriter be put on display and I am grateful to her for that. Other than a pair of my underpants it is hard to imagine a more intimate object to my existence. It saw particlarly strenuous use during my newspaper days and the E-key (the most used letter in the English alphabet) has been worn away on one side by my pounding fingers. I also wrote (and re-wrote) four unpublished novels on it, took it to the USA where I used it to write hundreds of letters home, yet it still works as it did when my dad bought it for me in 1952. It is however an object permanently now rooted in the past. I write better than I did then and the word processor (with its easy facility for correction) is one of the reasons.

RW (zS): My few acquaintances have always been offered the choice: a heartfelt TYPED letter which is readable, or a handwritten one which is not. Passion profits from clarity, I say.

Julia said...

The Man of Property has grown on me but I think I'll stick to just the one if the rest are more wordy.