2014 — 8 June: Sunday

This morning's bright sunshine1 should help dispel the lingering after-effects of the promised overnight "vegetation maintenance work" along the local railway track. Noisy perishers. Tea. I need tea.

In another life...

... I can't help thinking it might have been fun to be Robert Silvers. Whether enough people agree for Scorsese's documentary to end up in the black remains to be seen. I enjoyed reading this interview. Source and snippet:

His own curiosity about the world has, he insists, only grown with the years — and it's thanks to this alone that he works seven days a week. "It's not a question of love. I see this as a series of problems to be solved. An infinity. In the summer, I get away. But I always have manuscripts coming to me and I call the office every day." What time will he leave this afternoon? "I might leave by midnight — or not, it all depends." Does he ever go to parties? He laughs. "Yes, I do!" And then, unprompted, there comes this tribute: "For many years, my partner and I, Grace Dudley [aka the Countess of Dudley, widow of the third earl], have had a life together. She has meant everything to me: her intelligence, her perceptiveness. We're often together. Next week, I will visit her in Lausanne. But when she's not here, I just keep going."

Rachel Cooke in Observer

I was blissfully unaware of Hardwick's perceptive item at the time of its original publication :-)

Meanwhile the NYRB is attacking the idea that the CIA has a sense of humour. (Link.)

If only...

... Molly Ivins were still alive to comment on this latest piece of, erm, nonsense coming out of Texas. I was blissfully unaware of an outfit called the Texas Eagle Forum, let alone the Eagle Forum founded in 1972 by that mother of rationality and go(o)d will, Phyllis Schlafly. I actually mentioned that lady to Carol a while back:

Today, two interesting Americans I've heard on the radio over here. The good guy was Studs Terkel, who seems to me to be your equivalent of the late James Cameron. The bad guy, although about as fascinating as a black mamba in a horribly hypnotic way, was a woman called Phyllis Schlafly.

The quotes I jotted down included such gems as "If what you want is a job, you should get down on your knees every night and thank God for Ronald Reagan's economic policies", "Sex education is a major cause of promiscuity, disease, pregnancy, and leads to illegitimate births", "Abstinence until marriage", "Seven of God's commandments are negative...", "There are two classes of Americans, the pro-family and the promiscuous", "The recipe for a successful marriage: social compromises, with the husband coming first, the children second, and the wife's career third".

Just two questions: Is she serious? and Where do you grow these fruitcakes, Carol?

Date: 30 September 1987 in an email to Carol

Her reply (in part) a couple of weeks later: Where do we get the likes of Phyllis Schlafly? But we grow them! Isn't she wonderful? The only thing about Phyllis is that she's so far out of synch with most influential American thought (female division) that she's relatively harmless.

She never did define "relatively" for me, though she went on to describe an affront from Reagan that had her screaming at her car's radio.

The weather...

... for our country ramble couldn't have been better if it tried. I'm now washing down the late lunch (it's 14:40) with a very welcome cuppa while listening to the "QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble". Cool.

Since man cannot live by early 17th century German liturgical music alone, I've just downloaded (thanks for the tipoff, Bandcamp) all the way from Australialand Shelley Segal's third album — "An Easy Escape" — as a bunch of lossless FLACs, for converting to VBR MP3s and stashing in my little audio library of same. Also cool. It's what the Interweb malarkey was invented for.

Having just watched...

... the first three, frenetic, episodes of Season #2 of Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" I'm feeling exhausted. "True Blood" Season #6 was a walk in the park by comparison.

Perhaps I should revert to Jane Austen for a change of pace? :-)

Keep calm and carry on

I've been belatedly putting "2" and "2" together. Recall that wartime poster I mentioned (here) that had been more recently spoofed by Steve Bell (exactly four years ago)? And remember the childhood favourite piece of SF I recently bought? It turns out that the Northumberland second-hand bookshop where I found my copy ("Barter Books", now occupying what used to be Alnwick railway station) is where, in 2000, Stuart Manley discovered a rare original of what was (then) a long-forgotten WWII poster in a box of old books sold at auction. It was his wife Mary who had it framed and put on display in the shop. The rest is graphics history.



1  Ideal for walkies, by the look and feel of it.